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SPOTLIGHT: Sweeping Culture Daily

The Curtain Will Be Pulled on Johnny Carson’s Life for New Film

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By Craig Hubert | Hollywood is ready to pull the curtain from one of the more guarded and mysterious lives in show business. Screenwriter John McLaughlin (“Black Swan,” “Hitchcock”) and producer Tom Thayer are teaming up to bring the life of former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson to screen, according to Deadline. The film will be based on the upcoming book “Carson the Magnificent: An Intimate Portrait,” by Bill Zehme, a journalist who was granted unprecedented access to Carson for an Esquire cover story in 2002. Carson, who passed away in 2005, was a very private person after his retirement from the show that made him famous (the Esquire story was the only interview he granted after leaving television in 1992). The host went to great lengths to shield his personal life from the outside world, and was known to be prickly and cold to friends and business associates alike (not to mention his four wives). When asked, he constantly said he wanted his work to speak for itself. So it seems unlikely that he’d be pleased with a dramatized version of his life, especially from the writer of the over-the-top “Black Swan,” being made into a movie.

While we wait to see what secrets will be revealed (and who will play Carson and his sidekick, Ed McMahon), it might be worth diving into this bizarre, and tangential, story – full of Hollywood backstabbing, Beverly Hills drama, and some Carson dirt – about Freddie de Cordova, Carson’s longtime producer. If you ask us, this is story might be a better fit for the big screen.

Image: Courtesy Library of Congress / New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection

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