Legendary US talk show host Larry King, who hosted Larry King Live for 25 years, has died, aged 87.
He died in Los Angeles, four weeks after testing positive to coronavirus.
His official Twitter account posted, “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. 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.”
Called “the master of the mic” by Time magazine, his talk show Larry King Live ran for 25 years until 2010, interviewing newsmakers and celebrities, as well as talking calls and emails from viewers. Over the course of his career, King clocked more than 50,000 interviews, according to CNN, with guests ranging from U.S. presidents (every one from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama) and international figures such as the Dalai Lama and every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.
Among the celebrities were Marlon Brando, Snoop Dogg, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Seinfeld, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney.
In 1989, “The Guinness Book of World Records” credited King as having racked up more hours on national radio than any other talkshow host in US history.
He considered himself an interviewer rather than a journalist and famously did not prepare for interviews King “created the habit of tuning into cable at night,” said former CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein. “He made it OK to watch cable.”
Jeff Zucker, CNN chief and head of news and sports for WarnerMedia, said King’s show “put the network on the international stage.”
“The scrappy young man from Brooklyn had a history-making career spanning radio and television,” Zucker said. “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.”
King also made cameos in numerous films, including Ghostbusters, Dave, Primary Colors, Enemy of the State, America’s Sweethearts, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third plus Murphy Brown, Spin City, The Practice, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ugly Betty, The Closer, Big Love, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Simpsons and 30 Rock.
King had been hospitalised with COVID-19 since late December. He had suffered a number of health issues over the years, including having surgery for lung cancer in 2017 and quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, after which he established the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and wrote several books about heart disease. He suffered a heart attack in April 2019.
The statement announcing his death concluded: “Whether he was interviewing a US president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions.”