split-screen-content-header__hed” data-testid=”ContentHeaderHed”>Larry King Has Died at Age 87
The TV and radio host had a career spanning six decades, and was for years one of the most famous interviewers in the world.
January 23, 2021
By Kimberly Butler/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images.
Larry King, the legendary TV and radio host whose most famous program ran for a quarter of a century on CNN, has died from at the age of 87 in Los Angeles. King’s Twitter account announced the news but did not disclose a cause of death; in early January, CNN reported that King had been hospitalized with COVID-19.
King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn in 1933. He got his start as a broadcaster in the then-burgeoning market of Miami, Florida in 1957, nabbing his first job at a small station called WAHR—where he decided to call himself “Larry King” minutes ahead of his first broadcast, after being told that his given name was not broadcast-friendly. King later became a columnist for The Miami Herald, and made his national debut in 1978 on a nightly Mutual Broadcasting System radio show, The Larry King Show. In 1982, he won his first Peabody award and published his first column in USA Today.
But King’s best known program was on television: Larry King Live, which aired on CNN from 1985 to 2010, and found King interviewing guests ranging from Vladimir Putin, to Oprah Winfrey, to conspiracy theorists. His total interview count is in the tens of thousands. Since 2013, King has hosted Politicking with Larry King, which airs on the Russian-owned RT America and streams on Hulu. The image of King in front of his memorable CNN map backdrop, bespectacled and always in suspenders, will likely be indelible for those who grew up with his program. King helped establish CNN in its early days, and remained for decades one of the most recognizable faces at the network—even if his predilection for softball questions seems somewhat incongruous with the network’s more confrontational approach today.
Equally memorable is King’s long list of awards and accolades. In 2011, he was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the News and Documentary Emmys. He holds two Peabody awards—one for The Larry King Show in 1982, and another he received for Larry King Live Election Coverage 1992 a decade later. He also holds 10 Cable ACE awards and has been inducted into both the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
King was married eight times to seven women, most recently to Shawn Southwick, whom he divorced in 2019. From those marriages, King has five children: Cannon, Chance, Danny, Chaia, Kelly, and Larry Jr.