US television host and veteran broadcaster Larry King, has died aged 87 in Los Angeles according to the Ora Media, a production company he co-founded.
Ora Media did not state a cause of Larry King’s death on Saturday but reports point it to Covid-19, which the television host had been battling with for weeks and had suffered several health problems in recent years, including a near-fatal stroke in 2019 and diabetes.
Larry had been hospitalised at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for more than a week where he was receiving treatment according to CNN.
Larry King’s radio and television broadcasting career had lasted for more than 60 years, gaining a huge fan base that loved his entertaining interview shows that ran from 1985 to 2010.
Larry was watched by millions of people worldwide and had become a household name in the entertainment industry. He conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews in his six-decade career, which included 25 years as host of the popular CNN talk show Larry King Live.
Larry King Live was one of CNN’s most prime shows. It was viewed by millions of people all over the world. The popular show had a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates and phone calls from viewers.
“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,” Ora Media said in a statement posted on Twitter.
King began his career as a DJ and sportscaster in Miami — and it’s where he got his name, as well. When a station manager told him his given surname, Zeiger, was “too ethnic,” he chose King from a liquor ad in a newspaper.
King rose to fame in the 1970s with his radio programme The Larry King Show, on the commercial network Mutual Broadcasting System until he later became the host of Larry King Live on CNN, between 1985 and 2010, carrying out interviews with a host of guests.
He also wrote a column for the USA Today newspaper for over 20 years and hosted another programme called: Larry King Now, which was broadcast on Hulu and RT, Russia’s state-controlled international broadcaster.
Larry King will surely be missed after entertaining the world for more than 60 years
Known for his trademark suspenders and deep baritone voice, Larry King had battled with other health problems over the years, including prostate cancer and type-two diabetes. In 1987, he suffered a heart attack that required quintuple-bypass surgery, and in 2017 he underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumour in his lung.
Despite all this, Larry still pushed on and was able to keep entertaining his viewers for more years until reports about him contracting Covid-19 surfaced. It was during this trying moment that he was hospitalised at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“Picking up somebody like Larry King made a lot of sense,” Carter said. “Because he had established himself kind of as a guy who would get big guests, they could have big names and promote it and it became a sort of the linchpin of their prime time lineup.”
However, after 25 years running the popular CNN show, some critics began to complain about King being too ‘too chummy’ with celebrities and lobbing softball questions at his guests according to NPR.
“His strategy was: ‘I’m never going to make the guests uncomfortable,’ ” Carter said. “And that means not only will they come back, but they’ll tell their friends. He won’t ask you about that ugly divorce of yours. You know, he’ll ask you about your favourite movie. So, he didn’t challenge people, but he did get information. He was pretty good at that.”
King was famously known for not doing a lot of preparation before his interviews.
“He basically started the cable monomania move,” Carter said. “We’re going to just cover this story — that’s it. And in a way, it was perfect for Larry, because it was celebrity-oriented. It was in the news, but it was not political.”
Ultimately, CNN cancelled King’s show because it wasn’t political — competition from Fox and MSNBC took its toll on the ratings. None the less, Larry was a fighter and he pushed ahead taking his career further after he took his talk show to streaming video — on Ora TV, Hulu, and RT America, the Russian network — and kept on working.
Larry King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger; November 19, 1933, was an American television host, radio host, and paid spokesman, whose work was recognized with awards including two Peabodys, an Emmy award, and 10 Cable ACE Awards.
Also read: Dolly Parton’s Younger Brother Randy Parton Dies of Cancer at 67
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.
He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about technology and web.