Award-winning TV veteran Larry King died aged 87, his son Chance said this past weekend. The longtime CNN host died at the Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his son said. King spent 63 years with different news and entertainment shows. King suffered from poor health and was hospitalized late last month after contracting COVID-19.
In 2017, King said he was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent surgery. Two years later he underwent another procedure for angina. King was with CNN for 25 years and hosted the “Larry King Live” show. It first aired in 1985 and ended in 2010 upon King’s retirement. Throughout his television career King was recognized for his many interviews with influential people, politicians and entertainment stars.
His CNN show held political debates and discussed important social topics. Media experts said King’s show was popular because of its nonconfrontational, curios style.
Former New York Daily News writer David Hinckley wrote in a tribute to King that the Peabody award winner had the ability to get publicity-shy people to talk.
One example was the late entertainer and singer Prince interviewed by King in 1999. Prince revealed Stevie Wonder was his inspiration at the beginning of his career.
King also snagged an interview with Frank Sinatra in 1988. It was to be Sinatra’s last important TV appearance before his death a decade later. King and Sinatra were friends.
King had a big role in the political campaigns of several U.S. presidents.
In a tribute in The Guardian, Mark Lawson said “King’s nearest equivalent in broadcasting history is Sir David Frost.” Lawson said a “studio ‘sit down’ ” with either Frost or King “became a rite of passage for any politician seeking the U.S. presidency.”
King interviewed every U.S. president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama. For the final night of “Larry King Live” Obama sent in a recorded message saying King “opened our eyes to the world.”
Among the most memorable was King’s interview with comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Other notable guests included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lady Gaga, former U.S. President Donald Trump, The Beatles’ Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, O.J. Simpson and activist Rosa Parks.