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Archive for the ‘TV Personalities’ Category

Larry King Biography

Posted On May 14th, 2021 By Celebrity Biographies

Larry King was an American television and radio host. He hosted over 60,000 interviews in his career. Truly, the best television host of all time.

Larry King

Early Life

Larry King was born Larry Harvey Zeiger on November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. He was born to his mother Jennie, who was a garment worker, and his father, Aaron Zeiger, who was a restaurant owner and a defense plant worker. Larry’s parents were Orthodox Jews who immigrated to the United States in the year 1930, from Belarus. Larry was just 9 years old when his father died of a heart attack at the age of 44. As a result, Larry, his mother, and his brother had to attain government welfare for their basic needs. Larry was deeply affected by his father’s death and subsequently lost interest in education. He finished high school and started working as a mail clerk, in order to support his mother. From a very young age, He always had a strong desire to work in radio broadcasting.

Radio Career

Larry King was looking for a job when he accidentally met a CBS staff announcer. He told Larry, that Florida has a growing media market, who were looking for inexperienced, possibly new talents, in broadcasting. King took his advice and went to Miami where he landed a job at a small radio station called WAHR. It wasn’t his dream job though. He was hired as a cleaner at the station, also assigned to do other petty tasks. But as fate would have it, one of the station’s announcers abruptly quit the job, and King was put on the air, as his replacement. His first radio broadcast was on May 1, 1957. King really impressed his station manager, and he was assigned the morning 9 to noon slot immediately. He was also allotted a couple of afternoon news broadcasts and a sportscast. All this for a $55 a week salary.

At this time, Larry was still known as Larry Zeiger. However, the station’s general manager was not particularly happy with his last name “Zeiger”. He thought that the name was difficult to remember. Minutes before his broadcast, Larry saw an advertisement in the Miami Herald newspaper for the King’s Wholesale Liquor. He then decided to choose “King” as his last name. Two years down the line, he legally changed his name to Larry King.

Larry King started conducting interviews for the radio station WIOD. The venue was the Pumpernik’s Restaurant at Miami Beach. Having heard King’s interviews, American singer, Bobby Darin, walked into the restaurant and became King’s first celebrity guest for an interview. King soon found popularity in South Florida. Soon after, in the year 1960, King premiered his first television show called “Miami Undercover”. He instantly gained a lot of following in Miami. He was allotted a column in the entertainment section of the leading newspapers, Miami Herald and Miami News.

In 1964, television legend and comedian, Jackie Gleason, was taping a national television variety show in Miami Beach. Larry King met Jackie and they spent hours talking about television production, studio lighting, etc. Larry King considered Jackie Gleason as a mentor of his and credited him for teaching the art of television production.

In the year 1970, WIOD gave Larry King more exposure as an expert commentator for Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. Everything was going smoothly for his career, until, 20 December 1971. Larry King was arrested after being accused of grand larceny by a former business partner, Louis Wolfson. Larry was dismissed by WIOD and also as the sports commentator. He also lost his weekly column in the Miami Herald Sun newspaper. In the following year, Larry was acquitted of all charges, but, he was now in debt and publicly disgraced. Hereon, Larry tried to rebuild his career by writing articles for magazines. WIOD hired him again after the verdict and he hosted a sports talk show for the station, called Sports-a-la-King.

Larry King Show

The Larry King Show was a nightly coast-to-coast program on the Mutual Broadcasting System. It was first broadcasted on January 30, 1978. The show was broadcast live, Monday to Friday, from midnight to 5:30 in the morning. The program started where King would interview a guest for the first hour, followed by questions from the callers for the guest for another two hours. At 3 a.m. the segment called “Open Phone America” would commence, where King allowed his callers to discuss any topic they pleased. The show quickly gained a lot of popularity, so much so, that the fans called themselves “King-aholics”. The show had 28 affiliates when it commenced, but the number grew to above 500 affiliate stations in a very short span of time. The show was a great success until Larry King decided to step down in the year 1994.

Larry King Live

Larry King Show was a great success and caught the attention of media mogul, Ted Turner. In June 1985, he hired Larry King to run his own television show on Cable News Network (CNN). Larry interviewed variety of people, including politicians, entertainment industry celebrities, scientists, president, sport stars to even psychics and conspiracy theorists.

