"A Hard Act to Follow," is a non-fiction literary account of Henry Bushkin's tenure as Johnny Carson's lawyer, business partner, and friend. The book gives genuine insight into the 'Carson behind Johnny' with candid personal vignettes about the two, during the rollicking years when Johnny was the undisputed king of television. This is an engaging, eye-opening, anecdote-packed story about a young lawyer and his client, one of the biggest celebrities in the country. This funny, unfiltered account gives readers a look at the Johnny Carson that none but a select few really knew.
“A Hard Act to Follow” by Henry Bushkin provides a stirring account into Johnny Carson’s world—as told by Carson’s closest confidant.
The New Yorker article by Kenneth Tynan from 1978, included the following question and answer:
Tynan: When you’re at home, whom do you entertain?
Carson: My lawyer, Henry Bushkin, who’s probably my best friend.
This is the story of Johnny Carson as remembered by his long time lawyer, Henry Bushkin. The story that unfolds about the personal and behind the scenes life of Johnny was to me, mostly sad. Even though Johnny's work was in entertainment and laughter, his personal life was anything but that.
Bushkin paints a picture of a very real man with problems and issues. Alcoholism, bad business dealings, marital affairs, strained family relations, health problems. . . You name it, Johnny had it. Many of his problems were brought on by his own bad decisions. I think Bushkin can tell of the many years with Carson because he was not only close to him for many years, but on some level, he became much like him. He says, "I was far beyond being influenced by Johnny; I was by now well along into emulating him, and though I was conflicted and unhappy about where it was taking me, I made little effort to change."
I think overall this cemented my belief that we all have to deal with hard things in life. Some of us have more to deal with than others and some of us deal better with our hard things than others. Regardless of our line of business, our marital state, the amount of money we make or what religion we are, we are all dealt hard things. Johnny Carson was no exception to this. He had hard things dealt to him and he made many poor decisions. He lived a lifestyle completely foreign to me and to many of us. His life in the spotlight and his affluence are what make his story so interesting. Johnny Carson is a legend in the entertainment business.
Honestly, I'm glad I don't live in that world. It was interesting to get an inside take on Johnny Carson's life and there were some stories that showed a generous Johnny and a very not nice Johnny. If you are a Johnny Carson fan, you will probably love delving deeper into his life story.
I would issue a caution regarding the language and adult content in this book. There was a lot of language.
Author Henry Bushkin
Henry Bushkin is an experienced lawyer who practices in both California and New York. He currently lives in Los Angeles where his children also reside.
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