Joanne Carson and Truman Capote

John J. Nazarian
April 29, 2024

After more than 32 years it is very true when I say there is little I have not seen or taken part in. The biggest issue was always to keep myself and those in my employ on the level, on the level? Some people think that as a Private Investigator and Security Advisor that the law of the land did not apply to us. Even at $600.00 an hour there was no way I was going to put my freedom at risk. As a former prison guard, deputy sheriff and a police officer I had smelled what that life was like and I was very comfortable living on my estate in Toluca Lake, Bob Hope’s neighborhood.

What our clients did get for that fee was the very best resources that money could buy and a level of tenaciousness that few could ever provide, similar to my Rottweilers as they tore the heads off slow moving rabbits.

However, the most important lesson I learned very early in my career was that I was in a terrible position 99% of the time. What you ask could be so dire while making $600.00 an hour? I could never ever trust the client that was paying my bill and worse yet, I could never trust the attorneys either. The lawyers as soon as they felt something was going wrong would throw me and my agents under that proverbial bus, to save their own asses! Welcome to my world. Guess what? I was good with all of that. I understood the game, backwards and forwards, after all, I fell out of my birth canal not being wanted. Here is just one issue, to become a lawyer you must work very hard, get through college and then work harder to pass your state’s BAR exam. Once you achieve that goal you don’t really want to lose your state bar license, there are perils in keeping that damn ticket, just ask Lisa Helfend Meyer! ** She had a very close call in the Ventura County Court House.

So, I was always conscious that I was in fact potential cannon fodder for some guy or gal with a law license who hired us to handle an issue. The other fact is only two people hire private investigators, crazy people and wealthy people and the lawyers are not much better at times. Trust me, when as a private investigator you get a rich crazy client life is good, absolutely fabulous.

I can recall being assigned to serve legal papers on the former wife of Johnny Carson, Joanne Carson. Ms. Carson lived right off Sunset Boulevard, very steep driveway that if you were not careful it was an address easily missed. The driveway was old in serious need of repairs there was no ‘approach.’ BAM it was there and you had to pull off Sunset. The entire place as was many homes of the once rich and famous was in serious need of lots of work. The “gate” was off the track and was easily accessible. So, I of course walked past it and found a home that was in serious need of a wrecking ball. I also remembered that this was the place that Truman Capote had died. Capote was a good friend of Joanne and during a visit died inside this house. I was standing outside at the door that Capote and maybe even ‘Here’s Johnny’ had walked.

I knocked, similar as I had once when I was a police officer and there was no response, there is something about the knock of a cop. The garage door was open and I could see a Jaguar convertible that was in a similar condition as the rest of the place. I could also tell that it was once a pretty nice ‘dig me’ car. After what seemed like forever I noticed and older women staring at me from what I think was a bathroom window…. once we made eye contact she yelled, ‘get off my property or I will call the police’. I of course responded I have these papers for you Joanne (as if we had just had breakfast and we were friends) and you are served. It was not long after I was confronted by two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. I of course identified myself and all was good (this had happened to me hundreds of times through the years, often in helping me achieve the goal of getting someone served). These two boys in blue looked troubled as in responding to this call access was tough. What was happening was a major traffic jam due to the coppers had to park their patrol vehicle on Sunset Blvd. As I had parked purposely in a way that I could not be blocked in the event of a fast exit was necessary. As this was a nightmare location to park especially due to not having access to the property.

Experience always had me planning on the exit after the deed was executed. I was not interested in a visit to a body shop due to an unhappy target or for that matter a new windshield. All of what I mention here is very possible and spoke from experience. It was all good, my client would have to pay for any mishaps I may have. The number of close calls were all fresh in my memory…. Ms. Chow and her Bentley is another upcoming story.

This was just another encounter with another famous some body that I had heard the name on television and the news and here I was, John J. Nazarian ‘The Guy to Call to get someone SERVED’. As I drove away I was thinking this was where Truman Capote hung out with the former wife of Johnny Carson……..only in Hollywood!

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