Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Mob wanted to whack Tonight Show host Johnny Carson

Mob wanted Johnny Carson dead for flirting
The Mafia put a contract out on Tonight Show host Johnny Carson after he drunkenly tried to pick up a mobster’s “goomar” in Frank Sinatra’s favorite Manhattan bar, according to a new biography of the TV icon.

It was 1970, and a predictably sloshed Carson was whetting his whistle at Jilly’s Saloon on West 52nd Street and Eight Avenue at closing time.

“An attractive brunette at the bar caught Carson’s eye, and he was doing his considerable best to convince her to leave with him,” wrote Henry Bushkin in his new tome “Johnny Carson.”

But the babe was not unattached.

“And when her boyfriend – a major figure in the underworld – arrived, he was not grateful to Johnny for entertaining his ‘goomar’ in his absence,” Bushkin wrote.

The wiseguy and his goons picked Carson up off his bar stool and threw him down a flight of stairs before famed saloon owner Jilly Rizzo – whose regulars included Sinatra, Dean Martin and Judy Garland – interceded and prevented a more serious beating.

But the mob big wasn’t satisfied, and put out a contract on Carson, who wisely “holed up in his UN Plaza palace for three days, missing three shows,” according to the book.

The vengeful mobsters only backed off after one of Carson’s agents at the William Morris Agency cut a deal with crime boss Joseph Colombo, who had recently formed the Italian-American Civil Rights League, a PR move to convince America that not all Italians were mafioso.

The group was planning a big rally on Columbus Day, and “Colombo was deeply, deeply disappointed that so far all of the [TV] networks had refused to cover the rally, “ Bushkin wrote.

“Soon an accommodation was reached. NBC News covered the rally, and Johnny could leave the apartment,” he wrote.

As for Colombo, he was gunned down, left in a coma and later died at the league’s second annual rally. “That was the last of the rallies,” Bushkin noted.



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