Legendary Journalist Larry King Passes Away

Los Angeles, Jan 23 (AFP/APP): The iconic TV and radio interviewer Larry King died Saturday at the age of 87, his media company said.

The company he co-founded, Ora Media, did not state a cause of death but media reports said King had been battling Covid-19 for weeks and had suffered several health problems in recent years.

King, with his trademark suspenders and black rim glasses, was best known for a 25-year run as a talk show host on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” Ora Media said in a statement posted on Twitter.

It should be noted that Larry King is the only TV anchor person who has the honor of doing TV talk shows for 25 years. Remember that Larry King was suffering from lung cancer, diabetes and other diseases

Larry interviewed world-renowned politicians, artists, athletes and business figures. The list includes all US presidents, from former US President Gerald Ford to Crabbe, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Mike Tyson, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, former South African President Nelson Mandela and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Larry King’s questions, mannerisms, and interesting conversation continued to earn plaudits for his distinctive style. Critics of King say his interview style has been very soft at times. Others claim that this is the secret that made every celebrity ready to appear on the show, which soon played a significant role in making CNN an international television channel.

In an emotional last “Larry King Live” show in 2010, tributes included one from President Barack Obama, who in a video message called King “one of the giants of broadcasting”.

Radio roots

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.

Veteran CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour remembered King as “a giant of broadcasting and a master of the TV celebrity/statesman-woman interview.” She added: “His name is synonymous with CNN and he was vital to the network’s ascent. EVERYONE wanted to be on Larry King Live. May he Rest in Peace.” Star Trek icon and social media personality George Takei noted how King understood “human triumph and frailty equally well,” while Kirstie Alley, of “Cheers” fame, described him as “one of the only talk show hosts who let you talk.”

Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger on November 19, 1933, to poor Russian Jewish 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 programs 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 spotted by CNN, a channel founded in 1980, which hired him for its nighttime programs in 1985.

Larry’s private life has also been particularly explosive.

The two were married in 1997. Photo: Instagram
 

Leading American TV and radio host and TV celebrity Larry King, 85, also filed for divorce from his seventh wife. Larry King has married seven times so far. Larry King, who has historically interviewed many important political, social, business and showbiz personalities, had his first marriage in 1952 at the age of 19 before starting his career.

Larry King was first married to his classmate Mehbooba Freda Miller, but they divorced within a year. Larry King’s parents did not recognise the marriage and he pressured them to do so. Shortly after his first marriage ended, he began a career as a radio broadcaster, and a few years after that first marriage, he got married for the second time in 1960 to Anita Kei, and had a son, Larry King Jr, born in 1961.

Desiring to pursue his career, he divorced his second wife shortly after the birth of his son and did not see his son for almost three decades.

Larry King first met his son when he was married and had his first child.

Putin hails Larry King’s ‘great professionalism’: Kremlin

Moscow, Jan 23 (AFP/APP): Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday offered his condolences on the death of US TV and radio broadcaster Larry King, the Kremlin’s spokesman said. “King repeatedly interviewed Putin. The president has always appreciated his great professionalism and unquestioned journalistic authority,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by state RIA Novosti news agency.

One Million Viewers

“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 attracted 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. Structured in two parts, the show opened with King, typically in his signature rolled-up shirtsleeves and multi-colored ties, interviewing his guests in his relaxed style. The second part of the show had the guest answering questions phoned in by viewers from around the world.

“I don’t have an agenda. I don’t assume the answer,” King told the Miami Herald in 2017 of his approach to the job. “I never learned anything when I was talking. Listening is as important,” he said.

While critics found his easy-going interviewing style too soft, others saw it as the key to King’s appeal, drawing so many star guests to his show and helping CNN establish itself with the scoops he won. “I’m not interested in embarrassing (guests) nor am I interested in sucking up to them,” he told AFP in 1995. “I’m just curious.”

The show goes on

After 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 colorful too: after 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.

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