Johnny Carson

( 81 )

Overview

“A close look at how show business power corrupts . . . The dishiest read of the year.” – Janet Maslin, “Ten Favorite Books of the Year,” New York Times
“Here’s Johnny!” Probably everyone in America knows the phrase, whether they watched every episode of The Tonight Show or none because they had to go to bed early on school nights. From 1962 to 1992, Johnny Carson and his Tonight Show dominated the American ...

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Johnny Carson

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Overview

“A close look at how show business power corrupts . . . The dishiest read of the year.” – Janet Maslin, “Ten Favorite Books of the Year,” New York Times
“Here’s Johnny!” Probably everyone in America knows the phrase, whether they watched every episode of The Tonight Show or none because they had to go to bed early on school nights. From 1962 to 1992, Johnny Carson and his Tonight Show dominated the American consciousness.

Henry Bushkin was Carson’s best friend and lawyer during that period, and his book is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. Bushkin explains why Carson, a voracious (and very talented) womanizer, felt he always had to be married; why he couldn’t visit his son in the hospital and wouldn’t attend his mother’s funeral; and much more. Johnny Carson is by turns shocking, poignant, and uproarious — written with a novelist’s eye for detail, a screenwriter’s ear for dialogue, and a knack for comic timing that Carson himself would relish.

“A fascinating book about a complex man.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Like The Tonight Show, the book has many a merry moment . . . [Johnny Carson] was also one of a kind, and is missed. This book brings a bit of him back.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

People magazine Top Ten Book of the Year

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

He won six Emmys, a Peabody Award, a Television Academy Hall of Fame niche, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Kennedy Center Honors, but all those accolades combined don't render a full sense of the mystique of Johnny Carson (1925-2005). For thirty years, the effortless banter of the host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson kept America up late. After he retired in 1992, he resolutely disappeared from the public view, leaving behind a nation of admirers and imitators. Henry Bushkin, the author of this book, was his lawyer, his confidante, and his longtime friend. In this biography, he opens the doors on the well-guarded life of a true television legend. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Henry Bushkin's Johnny Carson is that rare celebrity tell-all by an author who knows whom and what he's talking about…It's easy to approach this book thinking that its author has an ax to grind. Maybe he does, but his account sounds unexaggerated, credible and willing to place blame wherever it belongs…Other authors have generalized about Carson's moods, petulance and bad judgment. But Mr. Bushkin seems to have a true inside track.
Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
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.)
From the Publisher

“Henry Bushkin’s ‘Johnny Carson’ is that rare celebrity tell-all by an author who knows whom and what he’s talking about.” – The New York Times

“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

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-05
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544217621
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 46,214
  • 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 eighteen years he was Johnny Carson’s personal legal advisor, fixer, confidant, and close friend.
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Table of Contents

Chapter One
1979: The Star Among Stars 1

Chapter Two
1970: Breaking In 19

Chapter Three
1970: Calamity John 41

Chapter Four
1972: Joanne and Joanna 58

Chapter Five
1972–1978: Stairway to Paradise 80

Chapter Six
1979: NBC — See Ya 104

Chapter Seven
1979–1980: Free Agency 119

Chapter Eight
1979–1980: Clear Sailing 139

Chapter Nine
1980–1981: The Inauguration 153

Chapter Ten
1972–1980: Vegas 176

Chapter Eleven
1980–1984: Hobson’s Choices 201

Chapter Twelve
1982–1985: Homme et Femme 216

Chapter Thirteen
1982–1985: Days of Weinberger and Neuroses 230

Chapter Fourteen
1987: Darkness Falls 248

Chapter Fifteen
1987–1988: The End 264

Acknowledgments 281
Index 282

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin is an exceptional biography of th

    Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin is an exceptional biography of the one-time King of Late Night. As the attorney for Carson, Bushkin has an unprecedented insight into the comedian. This story focuses on Carson at the height of his fame. It is extremely well researched and extremely well written. It is a fascinating book.

    26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Henry Bushkin knows how to tell a good story. Johnny Carson by B

    Henry Bushkin knows how to tell a good story. Johnny Carson by Bushkin is a frank and telling look at the life of Johnny Carson during his tenure as host of the Tonight Show. You don’t have to be a Johnny Carson fan to enjoy Bushkin’s story. It is a wonderful book filled with insight. The information on Johnny’s mother and his strained relationship with her gives new light to Johnny’s adult problems with relationships. Five stars.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I was touched by how sad Johnny Carson's life was. I thought thi

    I was touched by how sad Johnny Carson's life was. I thought this was a phenomenal book. It kept my attention the whole way through.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Well Wriiten! This is a must read if you grew up watching the To

    Well Wriiten!
    This is a must read if you grew up watching the Tonight Show with Johhny Carson. An in-depth look at his life and written in an easy read fashion. I really enjoyed this peek into Johnny's world.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2014

