The Man in Front of the Curtain — Steve Martin's letter to Johnny Carson
Your gift - though I'm sure you wouldn't have called it a gift - was, as I see it, a blend of modesty and confidence. You wanted to do the job and do it well. You allowed the spirit of your idols, Stan Laurel and Jonathan Winters among them, to creep into you, and you found a way to twist their inspiration and make it new. In you I saw simplicity, joy, politeness, sympathy. Your death reminds me of the loss of America's innocence, the distance we have come from your sly, boyish leers to our flagrant, overstated embarrassments for parents and children.