According to a new Johnny Carson biography the TV icon had a run in with the New York Mafia. Carson in 1970 was having drinks at Jilly’s Saloon Frank Sinatra’s favorite bar in Manhattan when he tried to pick up an attractive young lady. There was only one problem this young lady was not unattached as Johnny would soon discover. He was doing his considerable best to get her to leave with him writes Henry Bushkin when her boyfriend a major mob figure showed up. The mobster was not happy that Carson was entertaining his ‘goomar‘ a mob term used to describe a married mafia members girl on the side. Carson was picked up by the mobster and his wiseguy pals off of a bar stool and thrown down some stairs before bar owner Jilly Rizzo interceded to prevent Carson from being beat more seriously.
“Johnny Carson – left and Joseph Colombo – right”
According to the book still unsatisfied and angry with Carson the wiseguy put out a contract for him to be killed. For next three days Carson laid low in his room at the UN Plaza missing three shows. One of Carson’s William Morris Agency agents was able to cut a deal with then Mafia boss Joseph Colombo to get the vengeful mobster to back off. Colombo has just formed the Italian-American Civil Rights League in an effort to prove that not even Italian was a member of the Mafia. A big rally was being planned by the group on Columbus day and the TV networks were refusing to cover it to the disappointment of Colombo. So an accommodation was reached between the two in which Colombo got his fellow mobster to give Carson a pass and NBC News would in turn cover the rally.