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Legendary Head Writer On Johnny Carson’s \’The Tonight Show\’

  • Hank Bradford, head writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,” passed away in Los Angeles on Jan. 18.
  • Bradford served as Carson’s head writer from 1970 to 1975.
  • He was admired for his sense of humor and leadership style by his fellow writers.
  • Bradford also worked as the head writer for “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” and wrote episodes for “MASH” and “Three’s Company.”
  • Before becoming a writer, Bradford started his career as a comic, performing at nightclubs and opening shows for acts like Simon & Garfunkel and the Temptations.
  • He is survived by his wife Patricia Bradford, daughters Stephanie Brenowitz and Sally Bradford McKenna, sons Matt Bohm and William McLaughlin, and five grandchildren.

Introduction

The entertainment industry has lost a legendary figure as Hank Bradford, the head writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,” passed away at the age of 88. Bradford’s wit and knack for comedy made him instrumental in shaping the success of these iconic late-night talk shows. His family announced that the cause of his death was congestive heart failure. Let’s take a closer look at his remarkable career and the impact he had on the world of comedy.

Bradford’s Contributions to “The Tonight Show”

From 1970 to 1975, Hank Bradford served as the head writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” During his tenure, he became widely admired and beloved by his fellow writers for his pitch-perfect sense of humor and his relatively-sane leadership style. In a job that often veered towards the weird and chaotic, Bradford’s steadiness and ability to consistently deliver hilarious material made him an essential part of the show’s success.

Above his desk at “The Tonight Show,” Bradford had a sign that read: “It left here funny.” This simple phrase encapsulated his commitment to ensuring that every joke and segment that made it onto the show was entertaining and humorous. His dedication to comedic excellence and his ability to navigate the demanding world of late-night television left a lasting impact on the industry.

Transition to “The Late Show” and Other Achievements

After his time on “The Tonight Show,” Bradford continued to make significant contributions to the comedy world. He served as the head writer for “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” from 1986 to 1987, showcasing his versatility and ability to adapt to different comedic styles. He also wrote episodes for popular television shows such as “MASH” and “Three’s Company,” solidifying his reputation as a talented and sought-after comedy writer.

Before his successful writing career, Hank Bradford started as a comic, performing at nightclubs and opening shows for renowned acts like Simon & Garfunkel and the Temptations. His experiences as a performer likely influenced his unique comedic voice and understanding of what truly makes an audience laugh.

Remembering Hank Bradford

Hank Bradford’s contributions to the world of comedy will forever be remembered. His ability to craft jokes and write memorable sketches made him an integral part of late-night television history. As we mourn his passing, we celebrate his remarkable career and the laughter he brought to millions of viewers over the years. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his wife Patricia Bradford, his children, and his grandchildren during this difficult time.

Conclusion

Hank Bradford, the head writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,” has left an indelible mark on the world of comedy. His wit and skill in crafting jokes made him an invaluable asset to these iconic TV shows. As we reflect on his life and career, let us remember the laughter he brought to so many and the profound influence he had on the comedy industry. Share your favorite memories and jokes from Bradford’s work in the comments below.

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