King was monarch of all he hosted
LOS ANGELES: The iconic talk show host Larry King, one of the most recognisable figures on US television as he interviewed everyone who was anyone over a career spanning 60 years, died on Saturday at the age of 87.
The company he co-founded, Ora Media, did not state a cause of death but media reports said King had been batling COVID-19 for weeks and had suffered several health problems in recent years.
King, with his trademark suspenders, black rim glasses and deep voice, was best known for a 25-year run as a talk show host on CNN’S “Larry King Live.”
King’s long list of interviewees ranged from every US president since 1974, world leaders Yasser Arafat and Vladimir Putin, and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and Barbra Streisand.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger on Nov.19, 1933, to poor Russian immigrants in working-class Brooklyn, New York, King says he never wanted to be anything but a radio broadcaster.
At the age of 23 he went to Florida to try and find a job.
He became a disc-jockey for a Miami radio station in 1957, changing his name to King when the radio’s manager told him it was “too ethnic.”
For another Miami Beach radio station he recorded programmes in a restaurant, doing live audience interviews.
In 1978 he went to Washington where he anchored a national late-night radio call-in show, before being spoted by CNN, a channel founded in 1980, which hired him for its nightime programmes in 1985.
“Larry King Live”, which ran from 1985-2010, broadcast six nights a week to more than 200 countries. CNN puts his total number of interviews at 30,000.
At the height of its success the show atracted more than a million viewers every night, making King the star of cable television, on the back of which he negotiated an annual salary of more than $7 million.
Ater CNN King continued to do interviews on his own website and then, in 2013, he hosted a new show, “Larry King Now,” on Russia Today, a government-funded Russian international television network.
His private life has been colourful too: ater 22 years of marriage he divorced his seventh wife Shawn Southwick in 2019, having filed eight times for a divorce - he married one wife twice.
“Instead of goodbye, how about so long?” he said, voice breaking, as he signed off from his show that made him famous.
Tributes from the media, politicians and Hollywood stars poured in, led by Putin, who hailed the interviewer’s “great professionalism and unquestioned journalistic authority,” according to the Kremlin.
LOS ANGELES: The iconic talk show host Larry King, one of the most recognisable figures on US television as he quizzed everyone who was anyone over a career spanning 60 years, died on Saturday at the age of 87. Here is the reaction to the death of Larry King.
“Larry King was a Brooklyn boy who become a newsman who interviewed the newsmakers. He conducted over 50,000 interviews that informed Americans in a clear and plain way,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted. “New York sends condolences to his family and many friends.”
“Oh no!!! RIP Larry King...what a Titan you were! One of our true icons. You are no longer in pain. Rest well,” actor Viola Davis wrote on Twiter.
“R.I.P. Larry King. I loved his all night radio show in the 80’s. You could call in at 1 in the morning and just riff for hours. His radio show made a great opening for Lost In America. Rest easy Larry,” actor Albert Brooks tweeted.
“My friend Larry King has died,” news commentator Keith Olbermann wrote on Twiter. “It is literally true that thousands of us can make that sad statement this morning. While he was easily caricatured, I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him.”
“I lost a dear friend and mentor. Truly an American treasure. Rest in peace, Larry King,”
Ryan Seacrest tweeted.
“R.I.P To the legend Larry King God bless him,” entertainer 50 Cent wrote on Twiter.
“Thanks for the countless interviews and insights, Larry King. You understood human triumph and frailty equally well, and that is no easy feat. There was no one else like you, and you shall be missed. Rest with the heavens now,” actor George Takei tweeted.
“It is with emotion and affection that I remember #Larryking, king of the talk show and legendary face of @CNN, a remarkable individual, a great journalist and a good man who loved life deeply,” singer Andrea Bocelli wrote on Twiter.
“RIP Larry King!!!! I loved the easy breezy format of his CNN show, and his amazing voice,” Bravo TV Producer and Executive Andy Cohen wrote on Twiter. “The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened by the passing of Larry King and offer their deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the baseball team tweeted.
“I’ve had the honour of being interviewed by Larry King multiple times in my life. It was always a joy and a pleasure. He truly was the King of Talk. On a personal level, I’ll miss him. Professionally, we’ll all miss him. Rest In Peace, my friend,” Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, wrote on Twiter.