- Larry King
name = Larry King
caption = Larry King during a videotaping of his "Larry King Live" program at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA in 2006
birthname = Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
birthdate = birth date and age|1933|11|19
Brooklyn, New York, USA
occupation = Anchor of "
Larry King Live", television personality
yearsactive = 1956 – present
spouse = Shawn Southwick 1997–Present
Julie Alexander 1989–1992 (
Sharon Lepore 1976–1984 (
Alene Akins 1967–1972, 1961–1963 (
Mickey Sutphin 1963–1967 (
Frada Miller 1952–? (
children = 7
awards = Other Awards
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Larry King (born
November 19, 1933) is an American television/radio host. Since 1985, King has hosted a nightly interview program on CNNcalled " Larry King Live".
Larry King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, the son of Jennie (née Gitlitz), a
garmentworker, and Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner and defense plant worker. [Citation
title=Larry King Biography (1933-)
accessdate=2008-02-15] He was raised in a "very culturally Jewish" family. [Citation
November 14, 2003
title=Q & A With Larry King
accessdate=2008-02-15] His father died at 44 of heart disease when King was nine, [http://www.lkcf.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5179 Larry King, A Heart Healthy Life to Enjoy.] "The Larry King Cardiac Foundation." Accessed on
May 5, 2007.] and his mother had to go on welfare to support Larry and his younger brother. His father's death affected King greatly, and King lost interest in school, ruining his chances to go to college. After graduating from high school, he worked to help support his mother. From an early age he wanted to go into radio. [http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/kin0bio-1 Broadcaster's Hall of Fame biography] ]
CBSstaff announcer, whom King met by chance, told him to go to Florida, a growing media market where openings still existed for inexperienced broadcasters. King rode a bus to Miami. After initial setbacks, King got his first job in radio through persistence. The manager of a small station, WIODin Miami Beach, hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. When one of their announcers quit, they put King on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, when he worked as the disc jockeyfrom 9 a.m. to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid $55 a week. He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager said that Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember, and instead suggested the surname "King", which he got from an ad in " The Miami Herald" for King's Wholesale Liquor. He started interviewing on a midmorning show for WIOD, at Pumpernik's Restaurant in Miami Beach. He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernick's as a result of coming across King's show on his radio; Darin became King's first celebrity interview guest.
His Miami radio show launched him to local stardom. A few years later, in May 1960, he hosted "Miami Undercover", airing Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WPST-TV channel 10 (now
WPLG). On the show he moderated debates on important issues of the time. King credits his success on local TV to the assistance of another showbiz Jackie Gleason, whose national TV variety show was being filmed in Miami Beach during this period. "That show really took off because Gleason came to Miami," King said in a 1996 interview he gave when inducted into the Broadcaster's Hall of Fame. "He did that show and stayed all night with me. We stayed till five in the morning. He didn't like the set, so we broke into the general manager's office and changed the set. Gleason changed the set, he changed the lighting, and he became like a mentor of mine." [cite news | url=http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/kin0int-1 | title=The Interview King| publisher= Academy of Achievement| date= June 29, 1996 | accessdate =2008-03-03]
WIOD gave King further exposure as the
color commentatorfor the Miami Dolphinsbroadcasts during the Miami Dolphins' perfect season of 1972. Larry also did color for the old Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League in 1974-75.
Legal and financial troubles
In the early 1970s, King was entangled in legal and financial troubles. He was arrested on
December 20, 1971and charged with grand larceny. The charges stemmed from a deal he had made with Louis Wolfson, who had been convicted of selling unregistered stock in 1968.
The circumstances of what occurred between the two are unclear. According to King, he told Wolfson that he could arrange a special investigation by John Mitchell, the incoming US Attorney General, to overturn the conviction. Wolfson agreed, and paid King $48,000. King never delivered, and could not pay back the money. When Wolfson was released from prison, he went after King. According to Wolfson, King served as an intermediary between Wolfson and New Orleans District Attorney
Jim Garrison. Garrison was investigating the assassination of President Kennedy, but needed to raise funds for the investigation. Wolfson offered to pay $25,000 to help fund the investigation. The arrangement was that Wolfson gave Larry King cash (about $5,000 per visit). King was supposed to give this to Richard Gerstein, the State Attorney for Dade County, Florida. Gerstein was to transfer the money to Garrison. This took place over a year or two. Wolfson eventually found that not all the money he gave to King made it to Garrison. The larceny charge was dropped because the statute of limitationshad run out. But King pled no contest to one of 14 charges of passing bad checks. As a result of these troubles, he was off the air for three years. During those three years he worked several jobs. He was the PR director at Louisiana Downs, a race track in Louisiana, and he wrote some articles for "Esquire" magazine, including a major piece on New York Jetsquarterback Joe Namath.