    Thanks Mr. Bushkin for letting us know Johnny Carson was an SOB

    Thanks Mr. Bushkin for letting us know Johnny Carson was an SOB who disliked his
    mother but wanted her approval. Or, what an SOB he was in Buisness, or what and SOB he was top his employees. You say he was a difficult person to work for, but you sure as hell enjoyed the perks. Women, booze, traveling, money, dating celebrities, even the notoriety . Seems to me you enjoyed the entire Carson trip. Too bad your wife had a cheating, lying man for a husband. But let me tell you what I came away with after reading this book. Your total greed for money and self importance. Johnny Carson may have been an SOB but you, you were a leach. Too bad it took him 10 years to get rid of you. Oh, and for those people reading this review. This book is really all about Mr. Bushkin and what he got out of being Johnny's lawyer and, so called friend.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Johnny carson by h bushkin

    Was not worth the money. Good form in writing style but never developed the characters, carson or the author himself . A book of facts events - boring.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    All about WHO????

    The author of this book asks the question "WHAT ABOUT ME?", literally and suggestively throughout its 300 + pages, yet while reading it, admittedly google-eyed, to its rather predictable conclusion, I couldn't help but feel that it is he, Henry Bushkin, whom this bizarro bio is really all about! Johnny Carson in death remains the enigmatic person that he always was when he lived, but I certainly got an insightful picture of what makes Henry BUSHKIN tick --and I can't say that I particularly like the picture!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    This author is greedy

    This author is greedy

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Bushkin: The Epitome of an Attorney

    Bushkin skips over salient facts such as his scamming money from Carson. He should have been fired years before. Such a parasite.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2013

    The title is misleading. It should be "Henry Bushkin"

    The title is misleading. It should be "Henry Bushkin" by Johnny Carson. It is a tell all about Henry's life and how he was made by Johnny Carson.

    Very little insight into Johnny's life that you didn't already know.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Celebs never what they seem.

    Johnny always seemed sad to me. He had expert timing and was funny but you cant buy real love. Well written with interesting insight but author was only in it for money and perks just as all the others were.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Poor Service

    The book...it's a gift and am sure it will be fine.

    I took my lunch hour to go to purchase this book as there was an ad online for 30% off. At the register they said that the deal was only for onoline and that I had to order to get the deal. They did it right there and added in the shipping charge, Thanks for that. I went back and found in the ad that there was NOTHING that said the deal was for online only.

    BTW - it took over a week and 3 emails to get a response from the customer service team.

    Not a happy customer.

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2013

    So-So

    Not a great Carson lover to begin with it just brought out more flaws I didnt know about. It was a quick read (thank goodness( and a personal story. Not a nice person overall, but made too much money and had too many temptations in front of him. Would not re-read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2013

    Entertaining,just like the man himself!

    No surprises here! I always knew he was a unique man! I loved the man so much that I NEVER watched the Tonight Show again! This remains true today. Jay Leno could be the funniest, most entertaining person in the world and I could care little. There will never be another Carson!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    great read; very honest

    For fans of Johnny this bio makes him real; a human granted great fame and fortune, but still a human with all the temptations and weaknesses. sadly, you find out that his life was not as happy as his persona, but his experiences are many and this book guides you through them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Interesting man

    I enjoyed reading about someone I enjoyed watching for many years. Mr. Carson was a unique individual and very complex. What we saw, was not always the real Johnny Carson. I think this was an honestly written book by someone who knew him about as much as Johnny Carson allowed anyone to really know him. He certainly was not always likeable, but he is still remembered fondly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2013

    Henry Bushkin tells a compelling and reasonably accurate story o

    Henry Bushkin tells a compelling and reasonably accurate story of being inside Johnny Carson's circle of trust. At times it was difficult to read because Johnny's TV personality seemed so different than the story Bushkin tells. But anyone who has dealt with on-air personalities knows they are rarely the same as they are in person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Good reag

    What a sad life Johnny must had

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    truth and insight versus Bushkins ego / spin? Some interesting s

    truth and insight versus Bushkins ego / spin? Some interesting stories about Johnny.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    Mostly about his business deals

    The book was okay but mostly about Carson's business deals with some insight to his tantrums, power and "kiss my ass" or you are out of my realm attitude. Other information is about Bushkin's career thanks to Johnny. Though interesting and feel reading is knowledge, I am most thankful that I live a normal life and not around drunks, arrogance, cigarette addictions, womanizing males who think think this is a grand life which is also the brunt of this book. Yes, money was there and this book truly says money does not bring happiness. This book continues with the true Johnny and places the blame on his mother for the way he is. He wasn't smart enough to let his mother go but instead continued to try harder, and then develop very bad marriages instead of trying to figure out the real problem, himself, and get help. Thank goodness I cannot relate to this lifestyle, and will appreciate being poor but content. I can't believe Bushkin even put up with him- well money speaks I guess along with his own but huge lack of self esteem and ethics. Yes Johnny had talent but he had nothing else. Bushkin kissed Carson's butt and made money but had nothing else as well. (No sympathy from me) Sad life for both of them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews

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