King was known for his soft, direct, non-confrontational approach. People would open up to him, without any hesitation. He never used to read about the celebrities or guests before interview and then would approach them with easy, open-ended questions. Everyone felt at utmost comfort talking to him. According to CNN, Larry King conducted over 30,000 interviews in his whole career.

Larry King Live was recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records, as the longest running television show, hosted by the same person, on the same network, in the same time slot. Larry King retired in 2010, after taping his 6000th episode, after successfully running the show for 25 years.

Larry King Live was last aired on December 6, 2010. He thanked his audience for watching him and supporting him over the years. He also confirmed that he will remain with CNN to host occasional specials, until, on February 17, 2012, when CNN and Larry King confirmed that they were parting ways.

Larry King Now

A moth after retiring, in March 2012, Larry King co-founded Ora Tv, along with a Mexican business tycoon, Carlos Slim. Later in July same year, they launched an interview talk show hosted by Larry King, called Larry King Now. On January 16, 2013, they celebrated it’s 100th episode. King later stated, that he does not plan to retire and will host his shows till the day he dies.

Side Projects

Larry King had a booming career as a radio broadcaster and a TV talk show host. But outside his career, he did several movies and TV series. He did cameos in “Ghostbusters”, “Shrek 2”, “Shrek The Third”, “John Q” and “Bee Movie”. He played himself in the movie “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”. He also appeared on TV series such as “30 Rock”, “Arthur”, “Gravity Falls’ and “Law & Order”.

In 1987, Larry King suffered a heart attack. He then founded the “Larry King Cardiac Foundation” which is a non-profit organization, providing life-saving cardiac treatments to the less fortunate who otherwise cannot afford the treatments.

King has always been an active writer. He published his autobiography in the year 2009, named “My Remarkable Journey”.

Personal Life

Larry King was married eight times to seven women. He had been in and out of marriages throughout his adult life. He married Freda Miller, his high-school sweetheart in the year 1952. However, their parents reportedly got their marriage annulled, just the following year.

He briefly married his second wife, Annette Kaye and had a son, named Larry Jr. in November, 1961.

In 1961, Larry married her third wife, Alene Akins, who was a Playboy Bunny. He also adopted Alene’s son, Andy. Again the marriage lasted only for a year.

In the year 1963, King married Mary Francis Sutphin. The marriage ended soon after, when Mary divorced him.

He later remarried his third wife, Alene Akins. They had a girl named “Chaia” in 1969. The marriage ended in 1972.

On September 1976, Larry King married his fifth wife. Sharon Lepore was a mathematics teacher and a production assistant. They got divorced in 1983.

In 1989, Larry King met a businesswoman named Julie Alexander. He proposed to her on their very first date and the couple got married four months later in October 1989. King and his sixth wife got divorced in the year 1992.

Larry King got engaged to “Land of the Giants” actress, Deanna Lund, but they never got married.

In 1997, he married his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick who is a singer, actress, and television host. Together they had two children, Chance (born March 1999) and Cannon (born May 2000). He was also a stepfather to Daniel Aaron Southwick, who is an American Football quarterback. Larry and Shawn filed for divorced in 2010 but reconciled. However, in 2019, they filed for divorce again.

So, Larry King had seven wives, five children, nine grand children and four great grand children.

Larry King resided in Beverly Hills, California.

He was a Dodgers fan throughout his life.

King did not believe in God. He was fully atheist and a proud Jew.

Death

Larry King had a major heart attack on February 24, 1987. To monitor his heart condition, he got annual chest X-rays. In the year 2017, during one his medical examinations, doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his lungs. With timely and proper treatment, the tumor was successfully removed.

King underwent angioplasty in April 2019. He also had stents inserted in his heart. Later that year, King admitted that he had a stroke in March and was in a coma for weeks. He even contemplated committing suicide after the stroke. He said “I thought I was just going to bite the bullet. I didn’t want to live this way.”

In January 2021, Larry King got tested positive for COVID 19 virus. He was able to recover from the coronavirus, but succumbed to sepsis as complication. Larry Harvey King breathed his last on January 23, 2021. He was 87.

Achievements

Larry King won the “Peabody Award for Excellence” for radio broadcasting (1982) and television shows (1992).

He was inducted in “National Radio Hall of Fame” in 1989, and “Broadcaster Hall of Fame” in 1992.

In 2002, Talkers Magazine named King, the top television host of all time.

Famous Quotes



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