Veteran entertainer Wayne Newton has lashed out at the late Johnny Carson, branding the late night legend a “mean-spirited human being.”
Wayne made the shocking remarks during an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Larry King. Wayne, who appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” this season and plans to shortly go on tour with the group, told Larry King he had a hard time when Johnny began making fun of him.
“Well, what happened is I had done his show many, many times and considered him a friend of mine. And all of a sudden, a whole new brand of humor started to be displayed by him. And he was in that humor questioning my masculinity,” Wayne said Thursday.
The Las Vegas crooner said Johnny Carson ‘s barbs implying he was gay came very often. Wayne told Larry he attempted to reach out to the “Tonight Show” host over the issue.
“I called his agents, I called his manager, I called his attorney. I went through probably a year-and-a-half of trying to reach him,” he said. “And when none of that worked, I went to see him.”
Wayne said he went to the NBC lot and confronted Johnny, threatening him with physical violence.
“I went to NBC, Burbank, and walked down the halls into his office, and Freddy de Cordova, his producer, was in the office with him. And I walked in, unannounced, I said to Freddy, I said, would you excuse us, please? He was so shocked that he did get up and leave,” he recounted. “And I said to Mr. Carson, I said, I don’t know what friend of yours I’ve killed, I don’t know what child of yours I’ve hurt, I don’t know what food I’ve taken out of your mouth, but these jokes about me will stop and they’ll stop now or I will kick your ass.”
Wayne said Johnny responded, claiming he was Wayne’s “biggest fan,” a statement the crooner scoffed at.
“I said, don’t give me that crap. Don’t give me that. I am here to straighten out whatever your problem is. And whichever way you want to straighten it out is fine with me,” he said.
It was after recounting the story, that Wayne took aim during the interview at Johnny.
“I’m going to say something I’ve never said on television, Mr. King,” Wayne began, “Johnny Carson was a mean-spirited human being. And there are people that he has hurt that people will never know about. And for some reason at some point, he decided to turn that kind of negative attention toward me. And I refused to have it.”
Wayne then blamed a time when he says he was accused of being part of the Mafia as stemming from Johnny’s remarks.
“Ultimately, the whole thing that evolved later on, around 1980, where I was accused of fronting for the Mafia and being a member of the Mafia and then being extorted by the Mafia and all of that, all of that emanated from Johnny Carson’s influence,” he said.
In regards to his so-called connection to the Mafia, Wayne went on to say, “I don’t know anything about it. I’m an Indian boy from Virginia. You know, I don’t know about that kind of stuff.”