Larry King, the renowned CNN journalist and radio host has died at 87. Though his cause of death has not been confirmed, he was hospitalized with COVID-19 at the beginning of 2021. Though he is no longer with us, King’s legacy, as a self-made man from Brooklyn won’t soon be forgotten.
King once had a very awkward moment with Jerry Seinfeld during an interview about his TV show.
Larry King earned his credentials by working his way up
Born in Brooklyn amid the Great Depression, King was mostly raised by his single mother after his father died from a heart attack when he was just 9-years-old. To make ends meet, King’s mother, a garment worker, relied on government assistance. The talk show host was deeply affected by his father’s death and soon lost interest in school.
Following his graduation from Lafayette High School, King worked to help support his mother, and after a chance meeting with a CBS employee, decided to move to Miami in an attempt to break into radio broadcasting.
Though he was initially hired at a small radio station, WAHR (now WMBM), to clean and run errands, he was thurst onto the airwaves when an announcer abruptly quit. King’s very first broadcast was at age 24 on May 1, 1957. From there, he soared, never having gone to college or taken a journalism class. He hosted the first national radio talk show in America and, later, Larry King Live on CNN from June 1, 1985, until Dec. 18, 2010.
Larry King interviewed 50,000 people during his career
Over the course of his lengthy career, King interviewed some 50,000 people, and he became known as the question and answer man. The Emmy Award winner was known for preparing very little for his interviews and keeping his questions short and to the point, which he was often criticized for.
“I’m basically who, what, where, when, why,” he said in a 2010 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. “I try to ask questions that only take one or two sentences; if it takes three sentences, it’s a bad question.
He continued, “I don’t show off. I don’t use the word ‘I,’ it’s irrelevant in an interview. It’s only done to say what you’re thinking. If you see an interviewer who says, ‘I was wondering,’ or ‘Let me ask you this,’ it’s hysterical to me because that’s what they’re there for. I’ve never gone on the air with the idea to embarrass a guest or build-up or build down a guest. I’m there to learn.”
Larry King once left Jerry Seinfeld speechless
King’s quick questions once stunned comedian Jerry Seinfield. During an interview, the radio personality asked the actor if his long-running sitcom Seinfeld had been canceled by NBC. “You gave it up, right? They didn’t cancel you? You canceled them,” King asked
Seinfeld was floored, “You’re not aware of this? You think I got canceled? You’re under the impression I got canceled? I thought that was pretty well documented.”
As it turns out, the comedian was begged by NBC to do just one more season of the series, he was even offered $5 million per episode, but he wanted to go out on top, so he turned it down. “When I went off the air, I was the No. 1 show on television, Larry,” he said. “Do you know who I am? Seventy-five million viewers [for] the last episode.”
King never missed a beat responding, “Have I hurt you, Jerry?”
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