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Publisher Description

“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

Biographies & Memoirs
October 15
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer Reviews

DJacobsen22 ,

Johnny Carson

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.

Doc Ricardo ,


I am old enough to remember the Tonight Show lineage of Steve Allen, Jack Paar, but most of all Johnny Carson who truly was the king of late night television. This is a fascinating read, funny and tragic. So many lessons here including the importance and impact of how we treat each other and the price one can pay for "success." Do I still love those archived Tonight Shows? Absolutely, but after the last chapter, Nat King Cole"s rendition of Lush Life would have been a fitting closer.

Rroobbooxxo ,


Johnny was Johnny