Carson's Boyhood Home Sold

A private real estate development company has purchased the home in Norfolk, Nebraska where the late talk show host Johnny Carson grew up.

Historic Properties Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., bought the five-bedroom home where Carson lived from age 8 to 18 for an undisclosed price in a deal that closed Friday.

Jim Pruett of Brandon, S.D., and Rick Runge of Sioux Falls, S.D., bought the home in March 2003 for $150,000 and they spent about $20,000 renovating it in hopes of selling it at a profit.

They listed the house on eBay, an Internet auction site, as well as with a local real estate company. At one point they asked the city to buy it and use it as a tourist attraction, but there were no takers until after Carson's death last month and Historic Properties stepped forward.

Runge said Monday that Pruett had taken over ownership more than a year ago. Pruett did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Carson was considered the king of late-night television for his 30 years hosting the "Tonight Show." He retired in 1992 and he died Jan. 23 at age 79.

A spokesman for Historic Properties, Cal Oren, said the buyers want to honor Carson by using his former home as a memorial of some kind.

They were not trying to make money on his fame, Oren said.

Specific plans for the property had not been made, Oren said.

"Our primary motivation here was as a tribute to Carson," Oren said.

Founded less than 10 years ago, Historic Properties specializes in restoring, preserving and operating buildings of historic significance. It currently is renovating several properties, including the 1907 First National Bank building in Oakdale, Calif., and an 1878 Flatiron building in the historic Little Italy section of Syracuse, N.Y., the company said.

Carson never forgot his hometown, donating at least $5 million to causes that included a regional cancer radiation center.

After his death, the town held the only public memorial for the fiercely private Carson.

His two-story, off-white home sits on the city's busy 13th street.

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