NBC executive David W. Tebet dies at 91

June 8, 2005 at 9:52 PM
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CORONADO, Calif., June 8 (UPI) -- David W. Tebet, who recruited Johnny Carson for NBC's "The Tonight Show," died from complications from a stroke in Coronado, Calif. He was 91.

He died Tuesday at the home of his nephew, Dr. Ralph Greenspan, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Tebet was a theater publicist in New York in 1959, when he became NBC's vice president for talent. His job was to spot talent, recruit stars for NBC such as Michael Landon, James Garner and Dean Martin and and keep them happy at the network.

Comedian George Burns liked to call him, "the vice president in charge of caring."

Tebet saw Johnny Carson on ABC and made it his task to lure him to NBC, where Carson starred in "The Tonight Show" for 30 years.

After Carson created Johnny Carson Productions and bought "The Tonight Show," Tebet resigned from from the network and became executive vice president of the production company.

"In those first years alone he (Carson) generated maybe 15 percent or 16 percent of NBC's profit," Tebet told United Press International in 1987. "And I'm not just talking NBC network. I'm talking the entire company."

Tebet was married to actress Nanette Fabray from 1947 until 1951. In addition to Greenspan, he is survived by another nephew and a niece.

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