Why Audrey Hepburn Made Johnny Carson Nervous When She Appeared On The Tonight Show

Throughout his 30-year tenure as host of "The Tonight Show," Johnny Carson interviewed a roster of guests that even he probably lost count of. Some particular stars, like Don Rickles and Burt Reynolds, appeared on the talk show with Carson over 100 times (via The Daily Beast). Renowned for his tongue-in-cheek charisma and seemingly impenetrable wit, Carson is often considered the greatest host in "Tonight Show" history and one of television's most treasured icons.

However, despite his stoic demeanor and unwavering composure during conversations with guests, even Carson himself admitted to having an Achilles heel. During an interview with the late Betty White (RIP), the "Golden Girls" star asked Johnny Carson if there was anyone in the world who could possibly shake his confidence enough to make him feel nervous while engaged in conversation with them. There was little hesitation in his answer when he revealed that such a person did exist, and her name was Audrey Hepburn (per Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

Carson on Hepburn

Johnny Carson's interview with Betty White, which took place in 1987, brought him face-to-face with a question that he'd never been asked before. 11 years after his "Tonight Show" talk with Audrey Hepburn, he still admitted to feeling "shook" by her presence. "You know, she is very — not aloof — proper maybe is the word. And I just didn't know how to handle it. I don't know why but she just completely unnerved me." Carson explained (per Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

At that point in time, the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" star had been in the entertainment business for 25 years, sporting a seasoned career that entailed modeling, Broadway plays, and movies. She'd also earned a reputation as a humanitarian and a philanthropist for her worldwide charity efforts and was an official ambassador for UNICEF (via Biography). It's no wonder her elegant stoicism might have inspired some tender intimidation, even for an interpersonal aficionado like Johnny Carson.