Larry King, legendary interviewer and TV host, dies at 87

Larry King, the veteran television and radio host known for his exclusive suspenders and legendary interviews, has died. He was 87 years old.

King’s company, Ora Media, shared the news on social media, writing that the iconic broadcaster died early Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The cause of death was not given.

“For 63 years and on radio, television and digital media platforms, Larry’s thousands of interviews, awards and global accolades are a testament to his unique and enduring talent as a broadcaster,” the statement reads in part. “Also, even though it was his name that appeared in the show titles, Larry always saw the subjects of his interviews as the true stars of his shows, and himself as just an impartial conduit between guest and audience.”

“Arrangements for the funeral and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the King family, who request their privacy at this time.”

King’s death comes after years of health problems, including a more than 30-year battle with heart disease. In 1987, King underwent quadruple bypass surgery after suffering a heart attack. In 2017, King was diagnosed with lung cancer and “underwent successful surgery to remove his upper lobe and lymph node,” his representative later confirmed. The host worker returned to work only two weeks later.

In April 2019, King underwent an angioplasty procedure and periods of time were added to his heart. Later that year, he revealed that he suffered a stroke after the heart procedure and was in a coma for a couple of weeks. As explained in his 2004 book Coping with heart disease, the initial heart attack was caused by his unhealthy lifestyle.

“At the beginning of 1987 I smoked three packs of Nat Sherman cigarettes a day, I ate this and that fried, I enjoyed lamb chops with a lot of fat because that always improves the flavor, I ordered banana cream or lemon meringue pie for dessert … . and feel absolutely fine, “he recalled. “But when I look back at the events that led up to that day when you already know what happened, I remember people looking at me.” It was always followed by something like ‘Larry, you should’ (fill in the blank: quit smoking / eat more fish / get some exercise) ‘, and it always responded with a completely false nod of thanks and kept doing what I was doing . I guess that phrase about ‘everything you need to see is always right in front of you, but you have to’ open your eyes to see it ‘really is true. “

The Peabody Award winner and Radio Hall of Fame member presented Larry King Live on CNN for 15 years and conducted tens of thousands of interviews throughout his career. the Larry King Live The set simulated that of a televised radio interview, an apparent nod to King’s television roots.

King began his radio career in South Florida in the late 1950s. His first job was at a small Miami Beach radio station, where he performed various tasks, including cleaning the radio station. He was later hired as a live personality and earned $ 50 a week. His birth name (Lawrence Harvey Ziegler) was deemed too “ethnic” for radio, prompting him to legally change his name to Larry King.

The son of Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents, King was born in Brooklyn in 1933. King’s father owned a restaurant and his mother worked as a garment worker. The family was forced to receive welfare after King’s father died of a heart attack at age 44. However, King worked to support his mother and brother after graduating from high school. Around this time, King married his high school sweetheart, Freda Miller, although the marriage did not last long. King and Miller’s parents found out about the nuptials and had the young bird lovers get an annulment.

In the early 1960s, King got a job at WIOD radio station in Miami and settled in a nearby restaurant where he got his first celebrity interview with singer Bobby Darin. King took advantage of the gig on the local weekly talk show, Miami undercover. He also worked as a commentator for the Miami Dolphins and hosted a local sports commentary show before premiering. The Larry King Show in 1978. King hosted the weekly national radio show until 1994.

Larry King Live made its debut on CNN in 1985 and became one of the network’s longest-running and most popular shows. The late-night talk show also made King an omnipresent figure in his own right and a wanted actor. He made cameos in various movies and TV shows, including Ghostbusters, BEE movie, Shrek, Murphy brown, The Simpsons, and American crime history.

In 2010, CNN replaced Larry King Live with Piers Morgan Live, although the talk show only lasted four seasons.Meanwhile, King launched Ora TV in 2012 and premiered a new talk show, Larry King now, which was picked up by Hulu. King continued to host Larry King now before his death. The veteran broadcaster was married eight times to seven different women. After his divorce from Miller, King briefly married Annette Kaye, who gave birth to their son, Larry King Jr., in 1961. (King did not meet his son in person until the boy was an adult). Former Playboy playmate Alene Akins. He adopted Akins’ son, but the couple separated in 1963 and King married Mary Francis “Mickey” Stuphin. After King and Stuphin divorced in 1967, he married Kaye for the second time. The couple welcomed a daughter, Chaiai, during their marriage, but divorced again in 1972. Four years later, King married Sharon Lepore. The marriage lasted until 1983. In 1989, he met and married Julie Alexander, to whom he proposed on their first date. They were married two months later, but divorced in 1992.

King married his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick, in 1997. The couple have two children together, Chance and Cannon. Southwick filed for divorce in 2010, although the couple reconciled and remained married for another decade. King, 86, filed for divorce from Southwick, 60, in the fall of 2019.

In the summer of 2020, the father of five tragically lost two of his children within weeks of each other. King’s daughter, Chaiai, died of lung cancer and her son, Andy, suffered a fatal heart attack.

“Losing them feels so out of place,” King said in an emotional statement. “No parent should have to bury a child. My family and I thank you for your kind feelings and good wishes. Right now, we need a little time and privacy to heal. I thank you for respecting that.”

King is survived by his three living children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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