Larry King – Death, Career & Facts

TV and radio host Larry King, known for his straight to the point interviewing technique, hosted ‘Larry King Live’ for 25 years.

Who Was Larry King?

Larry King was born November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1978 he started a nightly coast-to-coast radio talk show, The Larry King Show, on the Mutual Radio Network. This work caught the attention of Ted Turner, who hired King to host his own talk show, Larry King Live, on CNN in 1985. In 2010, King announced he’d be ending his reign as host after 25 years.

Early Life

Born as Lawrence Harvey Zeiger on November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, King was the child of Jewish immigrants Edward Zeiger, a bar owner, and Jennie Gitlitz, a garment worker. When King was 9 years old, his father died of heart disease at the age of 44. King’s mother had to go on welfare to support him and his younger brother, Marty. From an early age, King dreamed of a career in radio, but his father’s death greatly affected his emotional stability, causing him to lose interest in school. He barely finished high school, and had little prospect of having a steady career. At this time, he went to work as a mail clerk to help support his mother.

Radio Career

A chance meeting with a CBS television announcer set King on the pathway to a career in radio. The announcer told him to go to Florida, a state with a growing media market that was hiring inexperienced broadcasters. King got his first break on Miami radio station WAHR (now WMBM) in Miami Beach. Initially, the job was to clean up the station and perform odd jobs. But when one of their male announcers quit in May of 1957, King was put on to replace him. He must have impressed his manager, because King was immediately put on the 9:00 AM to noon shift. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. Doing all this while receiving a $55 a week salary made the young King feel he was fulfilling his long-time dream.

Television Career

In December 1971, King was charged with grand larceny by a former business partner, which immediately led to the loss of his broadcast and newspaper jobs. He was acquitted of all charges in 1972 but was deeply in debt and publicly disgraced. Over the next several years he worked to rebuild his career, writing magazine articles and working in West Coast radio. By the late 1970s, the incident had blown over, and he was able to return to Miami broadcasting. He was rehired by WIOD in 1978, starting a nightly coast-to-coast talk show, The Larry King Show, on the Mutual Radio Network. The show featured guest interviews and call-ins from the listening audience and became very successful, growing to over 500 affiliate stations. This work caught the attention of media mogul Ted Turner, who hired King to host his own talk show on the then-fledgling Cable News Network (CNN) in 1985.

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