Anybody have that old May 10, 2002 Enquirer?
I'm still looking but here is an article I found interesting...
Johnny Carson Battling Emphysema
by Marcus Errico
Sep 19, 2002, 3:45 PM PT
Yes, Johnny Carson has emphysema. Yes, he is still keeping a low profile. But no, he is not on his deathbed, thank you very much.
That's the word today from the late-night talkmeister's camp as it tries to snuff an upcoming tabloid story claiming Carson is seriously ailing.
The National Enquirer will report in its next issue that Carson has "been grappling with killer emphysema for several years and wants to stay out of the public eye." Although the tab doesn't hit supermarket shelves until Friday, the gist of the story was leaked in Thursday's New York Post.
The report prompted a rare response from Carson himself, via his Carson Productions spokesman Jeff Sortzing.
"I'm dealing with it the best I can and it is not causing me any major problems," Carson said.
In the brief statement, Carson says he first learned of the story after a 45-minute stint of tennis at his Malibu cliff-side enclave.
Carson, who turns 77 in October, was frequently caught puffing away during his 1962-92 tenure manning the desk on NBC's Tonight Show, but he claims to have given up his cigarette habit. Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema, an incurable degenerative lung disease that causes shortness of breath. Exercise and medication are among the treatments used to keep the condition in check.
The iconic funnyman has remained way off the show-biz radar since his retirement, rarely turning up in public and even refusing to attend NBC's 75th anniversary special earlier this year.
Carson's reclusion has led to much speculation about his health, especially since he underwent quadruple-bypass heart surgery in 1999 following a reported heart attack.
But according to an Esquire magazine profile earlier this year, Carson's doing just fine. He and fourth wife Alexis spend most of their time ensconced in their Malibu digs or cruising the world in their custom-crafted 130-foot yacht, the Serengeti. (The vessel's name reflects Carson's love of Africa. He visits Tanzania so often he's even learned to speak some Swahili.)
He also reportedly finds time for the occasional poker game with fellow funnymen Carl Reiner, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase and media mogul Barry Diller.