Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson Summary

“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

Book Reviews


Johnny Carson4 star

I thought the book was great. I've seen many criticisms for Henry writing this book but I see no problem with it. I'm still very entertained from watching old Carson clips knowing Johnny wasn't a perfect person. Learning of things that went on behind the scenes was very interesting.45


Interesting and very light reading3 star

Found the book interesting in that it tells the complex story of one man whom everyone knows from one perspective. A quick read.35


The mysterious Mr Carson4 star

This is a good read, which really revealed the complex life of a TV legend. It shows the trials and tribulations of a difficult man, ending in his sad death.45


Entertaining read3 star

Going into this I really only knew who Johnny Carson was and what show he was on/ hosted. I loved how the book was written and that it's from the perspective of his lawyer and longtime friend who saw and heard pretty much everything. I love a lot of the celebrities from the duration Carson was on the tonight show so it was entertaining to learn of interactions between the stars and the politics that go on in show biz.35

Zebra hunter

Good read5 star

A good read. And another story that reinforces that money will not bring you happiness....55


Johnny Carson5 star

I truly enjoyed reading this biography about Johnny Carson. Seeing his life through the words of the only person that probably knew him better than he did himself was funny,sad, and unbelievable informative. I found my self laughing,crying,angry and sometimes disappointed in Johnny. Thank you For a great story. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to know about Johnny Carson55

Joan C, H.

Fascinating5 star

I watched Johnny Carson the first and last night he appeared on the Tonight Show and as many shows as possible in between. This book was a fascinating, up-close report of what made the man tick. I recommend this book to anyone who was a regular Tonight Show fan.55

Beav joe

Nice read4 star

I enjoyed the book and appreciate the honesty of all the story's. It brought back lots of TV memories. Being from Houston, I'd like to know who miss Texas was and it is a small world, I new the Keogh kids from grade school and didn't know they had a connection to Johnny.45


Great read5 star

A must read for anybody that was a fan of the tonight show. Well written history about the king of late night.55


Great Book5 star

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was married for 23 years to a narcissist just like Johnny. It is a sometimes thrilling and often times tortuous ride. I was really able to relate to the author, minus the celebrity parties, the lifestyle, and the trips to the French Riveria lol. When I grew up, Johnny was the last thing I saw on TV before my parents shuffled me off to bed. And as I got older, I made it a habit to watch every night. I enjoyed Henry’s portrayal of Johnny, and I bet it is spot on. It’s amazing how, when you find out about all these geniuses of their craft, whether it be Tiger Woods, Steve Jobs, Lance Armstrong, or someone like Johnny, they all end up sharing all the same traits of selfishness, cruelty, arrogance, entitlement, and others too many to mention. They are all complex characters under the surface. Great, Great read. I read this book in two days. Could not put it down.55

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