Legendary Talk Show Host, Larry King, Dies at 87
Photo by Sam Aronov via Shutterstock
Ora Media announced that their “cofounder, host, and friend Larry King passed away at age of 87” on Jan. 23. Although King was hospitalized earlier this year after contracting COVID-19, no cause of death has been announced.
Larry King had a prosperous career spanning over 50 years and 50,000 on air interviews in broadcast media. Most notably known for his CNN show, which aired from 1985-2010, Larry King Live, King started his broadcast journey in the late 50’s at a radio station in Florida.
Formerly known as Lawrence Zeiger he took the mic as Larry King on May 1, 1957. His popularity began to rise because of his eminent interviews. However, it was not smooth sailing for King as he was arrested in 1971 for grand larceny as well as being suspended from WIOD station and the Miami Herald.
After a few legal battles and marriages, King returned to Miami and WIOD in 1978. The radio station launched The Larry King Show that year, which won a PeaBody award in 1982. CNN founder, Ted Turner, hired Larry and on June 1, 1985 which was when “Larry King Live” premiered and aired until 2010.
The show was King’s biggest success and television’s highest rated talk show. The show won a Peabody award in 1992.
Over the 25 years, King taped over 6,000 episodes, interviewing everyone from celebrities, presidents and other public figures.
“I found I had an ability to draw people out in an interview,” said King in a 1982 memoir.
King had a method to the way he would interview, making him so enjoyable to watch. “There are many broadcasters who’ll recite three minutes of facts before they ask a question…as if to say: Let me show you how much I know. I think the guest should be the expert.”
King left CNN in 2011 and co founded Ora TV in 2012. From there, he hosted the platform’s show Larry King Now which ran for 8 seasons. King always enjoyed what he did and referred to work as “the easiest thing I do.”
As the news of his death spread, people quickly spoke out. Ted Turner released a statement saying:
“If anyone asked me what are my greatest career achievements in life, one is the creation of CNN, and the other is hiring Larry King. Like so many who worked with and knew Larry, he was a consummate professional, an amazing mentor to many and a good friend to all. The world has lost a true legend.”
One of his longtime producers Wendy Walker reminisced about her time working with Larry. Walker said, “He was a very interesting man but that one hour a day, when those lights came on, he was just perfect. He treated every guest the same. It didn’t matter if it was a president or somebody just off the street.”
King is survived by his wife Shawn Southwick and sons Cannon, Chance, Larry Jr. and stepson Danny. Also including his 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.