Book Alleges Johnny Carson’s Wife Had Affair With Frank Gifford

Frank Gifford (left) and Johnny Carson. Inset: Johnny with second wife Joanne. (Photos: Getty Images)

By Brent Lang

A tell-all is the best revenge.

At least that’s the operating principle behind “Johnny Carson,” a new book by the “Tonight Show” host’s former friend Henry Bushkin.

Bushkin was Carson’s lawyer and confidant for nearly two decades until the two had a bitter falling-out in 1988 after the late-night TV star alleged he had been cheated out of millions.

In an explosive new excerpt from his forthcoming book that was published on Entertainment Weekly’s site, Bushkin claims that a gun-toting Carson once broke into a love nest rented by his second wife Joanne Carson to catch her with her boyfriend. Carson was married to his second wife from 1963 until their divorce in 1972, so the incident likely took place within that time frame.

What he allegedly found was proof that she had been unfaithful to him with football star Frank Gifford, the future husband of Kathie Lee Gifford (nee Johnson).

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"Crushed by the overwhelming amount of evidence, Carson leaned against the living room wall and began to weep," Bushkin writes. "It was a painfully uncomfortable moment."

It was at that moment that Carson’s raincoat fell open to reveal a .38 revolver in a holster on his hip.

A spokesman for Gifford did not respond to a request by TheWrap for comment. The Bushkin book hits stores on Oct. 15.

After they finished up what was almost certainly an illegal surveillance operation, Bushkin caught up with Carson at a bar where he was drowning his sorrows in booze alongside his side-man Ed McMahon.

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"I can't quit smoking and I get drunk every night and I chase all the p- - -y I can get," an inebriated Carson confessed to Bushkin. "I'm s- - -ty in the marriage department."

But he still had a sense of humor about being cuckolded.

"Why Frank Gifford?" Carson asked rhetorically. "What's that a-hole got that I don't have?"
"That guy plays three positions on the field," he answered. "I could never get Joanne to go for more than two."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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