Larry King, legendary talk show host and a broadcast pioneer, died Saturday at the age of 87.
“With profound sadness, Ora media announces the death of our co-founder, host, and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 97 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,” his company said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“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,” the statement said.
King, with his trademark suspenders and iconic voice, spent more than 60 years in the spotlight. He hosted CNN’s “Larry King Live” for 25 years, interviewing everyone from world leaders and icons to criminals and conspiracy theorists during 6,000-plus episodes of the show from 1985 to 2010.
“Instead of goodbye, how about so long,” King told viewers when singing off from his final CNN show in 2010.
King went on to work on a variety of projects following his CNN tenure, including co-founding Ora TV in 2012.
King’s historic career began on local radio back in Miami back in 1957 as a talk show host and disk jockey. His passion for free-flowing interviews began in 1958 when he an on-location interview program from Miami’s Pumpernik Restaurant, where he literally spoke to whoever entered the door. He eventually added to his skill set by providing color commentator for Miami Dolphins’ broadcasts and landed on television by 1964. Around the same time, King started writing columns for newspapers including The Miami Herald, The Miami News, and The Miami Beach Sun-Reporter.
Legal and financial issues nearly derailed his career in the 1970s but recovered to launch the Larry King Show” on Mutual Broadcasting Network in 1978, which paved the way for his highly successful CNN program.
Born Lawrence Zeiger on November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, he started going by Larry King early in his career. He battled lung cancer, lived with Type 2 diabetes, survived multiple heart attacks and underwent quintuple bypass surgery in 1987. The broadcasting legend promised to help others and established the The Larry King Cardiac Foundation (LKCF) in 1988, which helps facilitate critical treatment for people who would otherwise be unable to receive care because of either financial or insurance issues.
The non-profit organization was funded from the proceeds of King’s books, speaking engagements, and from entertainment galas conducted in New York City, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, according to the LKCF website.
King wrote “Taking on Heart Disease” to help educate victims of heart disease. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989, has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won a pair of Peabody Awards for Excellence in broadcasting, 10 Cable ACE awards and was honored in 2008 by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California, among many other awards and milestones.
The longtime Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers fan was regularly seen at Dodger Stadium cheering on his favorite team. He was married eight times, to seven different women, but had been single since filing for divorce from actress Shawn King in 2019.
King lost two of his five adult children when Andy, 65, and Chaia, 51, died within weeks of each other in 2020. Andy had a heart attack while Chaina had been battling lung cancer.
King made cameos in a variety of movies and TV programs, including “Ghostbusters, Enemy of the State,” “30 Rock,” “Boston Legal,” The Stepford Wives,” “Primary Colors,” Fraiser,” “Spin City,” Murphy Brown,” “Dave,” The Simpsons” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”
King is survived by three living children, Larry Jr. Chance and Cannon.