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Johnny Carson | [Henry Bushkin]

Johnny Carson

From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.
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Publisher's Summary

A revealing 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

From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

From the moment in 1970 when Carson hired Bushkin (who was just 27) until the moment 18 years later when they parted ways, the author witnessed and often took part in a string of escapades that still retain their power to surprise and fascinate us. One of Bushkin’s first assignments was helping Carson break into a posh Manhattan apartment to gather evidence of his wife’s infidelity. More than once, Bushkin helped his client avoid entanglements with the mob. Of course, Carson’s adventures weren’t all so sordid. He hosted Ronald Reagan’s inaugural concert as a favor to the new president, and he prevented a drunken Dean Martin from appearing onstage that evening. Carson socialized with Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, and dozens of other boldface names who populate this atmospheric and propulsive chronicle of the King of Late Night and his world.

But this memoir isn’t just dishy. It 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 loathed small talk even as he excelled at it; why he couldn’t visit his son in the hospital and wouldn’t attend his mother’s funeral; and much more. Bushkin’s account 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. Johnny Carson unveils not only the hidden Carson, but also the raucous, star-studded world he ruled.

©2013 Henry Bushkin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (554 )
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4.0 (498 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Walter Sobchak 03-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Compelling Story, Horrendous Narrator"
    If you could sum up Johnny Carson in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, Informational, Irritating


    If you’ve listened to books by Henry Bushkin before, how does this one compare?

    N/A


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dick Hill’s performances?

    Absolutely not!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    For content, yes. Unfortunately, from the opening minutes, the narrator made it quite clear that this was going to be a struggle to listen to at all, let alone all at once.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd just like to say, it's not fun for me to write negative reviews, of anything. If Dick Hill has battled some sort of health issues, I truly hope he recovers fully but, there's no reason for him to continue in the field of narration. He constantly runs out of breath mid-sentence and frequently, mid-word. If anyone is old enough to remember, the closest comparison I can find is Mr. Magoo. It's just unfortunate that such a compelling story was almost ruined, it could have been a pleasure with virtually any other competent narrator.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    iosfangirl 08-08-15
    iosfangirl 08-08-15 Member Since 2014

     fan girl - Geek - Animal Lover - online shopper

    ratings
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    5
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "This was a Great listen"
    What did you love best about Johnny Carson?

    I remember him being so well liked funny & cool


    What did you like best about this story?

    How much I learned about his life & how truthful the author made it seem


    What does Dick Hill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He does a great job I've heard him in many other books. I was pleasantly surprised when he started talking.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When I learned how taken advantage Johnny had been until Henry took over his finances.


    Any additional comments?

    I like biographies hope audible adds more to their library

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Giustina 07-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    "Cemented a belief"

    As much of an autobiography of Mr. Buskin,, Johnny Carson the book gave credence to the not often discussed dark side of many comedians. Sad to think someone who gave joy to so many was an unhappy man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jules Pegram Los Angeles, CA, US 06-30-15
    Jules Pegram Los Angeles, CA, US 06-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Thorough, fair, and hugely entertaining, much like Carson himself!"

    This was a fabulous, entertaining, thorough, and fair–handed account of the life of one of America's greatest cultural icons

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Brat 06-30-15
    H. Brat 06-30-15

    H. Bratsakis

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    "Wow"

    A very entertaining book. Johnny Carson was a complicated man and so was his life. Loved this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart Diamond 05-12-15 Member Since 2014

    douplay

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    "Another low life lawyer"

    Typical uncontainable lawyer. Greedy and jealous to the extreme. To ridicule a person who has brought so much enjoyment to MILLIONS all over the world and Millions$$$ to this creep who screwed up, by going to an Alexis cohort or just stupid judgement of not doing what he was being paid to do is dam lucky to wind up with so much $$$$, but I guess it wasn't enough so now he will make more from this stupid novel. If it wasn't for JOHNY where would this newbie lawyer have gone? I know the user who introduced him to JOHNY they make a great pair!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brucecow 05-02-15
    brucecow 05-02-15
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    "A heart-tugger for me."

    Excellent listen. Narrator was terrific. Makes you consider how one spends his or her few short years on earth no matter how "successful" in the world you think you are.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky M. Wetzel Pageland, SC United States 04-25-15
    Becky M. Wetzel Pageland, SC United States 04-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    6
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    "Not my cup of tea"
    What would have made Johnny Carson better?

    Excerpts from The Johnny Carson Show. There may have been some but I stopped listening.


    What was most disappointing about Henry Bushkin’s story?

    It was not interesting to me.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dick Hill’s performances?

    Most likely not


    What character would you cut from Johnny Carson?

    Not known


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Ridley Park, PA, United States 04-23-15
    Chris Ridley Park, PA, United States 04-23-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected but really good"

    It is more of a my life with Johnny than a book directly about Johnny. It does not cover his rise to fame or much of early life. It does not cover his final years either.
    While it does not cover some of those key items most people would be looking for from a book about Johnny, it is a very interesting character study and I enjoyed the narrator & story. I would recommend this book but you should know what you are getting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Mixmaster 04-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Objectively written, great story."

    Great read and exciting story. Author was very candid about highs and lows which doesn't happen too often in books like these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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