Larry King, legendary talk show host, dies at 87

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Larry King, the longtime CNN host who became an icon through his interviews with countless newsmakers and his sartorial sensibilities, has died. He was 87.King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for over 25 years, interviewing presidential candidates, celebrities, athletes, movie stars and everyday people. He retired in 2010 after taping more than 6,000 episodes of the show.

A statement was posted on his verified Facebook account announcing his passing. His son, Chance, confirmed King’s death Saturday morning.

“With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,” the statement said.

“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 did not give a cause of death.

The statement did not give a cause of death.

King had been hospitalised with Covid-19 in late December at Cedars-Sinai, a source close to the family said at the time.He battled a number of health problems over the years, suffering several heart attacks.

In 1987, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery, inspiring him to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to provide assistance to those without insurance.

More recently, King revealed in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and successfully underwent surgery to treat it.

He also underwent a procedure in 2019 to address angina.

King also suffered a personal loss last year when two of his adult children died within weeks of each other: Andy King, 65, suffered a heart attack and daughter Chaia King, 52, died after being diagnosed with lung cancer. King is survived by three sons.

In an era filled with star newsmen, King was a giant — among the most prominent questioners on television and a host to presidents, movie stars and world-class athletes.

With an affable, easygoing demeanour that distinguished him from more intense TV interviewers, King perfected a casual approach to the Q&A format, always leaning forward and listening intently to his guests, rarely interrupting.

“I’ve never learned anything,” King was fond of saying,”while I was talking.”

CNN President Jeff Zucker on Saturday acknowledged King’s role in raising the network profile around the world.

“We mourn the passing of our colleague Larry King,” he said in a statement.

The scrappy young man from Brooklyn had a history-making career spanning radio and television.

‘His curiosity about the world propelled his award-winning career in broadcasting, but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him.

‘We are so proud of the 25 years he spent with CNN, where his newsmaker interviews truly put the network on the international stage.

From our CNN family to Larry’s, we send our thoughts and prayers, and a promise to carry on his curiosity for the world in our work.”

For that quarter-century, King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN, a span that was highlighted by more than 30,000 interviews, including every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama, and thousands of phone calls from viewers.

Wendy Walker, his longtime executive producer on the show, said King treated all of his interview subjects the same — from heads of state to ordinary Americans.

“The one thing he loved was being in front of that camera,” she said. “He was a very interesting man but that one hour a day, when those lights came on, he was just perfect. He treated every guest the same. It didn’t matter if it was a president or somebody just off the street.”King was known for not spending time preparing for interviews, preferring instead to let his natural curiosity guide the conversations, Walker said.

“Probably that was the hardest part of our job — trying to prepare him because he never wanted to be prepared,” she recalled.

“He read all day long and watched the news, so he was really informed but he really just wanted to hear his guests talk and then come up with his questions.”

The show made King one of the faces of the network, and one of the most famous television journalists in the country.

His column in USA Today, which ran for nearly 20 years until 2001, showcased King’s distinct style in print, inviting readers down a trail of non-sequiturs that served as a window into his mind.

CNN

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