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January 24, 2021

Media King Larry dies at 87

Top Story

January 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES: Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87.

King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalized with COVID-19

A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, D.C., which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made.

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.

King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview. His non-confrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience.

At a time when CNN, as the lone player in cable news, was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the center of controversies would seek out his show.

After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan.