Johnny Carsonby Henry Bushkin
An endlessly dishy and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.See more details below
An endlessly dishy and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.
Bushkin performed many roles for the King of Late Night Johnny Carson during their 18-year relationship—lawyer, advisor, tennis partner, to name a few—but the role of best friend is the one that never quite fit. In this biography/memoir hybrid, Bushkin recounts his tenure working under Carson at Carson Productions and living it up with his boss in Vegas and on yachts. He provides a keen glimpse at what this iconic comedian was really like: a man who was generous and beloved but "capable of marring a nice moment with a cutting remark." And it was those cutting remarks and erratically sour moods, which Bushkin blames on Carson's fraught relationship with his mother, that pushed others away from Carson, including three wives, and eventually poisoned his relationship with the author. Bushkin constantly reevaluates their relationship as he reveals the monstrous side of Carson and how fearful Bushkin was of incurring his wrath. With all this, the book is an insightful glimpse into the world of The Tonight Show and the star-studded life of Carson. An addictive read. (Oct.)
“Few books like ‘Johnny Carson’ have been more engrossing. It's not just a juicy peek inside a celebrity's life...Bushkin's memoir is also a well-written corporate tale that reveals the tough business of staying America's favorite late-night host, full of stories of money, sex and skullduggery, peppered with plenty of laughs.” – The Associated Press
“This is not a tawdry tell-all but rather, an insightful and sobering character study of a tortured man and failed husband and father, as told through the eyes and experiences of one of his closest confidantes.” – Huffington Post
“[a] gracefully written, often insightful memoir” – The Daily Beast
"Twenty years since retiring and eight since his death, Carson remains the god of late night and the dean of American comedy." – New York Magazine, Fall Preview
"Most readers will be captivated by this high-definition, off-camera, extreme close-up view of the enigmatic entertainer." – Kirkus
"The book bears effective witness to a swinging era when celebrities were 'entertainers,' the highball glass was never empty, there were only three channels on TV, and Carson was its king.”– Bloomberg Businessweek
"Show-business junkies old enough to have spent many of their late nights between 1962 and 1992 watching Johnny Carson, 'the King of Late Night,' will likely devour this long-anticipated memoir in one gulp...The portrait of Carson offered here, though, goes way beyond dish: it is a genuinely multifaceted look at the burdens and the excesses of celebrity. Equally fascinating, though, is Bushkin’s own story." - Booklist
"An insightful glimpse into the world of The Tonight Show and the star-studded life of Carson. An addictive read." - Publishers Weekly
The King of Late Night's lawyer, confidant, tennis partner and butt of his "Bombastic Bushkin" gags appraises their 18-year relationship. Mainly due to the often bitter jokes he began making about marriage, often at his own expense, around the time of his expensive divorce from his third wife in the early 1980s, Johnny Carson (1925–2005) is known for his marital troubles. Though the late-night host is also known for his reclusiveness from the Hollywood scene--a reputation Bushkin demonstrates was not entirely warranted--most casual observers may not know that Carson had difficulty with all sorts of relationships, beginning with his praise-stingy mother Ruth, whose approval Carson vainly sought until her death, and continuing with his three sons (Carson admitted to being a poor, distant father). Fresh out of Vanderbilt Law School at 23, Bushkin began working for Carson in 1970 and had, arguably, the closest and sturdiest relationship with Carson of the entertainer's entire life until its acrimonious end in 1988 ("Johnny terminated our relationship in a mere three-minute conversation….There was no final act"). The secret to his success? At the expense of his own marriage and relationships with his children, Bushkin made it his career to keep Carson happy at all hours of the day and night. This might mean getting him a contract with NBC that made him the highest-paid entertainer in the world. It could also mean breaking and entering into Carson's second wife's adulterous "love nest" to gather evidence for divorce, listening to a drunken Caron's self-psychoanalysis at an after-hours watering hole, disappearing discreetly when one of the boss's many voluptuous playmates appeared, or stepping between Carson and people he wanted to hit or who wanted to hit him. Carson partisans may find this memoir self-serving (what memoir isn't?), but most readers will be captivated by this high-definition, off-camera, extreme close-up view of the enigmatic entertainer.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Henry Bushkin is a lawyer living in Los Angeles. For 18 years, he was Johnny Carson's personal legal adviser, fixer, confidant, and close friend.
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