King has hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for over 25 years, visiting presidential candidates, celebrities, athletes, movie stars and everyday people. He retired in 2010 after tapping more than 6,000 episodes of the show.
A statement was placed announcing his statement on his verified Facebook account. His son, Chance, confirmed King’s death Saturday morning.
“With deep grief, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at the age of 87 at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,” the statement said.
“For over 63 years and on radio, television and digital media platforms, Larry has bequeathed many thousands of interviews, awards and testimonials for his unique and enduring talent as a global acclaim broadcaster.”
The statement did not give a cause of death.
He fought many health problems
Over the years he has struggled with a number of health problems, including multiple heart attacks. In 1987, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery, prompting him to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to provide assistance to uninsured people.
Most recently, King announced in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and had successfully undergone surgery to treat it. He also took action to address Angina in 2019.
He interviewed every president from Ford to Obama
In an age filled with star newsmen, King was a giant – the host of the most famous questioners and presidents on television, movie stars and world class athletes.
With a loving, easy-going attitude that set him apart from the more intense TV interviewers, King accomplished a contingent approach in the Q&A format, always leaning forward and listening intently to his guests, barely interrupting.
“I never learned anything,” King was fond of saying, “while I was talking.”
News of King’s death “felt like a punch to the gut,” CNN founder Ted Turner said in a statement.
“Larry was one of my closest and dearest friends and I think he was the greatest broadcast journalist in the world,” he said. “If someone asks me what the biggest accomplishments of my career in life have been, one is the creation of CNN, and the other is hiring Larry King. Like many people who worked with Larry and they knew, he’s the perfect professional, for many. He was an amazing mentor. And a good friend to all. The world has lost a true legend. “
CNN President Jeff Zucker on Saturday acknowledged King’s role in raising the network’s profile around the world.
“We mourn the passing of our colleague Larry King,” he said in a statement.
“Brooklyn’s troubled youth had a career making history on radio and television. His curiosity about the world led to his award-winning career in broadcasting, but it was his generosity of spirit that led him to the world. Her newsmaker interviews really put the network on the international stage. From our CNN family to Larry, we send our thoughts and prayers, and promise to further her curiosity for the world in our work. “
Until that quarter-century, King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN, which was published by more than 30,000 interviews, including thousands of phone calls from every sitting president, from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.
On the show, her longtime executive producer, Wendy W. Kare, said King treated all of her interview subjects – from heads of state to ordinary Americans alike.
“One thing she liked was that she was in front of the camera,” he said. “He was a very interesting man but one hour of the day, when the lights came on, he was just perfect. He treated every guest the same. Whether he was a president or someone off the street.”
King was known for not spending time preparing for interviews, instead of letting his natural curiosity guide the conversation, Walker said.
“Maybe that was the hardest part of our job – trying to get him ready because he never wanted to be ready.” “He reads and watches the news all day, so he was really informed but he really wants to hear from his guests and then come up with his questions.”
The show made King a face of the network, and made him the most famous television journalist in the country. His article in USA Today, which ran for nearly 20 years in 2001, showcases King’s distinctive style in print, inviting readers to draw under the non-sequencers that act as windows in their minds.
King wrote in a 1992 column, “The weakest player in the NFL this year was Desmond Howard of Washington … Whatever you think of Lawrence Walsh, we will always need a special lawyer because the government cannot investigate itself.” Wrote in a 1992 column.
That music, combined with its unpredictable appearance – oversized glasses, always present suspenders – made King perfect for caricature. In the 1990s, he was featured on “Saturday Night Live” by Norm Mac MacDonald, who aired a USA Today column with Spot on No Impong.
Putting aside the jokes, King’s influence is evident in the pay generation of podcasters today who have imitated – whether intentionally or not – their conversational approach to interviews.
“A good interview – you know more than you did before you started. You should change some of your opinions and come away,” King told the Los Angeles Times in 2018. “You should definitely entertain – the interviewer is also an entertainer.”
He began his media career as a disc jockey
Born on November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, Lawrence Harvey Zieger was raised by two Jewish immigrants. His mother, Jenny (Gitlitz) Ziger, was from Lithuania, while his father, Edward Ziger, was from Ukraine. Edward died of a heart attack when King was 10 years old, a memory King said he largely “blocked.”
Alone left to raise King and his younger brother Marty, whose zigzags were forced to move to Kalyan to support his children. Death had a profound effect on the King and his mother.
“Before his death, I would have been a good student, but later, I just stopped taking interest,” King told the Guardian in a 2015 interview. “It was a really big tweak for me. But in the end I let go of that anger because I wanted to make him and my mother proud.”
King said his father had a lot of influence on him, which instilled in him a sense of humor and sportsmanship. And no sport has been more captivating to King’s affection than baseball.
He became a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and continued to support the team after moving to Los Angeles. He was a fixture in the Dodder Stadium team’s home games, often seen behind the house plate in high-priced seats. In 2004, King aptly wrote a book, “Why I Love Besb Love.”
“He was a brazen dodgers fan, a baseball fan,” said Charlie Steiner, a longtime friend and Dodgers sportscaster. “And we’ll fight over what the Dodgers were doing and years later he was very disappointed when the Dodgers would fall short in the World Series when he won the Division. But this year he saw the Dodgers win the World Series. He was very happy with that.”
King’s media career began in 1957, when he took a job as a disc jockey at WAHR-AM in Miami. Only then did he decide to drop his surname.
“You can’t use Larry Zigger,” he said, calling his boss at the station. “It’s very ethnic. People can’t spell or remember it. You need a better name.”
King wrote in his 2009 autobiography, “It was good or bad that I didn’t have time to think about what my mother would say. I was up in the air in five minutes,” King wrote in his 2009 autobiography.
“The Miami Herald was spread out on his desk. The face-up was a full page ad for Kings Wholesale Liquors. The general manager looked down and said, ‘King! How about Larry King?’
The CNN show premiered in 1985
It was during this period that the king entered into what would become a string of failed marriages. His union with Frada Miller was canceled, and the dates of his second marriage to Annette Kay are not publicly available.
From 1961-63, King married Ellen Akins, with whom he remarried until 1967-71; Before remarrying, King divorced in 1966 and married Mickey Suffin in 1964.
King lived in Miami for years, eventually taking over as columnist for the Miami Herald in 1965. In 1971, he was arrested in Miami on charges of grand Larseni, which led to his suspension from the station and newspaper where he worked. Although the charges were dropped the following year, King was not re-employed, allowing him to equip Florida and move to Louisiana, where he worked as a freelance journalist.
By 1978, King had returned to Miami and WIOD, where he was employed at the time of his arrest. That same year, the syndicate “The Larry King Show” appeared as a late night radio show. It originally broadcasts in 28 cities; In five years, it had spread to 118 cities, serving as a springboard for fame. The show won the Peabody Award in 1982.
In 1985, “Larry King Live” premiered on CNN. On, which started a long and floor race, which included a number of high-profile interviews. During more than two decades of its airing, the show was regularly CNN’s most-watched show, and King was arguably the network’s biggest star.
King left CNN in 2011, a move he would expect to retire. But he continued to work until his death, hosting a program “Larry King Now” aired on Aura TV, Hulu and RT America. Raja, it seemed, never wanted the interview to end.
“I like what I do,” he said, “I like to ask questions, I like to be interviewed.”
CNN’s Sonia Tucker and David J. Lopez contributed to this report.