An American television host, radio host, winner of two Peabody awards, an Emmy award, and 10 Cable ACE Awards. From a local Florida journalist to host of his own nationwide radio show with his trademark suspenders and deep, rich voice. We all know him as Larry King. Sadly, on Saturday, King, 87, passed away from Covid-19 complications at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after being treated at the ICU for 3 weeks. Although we will never see him again, his legacy will stay for the years to come. Even 100 articles could not cover all that Larry King has done for the betterment of the world. Nevertheless, in this article, I will do my best to recap the highlights of the talk show legend, Larry King.
Let’s start at the beginning. Larry Zieger (who later changed his last name to King) was born on November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, to Russian and Orthodox Jewish parents, with one sister. When he was just 9 years old, his father died from a heart attack. This caused him to lose all interest in his education. Still, in order to support his mother and sister, he graduated from Lafayette High School to pursue a career in radio broadcasting.
Later on in his life, a CBS staff announcer suggested to King that he go to Florida, a growing media market for inexperienced broadcasters. King took this advice and, after many false starts, he gained his first job in radio. He was hired by the manager of a small station in Miami Beach to clean up and perform low-key tasks. When one of the station’s announcers abruptly quit, King was put on the air. For his first broadcast, he worked as a disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast for $50 a week. The manager of the radio station told him that his last name, Zieger, was too hard to remember, so he changed it to King. Soon, King started interviewing random people at a restaurant in Miami, like a waitress and some customers. After he got a little more popular, singer Bobby Darin walked in before heading to a concert, and was interviewed by King. Darin became King’s first celebrity interview guest.
During this period, WIOD gave King further exposure as a commentator for the Miami Dolphins during their 1970 season and most of their 1971 season. He was dismissed from his position as a late-night radio host and sports commentator in December 1971, when he was arrested after being accused of stealing money from a former business partner, Louis Wolfson. Fortunately, the charges were dropped and King was rehired by WIOD.
King’s main break was with CNN, with the Larry King Live show beginning in 1985 in which King hosted a broad range of famous guests, from politicians, to actors, to athletes, from 9 to 10 p.m. King also worked with the Mutual Broadcasting System to do another radio show. King is most famous for hosting a debate between Al Gore and Perot in 1933. The debate was CNN’s most-watched segment until 2015! In his career, he interviewed more than 30,000 people. 25 years later, in 2010, King announced that he would step down from hosting Larry King Live, although he promised to interview people occasionally on CNN. Also, in 2012, King co-founded Ora TV, in which he hosted a show called Larry King Now. He is also well known for making cameo appearances in other shows and movies including Arthur, Bee Movie, Ghostbusters, and Shrek 2.
And Larry King didn’t stop with entertainment. He is also well known for his philanthropy. In 1987, after having a heart attack, King founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. The foundation helped pay for expensive cardiac procedures for people who couldn’t afford them. He also donated to the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden. And these are just a few of the things that he has done to impact society.
But, in 2021, tragedy struck. On January 2, 2021, King revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been hospitalized in a Los Angeles hospital. Just weeks later, on January 23, 2021, he passed away at the age of 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Even though he might have passed, we will always feel him and his legacy in our hearts.