Wednesday, April 15, 2009

john david carson: whereabouts unknown

I used to be (and still sort of am) obsessed with Empire of the Ants.

It's an endearing, low budget 1977 movie loosely based on an H.G. Wells story about ants that get large from radioactive waste and attack and brainwash people in Florida.

It stars Joan Collins and my favorite Pamela Susan Shoop.

No one seems to know where one of the film's actors - John David Carson - has gone.

He can be seen here in Empire of the Ants with an unbuttoned shirt and Pamela Susan Shoop stumbling upon a colony of giant ants and the polyester remnants of a character named Mr. Lawson.

Since then, he appeared in bit roles on TV shows: "Charlie's Angels," "CHiPs," "The Fall Guy," "Falcon Crest."

He married and divorced Vicki Morgan who had a troubling, unfortunate story of her own.

His last film appearance was a brief one in Pretty Woman.

On imdb, a poster notes his where thinks he is as of 2007 ...

david_w_gibson (Tue Apr 8 2008 02:33:08)
For those of you looking for John Carson, he stayed at the Aztec Inn Casino in Las Vegas from about 1991-1998, after that he and my ex wife moved around a bit but the last I heard from a former employee of the Aztec, he and my ex are still together and staying at a small weekly hotel, I think called St. Louis Manor, on the corner of St. Louis and Paradise Rd. in Vegas. This was last summer that I got that info. He's a real scumbag and an alcoholic, set his room on fire in 1994 when he passed out drunk with a lit cigarette.

There's something haunting about his world and his anonymity in Vegas. Maybe he was frustrated with his career and what he wanted to do as an artist. From time to time, I think of a scene on the windy beach of Dreamland Shores where Pamela Susan Shoop asks about his life and he flicks a cup of wine and says, "plastic like everything else."

UPDATE: It seems there is an internet rumor that John David Carson has passed. If anyone has any further information, please let me know. Thank you.


  1. Carson is unfortunately no longer with us. He died in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Diane at his side. I am gathering more details and will make them available when I have them. You can read more about him on his Wikipedia page. He was a passionate and talented actor but he had some personal issues with Hollywood and retired voluntarily. He was definitely an obscure character actor but I think he definitely "made" every film he was in. He brought a lot to all of his roles. "Stay Hungry," with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sally Field, a hilarious 70s comedy, has some of Carson's best acting.

  2. Sad to hear the news. Thanks for the update though. Let me know if you hear of anything else.

  3. I am an actress and this man was a real
    wierdo--met him in the 70s' and went out
    with him--may he rest in peace a strange
    and hurtful wierdo... likes to hurt women Ms. Sandra more

  4. I went out with him and he assaulted me
    at my home..I am sure he did it to other
    women, a first class creep..Sandy in LA

  5. Wow. I am a big fan of the film "Empire of the Ants" and just watched it again for the umpteenth time. I was impressed with John Carson's performance and went searching to find out what he was doing now. Sad to hear he wasn't the stand-up guy that he appears to be in this role. Thanks Sandy & Ms. More for sharing your experience and hope all is well with you both.

  6. Ms. J says to Ms. Sandy more, I went out with him too and he never treated me badly. He was either dropping acid or you were the "weirdo".

  7. I knew John in the 90' here in Las Vegas, he hired me at the Sahara Hotel. He always treated me very well; was always very nice and respectful, a gentleman.

  8. I worked with John for the last 4 years of his life. We worked side by side in the timeshare industry in Las Vegas. I didn't know John was a movie actor for the first few months that I worked with him. But I swear, the first time I saw him, he had a star quality to him. So, I was blowned away when I found out who he was, because I remember 2 of his movies, Savage...and Empire... The negative comments I read here, does not sound like the John Carson that I knew. John was still a good looking guy at his age, tall, full head of salt and pepper hair, well spoken, very polite... I can go on and on about him. Everyone from my wife to the top boss thought John was great. I know John had some tough times in the 90's with drinking and gambling, but he seemed to be at peace with his demons in the years that i knew him. It's hard to think that he just gave up acting at 38, but John worked since he was a child. He put up with a lot of bullshit in Hollywood and never got the big part that would have put him on top. The 80's brought him mostly bit parts and by the time 'Pretty Woman' came about, John was up for the lead. But the studio did not want 2 unknowns (the other being Julie Roberts at the time)carrying the movie. John was well liked by somebody and given the bit part that he played in the movie. I think something in him snapped and he had enough. John always had fond memories of the movie he made with Angie Dickinson and talked about George C Scott and loved his wife very much. At the time I never really picked John's brain about his life; I regret that. He lived an intersting life. The company that we worked for went bankrupt June 2009 and John was the very last person I saw when I left. I was shocked that he died a little afterward, because I thought there was more time to get back with him and talk. He will always be remembered.

