Fred DeCordova: the  man behind Carson, Reagan 1

The Rego Park home of actor, director and executive producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” Fred DeCordova at 98-11 Queens Blvd., as it looks today.

Frederick Timmins DeCordova was born in New York City on Oct. 27, 1910. He fell in love with the stage at an early age and progressed to dialogue director, actor, director and producer. He lived with his parents, Margaret and George, who moved out to 98-11 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park in 1938. He got to work at the Shubert Theater on 44th Street in Manhattan quickly with the new fast IND subway line on Queens Boulevard.

He was the director of the famous Ronald Reagan and chimpanzee movie “Bedtime for Bonzo” in 1951. He was the producer of “The Jack Benny Program” and “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.” When in New York he always stayed with his parents in the Rego Park apartment, which they lived in until their deaths. In 1963, the 53-year-old lifelong bachelor married model and socialite Janet Thomas.

In 1971 he became the executive producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and remained the producer until the last show in 1992. He even stayed on to help out the new host, Jay Leno. He passed away at age 90 on Sept. 15, 2001, in Woodland Hills, Calif. a month shy of his 91st birthday.

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