In his 63 years of hosting he conducted more than 40,000 interviews that included world leaders, celebrities, and athletes.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, Larry King passed away on January 23, 2021. He was a broadcasting giant who hosted world leaders, celebrities, and famous athletes for half a century.
His official Twitter account announced the tragic news in a statement that read, “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host, and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The heartbreaking news comes weeks after reports of him being hospitalized for COVID-19 hit the tabloids in December 2020.
January 23, 2021
The statement highlighted King's illustrious career of "63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media" as it continued, "Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster." The cause of his death was not mentioned in the statement.
"I wanted to be a broadcaster since I could remember, when I was five years old," King said in one of his last interviews on the series Dispatches From Quarantine which was filmed in April 2020. His hosting game started with an unusual turn of events when he was working as a janitor at a local radio station and was asked to replace an announcer who abruptly quit.
"I was petrified," he recalled during an interview with People. "The theme music was supposed to fade, and I was supposed to do a voice-over. But every time the music faded I'd turn it back up again. Finally the station manager stuck his head into the studio and said, 'Remember, this is a communicating business.' I let the music go down and told the audience what had just happened. Those were my first words on radio."
By 1978, King was hosting a live show titled The Larry King Show, which aired for five hours every day. In 1985, CNN offered him the Larry King Live and he continued hosting the show for over 25 years. In the span of 63 years, he conducted more than 40,000 interviews.
He was known for the childlike curiosity he brought to all his interviews with various personalities. “I don’t pretend to know it all. Not, 'What about Geneva or Cuba?' I ask, 'Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?' Or 'What’s the biggest mistake you made?' That’s fascinating," he told AP in his 1995 interview.
In 1997, King was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his exceptional work. You'll find his name in the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame as well, as per Rolling Stone. He was also the proud owner of two Peabody Awards.
In 2012 he parted ways with CNN after a quarter-century association and moved to Ora TV with shows titled Larry King Now (2012) and Politicking With Larry King (2013). He also made cameos in shows like 30 Rock, Murphy Brown, Ghostbusters, Frasier, Primary Colors, and American Crime Story.
In the Dispatches From Quarantine interview, King said that he was grateful that he was still getting to do what he loved. "I know most people my age, 86, are not working so I count that as a blessing. I feel very lucky."
The hosting giant did extremely well in his career but his personal life wasn't easy. Other than being married and divorced eight times, he had a lot of health issues as well. After suffering from a heart attack in 1987, he had to undergo quintuple bypass surgery. This led to the inception of Larry King Cardiac Foundation that aims at providing assistance to those in need.
Later in 2017, King was diagnosed with lung cancer but fortunately, he defeated it with the right treatment and surgery. It was reported that the hosting king had to undergo angioplasty and stent insertion following chest pains in 2019. Then in August of 2020, King lost his 65-year-olf son Andy King to a heart attack. Just weeks later, his 52-year-old daughter Chaia King passed away after her lung cancer diagnosis.
Even though King was a busy man, he enjoyed fatherhood. He told People in February 2020, “I’m very proud of what I do. And I’m a good father — nothing beats parenthood. There’s an element of pinching myself every day. Look at what I’ve come through. All in all, if you look at it, I’ve had a blessed life.”
However, the passing of his children left him heartbroken. Confirming their deaths on his Facebook page, the mourning father wrote, "Losing them feels so out of order. No parent should have to bury a child."
His surviving kids Larry King, Jr., 59; Chance King, 21; and Cannon King, 20, released a joint family statement on Twitter saying, “The world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us, he was 'dad'...We will miss him every single day of our lives."
Statement from the family of Larry King pic.twitter.com/LgBiZKFwcJ— Larry King (@kingsthings) January 24, 2021