Johnny Carson's longtime lawyer is blowing the lid off the secret life of the beloved "Tonight Show" host — painting him as a sad, depressed man who cheated on his wives, was tormented by his mom and refused to visit his son in a mental hospital.
"He was a great star, but not a great man," Henry Bushkin — who was jokingly dubbed "Bombastic Bushkin" by Carson on his late-night NBC gabfest — told Page Six.
"Many great comedians were miserable human beings ... Johnny suffered a great many demons brought about by what I call a toxic sort of mother," Bushkin said. "His mother couldn't give a compliment. He's the biggest star in the world and she couldn't even acknowledge it."
Bushkin, who was also Carson's agent and manager, is shopping a warts-and-all memoir about the late-night legend through superagent David Vigliano, in which he'll tell how the comic:
-Enjoyed the use of a 10,000-square-foot penthouse with a private pool at Caesars Palace when he played Vegas and routinely entertained the "18 beautiful girls in the chorus line that opened his act ... and he was certainly involved with some of them."
-Refused to visit his son, Rick, when he was committed to Bellevue with severe emotional problems. "The kid was there for 4½ months and he never went. I had to take care of everything and was there almost every day. Rick [who died in a car crash in 1991] was a lovely human being."