Legendary TV and radio host Larry King has died at the age of 87, according to a statement issued by Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded.
Earlier this month, King was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. On the morning of Jan. 23, King passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.
King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, NY on Nov. 19, 1933, began his career in radio at WAHR in Miami, FL. After getting his first opportunities on air in 1957, WAHR’s general manager insisted that he go by a different surname. At that time, he chose King after seeing a local ad for King’s Wholesale Liquor. Within two years, he legally changed his name to Larry King. His popularity as radio host eventually directed him to TV and other media.
In 1971, King faced criminal charges for grand larceny, allegedly for receiving stolen money. The charges ultimately led King to move into public relations and sports commentary until Jan. 30, 1978, when The Larry King Show was launched. The radio program was broadcast live Monday through Friday in 28 cities via the Mutual Broadcasting System. The call-in interview show grew in popularity over the years up until King stepped down in 1994.
Larry King Live, King's interview show on CNN, premiered in June 1985, leading King to conduct over 30,000 interviews with high-profile guests like every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, LeBron James, and many more. After 25 years on the air and more than 6,000 episodes, Larry King Live ended in 2010.
Following the end of his CNN show, King launched Larry King Now in 2012, which aired on multiple platforms. Other projects in recent years included PoliticKING with Larry King and In View with Larry King.
Throughout his career, King received two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, 10 Cable ACE Awards, and a number of other accolades. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.
Over the years, King dealt with a number of health problems, including multiple heart attacks, lung cancer, and a stroke. In 1987, he underwent a quintuple bypass surgery, which is what led him to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.
King was married eight times to seven women and had five children. In 1997, he married his last wife, Shawn Southwick. They filed for divorce in 2019, citing irreconcilable differences. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. King is survived by three sons.
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