Iconic US TV-radio host Larry King dead at 87

Published January 24, 2021, 11:54 AM

by Agence France-Presse

LOS ANGELES, United States — The iconic talk show host Larry King, one of the most recognizable figures on US television as he interviewed everyone who was anyone over a career spanning 60 years, died Saturday at the age of 87.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 1, 2017, TV and radio interviewer Larry King attends Larry King’s 60th Broadcasting Anniversary Event at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rich Fury / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The company he co-founded, Ora Media, did not state a cause of death but media reports said King had been battling COVID-19 for weeks and had suffered several health problems in recent years.

King, with his trademark suspenders, black rim glasses and deep voice, was best known for a 25-year run as a talk show host on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

“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,” Ora Media said in a statement posted on Twitter.

King’s long list of interviewees included every US president since 1974, world leaders Yasser Arafat and Vladimir Putin and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and Barbra Streisand.

In an emotional last “Larry King Live” show in 2010, tributes, included one from President Barack Obama, who in a video message called King “one of the giants of broadcasting.”

Radio roots

Tributes from the media, politicians, and Hollywood stars poured in, led by Putin, who hailed the interviewer’s “great professionalism and unquestioned journalistic authority,” according to the Kremlin.

“The world has lost a true broadcasting legend,” CNN founder Ted Turner tweeted.

British TV hosts Piers Morgan and Craig Ferguson, both of whom have had shows in the US, paid tribute to King’s interviewing skills.

“Larry King was a hero of mine until we fell out after I replaced him at CNN & he said my show was ‘like watching your mother-in-law go over a cliff in your new Bentley.’ (He married 8 times so a mother-in-law expert),” said Morgan.

“But he was a brilliant broadcaster & masterful TV interviewer.”

Singer Celine Dion said King “made all of us feel as though we were speaking with a lifelong friend,” while basketball legend Magic Johnson said, “I loved being on the show.”