Comeback to radio and TV
King managed to get back into radio by becoming the
color commentatorfor broadcasts of the Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League on KWKH. Eventually, King was rehired by WIOD in Miami. In 1978, he went national, inheriting the nightly talk show slot on the Mutual Radio Network, broadcast coast-to-coast, that had been "Long John" Nebel's until his death, and had been pioneered by Herb Jepko. One reason King got the Mutual job is because he had once been an announcer at WGMA-AM in Hollywood, Florida, which was then owned by C. Edward Little. Little went on to become president of Mutual and was the one who hired King when Nebel died. King's Mutual show developed a devoted audience.
It was broadcast live Monday through Friday from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Larry would interview a guest for the first 90 minutes, allowing callers to continue the interview for another 90. At 3 a.m., Larry would allow the callers to discuss any topic they pleased with him, until the end of the program, where he expressed his own political opinions. They called that segment "Open Phone America". Some of the regular callers included "The Portland Laugher", "The Miami Derelict", "The Todd Cruz Caller", "The Scandal Scooper","Mr. Radio", and "The Water Is Warm Caller". "Mr Radio had over 200 calls to Larry during Open Phone America. The show was wildly successful as a loss leader, starting with relatively few affiliates and eventually growing to more than 500. It ran until 1994.
For its final year, the show was moved to afternoons, but, because most talk radio stations at the time had an established policy of local origination at the time (3 to 6 p.m. Eastern Time) that Mutual offered the show, a very low percentage of King's overnight affiliates agreed to carry his daytime show and it was unable to generate the same audience size. The afternoon show was eventually given to
David Brennerand radio affiliates were given the option of carrying the audio of King's CNNevening program. He started his CNN show in June 1987, and the Westwood Oneradio simulcast of the CNN show continues at the time of this writing.
On the "
Larry King Live" show, King hosts guests from a broad range of topics. This includes controversial figures of UFO conspiracy theories and alleged psychics. One notable guest is Sylvia Browne, who in 2005 told the " Newsweek" magazine that Larry King, a believer in the paranormal, asks her to do private psychic readings. [cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6826824/site/newsweek/ | title=Predictions: Jacko Convicted, But Blake Gets Off| publisher= Newsweek| date= January 14, 2005 | first=Ramin | last=Setoodeh | accessdate =2007-01-31]
Unlike many interviewers, Larry King has a direct, non-confrontational approach. His interview style is characteristically frank and no-nonsense, but with occasional bursts of irreverence and humor. His approach attracts some guests who would not otherwise appear. King, who is known for his lack of pre-interview preparation, once bragged that he never pre-reads the books of authors who appear on his show. In a show dedicated to the surviving Beatles, for example, Larry asked
George Harrison's widow about the song "Something", which was written about George Harrison's first wife (this conflicts with information given in the Somethingpage). He seemed surprised when she did not know very much about the song.
Throughout his career he has interviewed many of the leading figures of his time. In all, CNN claims that he conducted more than 40,000 interviews over the course of his career. [http://www.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/king.larry.html Anchors & Reporters: Larry King.] "http://www.cnn.com." Accessed on
May 5, 2007.]
1987 heart attack
February 24, 1987, King suffered a major heart attack and then had quintuple-bypass surgery. Coincidentally, this occurred the day after Larry King made an appearance on the " Don and Mike Show". It was a life-altering event. Previously, smoking was one of his trademarks and he was not apologetic about this habit. King was a three-pack-a-day smoker and kept a lit cigarette during his interview so he would not have to take time to light up during breaks.Fact|date=November 2007 He now encourages curbing smoking to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
King has written two books about living with heart disease. "
Mr. King, You're Having a Heart Attack: How a Heart Attack and Bypass Surgery Changed My Life" (1989, ISBN 0-440-50039-7) was written with New York's " Newsday" science editor, B. D. Colen. "Taking on Heart Disease: Famous Personalities Recall How They Triumphed Over the Nation's #1 Killer and How You Can, Too" (2004, ISBN 1-57954-820-2) features the experience of various celebrities with cardiovascular disease including Peggy Flemingand Regis Philbin.
As result of heart attacks, he established the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, an organization to which
David Letterman, through his American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming, has also contributed. King gave $1 million to George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs for scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
September 3, 2005, King aired "How You Can Help", a three-hour special designed to provide a forum and information clearinghouse for viewers to understand and join nationwide and global relief efforts. This was following the devastation to the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. Guest Richard Simmons, a native of New Orleans, told him, "Larry, you don't even know how much money you raised tonight. When we rebuild the city of New Orleans, we're going to name something big after you."