    1. thank you for the info on him, RE

    2. Brian Patrick ClarkeNovember 5, 2022 at 10:32 AM

      As a man who worked with John David in one of my first gigs in Hollywood - and was later in an acting class with him - I'm particularly grateful to you for taking the time to recount the man that you remember from what were, sadly, the years en route to a life that was far too short. He was exceptionally kind to me, and both on the set of a "Fantastic Journey" episode that we did together and, much more extensively, in an acting class with many very attractive women, I never saw any side of him (if it existed) that wasn't polite. I would never have tolerated it, as I have always despised and gone out of my way to confront bullies, especially anyone who attacks a woman. God, I hope that characterization of a man who didn't live to see 60 is a misrepresentation!

  9. I can not say what John was like before I met him in 1994. All I can say is that He was my best friend, my love, my husband, my life.
    We 'MANAGED' a weekly hotel in Vegas and I became sole Manager when John went to work for Tahiti Village in 2005.
    With the exception of one jilted ex-girlfriend of Johns in Vegas...AND MY ex-husband,
    Anyone that knew him through these years, loved him dearly.
    Diana Carson

    1. Brian Patrick ClarkeNovember 5, 2022 at 10:34 AM

      My heart goes out to you, Diana. I realize it's been years, but I'm certain that there will always be residual pain at his passing. Hoping that you have found peace - and possibly love anew - in your life over the past 13 years!

  10. Dear Diana, Thanks for posting. I'm sorry for your loss.

  11. Diana,sorry to just read about his death almost 2 years after the fact,I remember his 70's films and he was a great actor.'The Empire Of The Ants' just aired on 'ThisTV' the other day and made me wonder what had ever happened to him,I live in Vegas also..take care.

  12. this is from the source..he assaulted a friend of mine in the 70's and I am sure he
    did it with other women. Scared the hell out of my friend !.the comments here from Sandra are true. He is nothing but a first class creep !!!!

    Anna in the Valley

  13. Wow! Was just thinking of him the other day while browsing IMBD. Was curious to see where he was today & if he ever got his movie made. I met John when I worked at the Aztec Casino in '94-95 sometime around then. I'm sorry to hear of his passing and my thoughts go out to his family. I was 22-23 at the time and never heard of him, in fact I didn't believe he was in movies until one night Empire of the Ants was on tv. John would come in to eat & sit at the bar for awhile. I never saw him fall-down-drunk or gambling all night, I think he would come in for the company. And after awhile it was I who would sit with him for hours talking about everything from his days in Hollywood to life in general. He talked about his script he was writing and which actors he wanted to star in the movie. That's what made me think of him & look him up. I only knew him briefly, 6 months at least, then he just stopped coming in. I eventually moved onto another job and I never saw him again. But during that time, John was always a gentleman to me, he made me laugh, he'd get serious and make me think and sometimes he'd make me giggle like a star struck teen with his beautiful eyes and smile. Best of all, John was a friend, I am glad to have known him and will miss him.

  14. in the 80s? I lived off san vicente blvd and melrose. there was a large blue apartment building old spanish bldg there. I would walk up to sunset with my dogs and see John always working on that building. He was a very attractive man very nice. I was looking up vickie morgan and saw she was married to him. I am glad to hear that he had a loving wife who was there for him when he passed....d.j.

  15. in the 80s? I lived off san vicente blvd and melrose. there was a large blue apartment building old spanish bldg there. I would walk up to sunset with my dogs and see John always working on that building. He was a very attractive man very nice. I was looking up vickie morgan and saw she was married to him. I am glad to hear that he had a loving wife who was there for him when he passed....d.j.