Veteran entertainer Wayne Newton lashed out at the late Johnny Carson, branding the late-night legend a “mean-spirited human being.”
Newton made the remarks during an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Larry King. Newton, who appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” this season and plans to go on tour with the group, told King he had a hard time when Carson 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,” Newton said during the interview.
The Las Vegas crooner said Carson ‘s barbs implying he was gay came very often. Newton told King 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.”
Newton said he went to the NBC lot and confronted Carson, 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’.”
Newton said Carson 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.
After recounting the story, Newton took aim at Carson.
“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.”
Newton also accused Carson of being the source of a rumor that he was connected with the Mafia.
“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, Newton 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.”