Johnny Carson

Henry Bushkin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (294p) ISBN 978-0-544-21762-1
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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