September 10, 1990, while on "The Joan Rivers Show", Rivers asked King which contestant in the pageant was "the ugliest". King responded, "Miss Pennsylvania. She was one of the 10 finalists and she did a great ventriloquist bit [...] The dummy was prettier." [ [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=AT&p_theme=at&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB7C49FB40C5BBE&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM NEWSMAKERS:`Ugliest' beauty offered equal time] , "The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution", September 12, 1990] King was a judge for the September 8, 1990pageant. King later sent Miss Pennsylvania, Marla Wynne, a dozen long-stemmed roses and a telegram apologizing for saying she was the ugliest contestant in the Miss AmericaPageant that year. [ [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=RO&p_theme=ro&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EAEA17D14093C0D&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM The People Column] , "Roanoke Times", September 15, 1990]
September 23, 2004, John Clark sued King and CNN after an interview with his ex-wife, Lynn Redgrave, aired. Clark argued that he was defamed by the banner statements scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and that the pre-taped show did not allow him to appear to defend himself. The court would not allow the suit to proceed ruling that he was not defamed. Two years later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, dismissed his appeal. [ [http://www.johnclarkprose.com/my-larry-kingcnn-suit-opening-brief-in-my-larry-king-suit.html Clark's opening Appeal brief] ]
King has received many broadcasting awards. He won the
Peabody Awardfor Excellence in broadcasting for both his radio (1982) and television (1992) shows. He has also won 10 CableACE awards for Best Interviewer and for Best Talk Show Series.
In 1989, King was inducted into the
Radio Hall of Fame, in 1996 to the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. In 2002, the industry magazine "Talkers" named King both the fourth-greatest radio talk show host of all time and the top television talk show host of all time. [Citation
title=The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time
accessdate=2008-02-15] King was the only person to place in the top ten on both lists. After 50 years of broadcasting, a highlight of his career was getting interviewed by Katie Couric, showcasing his success as a broadcaster. [ [http://www.newyorktimesbestsellerlist.org/reviews/larry-king Interview of Larry King] ]
King is an honorary member of the [http://www.bhrotary.org Rotary Club of Beverly Hills] . He is also a recipient of the President's Award honoring his impact on media from the [http://www.lapressclub.org Los Angeles Press Club] in 2006.
King is the first recipient of the Arizona State University
Hugh DownsAward for Communication Excellence, [Citation
title=Hugh Downs honors Larry King with award for communication excellence
April 3, 2007
April 11, 2007, via satellite by Downs himself. [Citation
publisher=Arizona State university: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
accessdate=2008-02-15] Downs, the highly respected broadcaster and TV host, sported red suspenders for the event and turned the tables on King by asking "very tough questions" about King's best, worst, most emotional and most influential interviews during King's 50 years in broadcasting.
King has been married seven times, to six different women:
* Shawn Southwick, present wife
September 5, 1997
***Son, Chance Armstrong King (b.
March 9, 1999)
***Son, Cannon Edward King (b.
May 22, 2000)
***Stepson, Danny Southwick (b. 1981)
* Julie Alexander
7 October 1989–1992 ( divorced)
**Sued for slander, case settled in 1994
* Sharon Lepore
**Marriage dates: 1976–1984 (divorced)
* Alene Akins, former "
**Second marriage dates: 1967–1972 (divorced)
***Daughter, Chaia (b. 1967)
**First marriage dates: 1961–1963 (divorced)
***Adopted son, Andy King (from Akins' first marriage)
* Mickey Sutphin
**Marriage dates: 1963–1967 (divorced)
***Daughter, Kelly (Adopted by Sutphin's next husband)
****Currently estranged from King
* Frada Miller (married right after high school graduation)
**Marriage dates: 1952–? (annulled)
He has also had relationships with
Angie Dickinson(c. 1983 to c. 1988); Deanna Lund (1996–?) and Rama Fox (1992–1995).Fact|date=September 2008 He has another son, Larry King, Jr.(b. 1962), whose mother was not married to King.
Swing Vote" (2008) (Television cameo appearance)
Bee Movie" (2007)
Shrek the Third" (2007)
Mr. 3000" (2004)
The Stepford Wives" (2004)
Shrek 2" (2004)
John Q" (2002)
America's Sweethearts" (2001)
*"The Contender" (2000)
The Kid" (2000)
Enemy of the State" (1998)
Primary Colors" (1998)
The Jackal" (1997)
The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)
Open Season" (1996)
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story" (1993)
The Exorcist III" (1990)
Crazy People" (1990)
*"" (1989) (Special appearance)
* [http://www.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/king.larry.html CNN profile]
* [http://www.lkcf.org/ Larry King Cardiac Foundation]
* [http://www.saveaheartaday.org Save a Heart a Day]
* [http://www.johnclarkprose.com/cat-my-larry-kingcnn-suit.html Clark lawsuit]
*imdb name|id=0005092|name=Larry King
* [http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/lkl.html Larry King Live] - Transcripts of all interviews since 2000
* [http://www.mataweb.com/Video%20Interviews.html] Larry interviewed by
* [http://www.newyorktimesbestsellerlist.org/reviews/larry-king Interview of Larry King]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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