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Hank Bradford Cause Of Death: Head Writer For Johnny Carson’s ‘Tonight Show,’ Dies At The Age Of 88!

Hank Bradford Cause Of Death: According to his relatives, Hank Bradford, the chief writer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,” passed away in Los Angeles on January 18. He was eighty-eight. Stephanie Brenowitz, Bradford’s daughter, confirmed his passing and stated that congestive heart failure was the cause. Bradford was Carson’s principal writer from 1970 to 1975.

Hank Bradford
Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Hank Bradford Cause Of Death

According to the family, he penned the script for several iconic Carson skits, such as Carnac the Magnificent. Bradford managed a team that scoured periodicals and newspapers every day for current events that might inspire thousands of joke ideas for Carson to parody.

A writer for Carson and journalist Bill Majeski described a typical day in Bradford’s writing room in an August 1, 1971, New York Times feature. “After handing in monologue material at 3:30, writers have a half-hour to recuperate before the daily 4 p.m. meeting, presided over by Hank Bradford, a former angry young comic, now a semi-steamed head writer,” quoted from the article.

“Bradford searches the area for feedback. A grumble goes up, “Better you than me.” Bradford hits a bell, types it on a card, nods, and a staffer quickly removes the ad-lib. According to the family, Bradford first met Patricia Bradford, a talent supervisor for “The Tonight Show,” in New York. The two were married in 1971 and moved to Los Angeles with the program in 1972.

Bradford also wrote episodes for “MASH” and “Three’s Company” and was head writer for “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” from 1986 to 1987. According to Bradford’s family, his parents, Irving and Anna (Leibowitz) Brenowitz, were Jewish refugees from Russian-occupied Poland. Bradford was born Henry Brenowitz in New York on May 7, 1935.

“As a head writer on The Tonight Show, he was admired and beloved by his fellow writers for both his pitch-perfect sense of humor and his relatively sane leadership style in a job (and profession) that tended towards the weird and chaotic,” the Bradford family stated in a written obituary. “Above his desk at The Tonight Show was a sign that read: ‘It left here funny.'”

After graduating from Long Island University with a degree in advertising, he was inducted into the American Army in 1958 and worked as a radio presenter and intelligence analyst in Okinawa, Japan.

According to Bradford’s family, after returning to the United States, he started a career as a comedian and played as an opening act for Simon & Garfunkel, the Temptations, and Jack Jones, in addition to appearing at prestigious nightclubs and variety programs.

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Sankalp
Sankalp, a talented writer, he has learned to navigate the challenges of a demanding personal life. Alongside his familiar responsibilities, Sankalp has forged a successful career as an engineer, equipped with an Executive MBA from IIMC and 15 years of professional experience.
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