Johnny Carson’s Nephew Brings Tonight Show to New Generation
July 23, 2013
Twenty-one years after the King of Late Night retired from NBC’s The Tonight Show after a 30-year run, Johnny Carson is back on the small screen â€“ this time on tablets and smartphones via iTunes starting Tuesday.
Carson, who was 79 when he died of emphysema in 2005, filmed 4,351 episodes of the late-night staple.
Now, users will have the chance to discover archived appearances of some of showbiz’s most iconic stars, including a young Drew Barrymore, a soon-to-be president Bill Clinton, Bette Midler â€“ who, as Carson’s final guest, memorably delivered his favorite song, “One For My Baby (And One More for the Road)” on the second-to last episode â€“ and Ellen DeGeneres, in one of her first TV appearances ever.
Some of these interviews have not been seen since their original broadcast.
“This is a chance for a new generation to discover Johnny,” Carson’s nephew Jeff Sotzing tells PEOPLE. “A lot of young people don’t know who Johnny Carson was. This is a great opportunity for them to see some of Johnny’s greatest TV moments.”
Sotzing first worked alongside his uncle in 1978 with a summer job answering phones, fetching coffee and, finally, becoming a producer.
“Off-camera, my uncle was the same witty, fun and smart man you saw on TV,” says Sotzing. “Everything about him was real. He was a loving and a generous man.”
Sotzing recalls Carson as a current events junkie who loved reading and discussing news, eating cheeseburgers and always being punctual. Still, the one thing Sotzing misses the most about his uncle is his humor.
“I loved his wit,” says Sotzig. “He had the best sense of humor. He always made me laugh.”