CNN President Jeff Zucker said, “We mourn the passing of our colleague Larry King. The scrappy young man from Brooklyn had a history-making career spanning radio and television. 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.”
“We are so proud of the 25 years he spent with CNN, where his newsmaker interviews truly put the network on the international stage,” Zucker said. “From our CNN family to Larry’s, we send our thoughts and prayers, and a promise to carry on his curiosity for the world in our work.”
Larry King asks Mac Miller where he will be in 10 years😔🕊️ pic.twitter.com/wknhdCWyCs
— RapTV (@raptvcom) January 23, 2021
In 2019, he suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk on his left foot, and he was sometimes seen using a wheelchair afterwards.
On Jan. 2, King was hospitalised for COVID-19 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a source close to the King family told ABC News.
“I never thought I’d be 86,” King told Page Six at the time. “My father died when he was 43, 44. I thought I would die too.”
“I have no complaints. Everything that’s happened to me, I’m grateful for,” he told the publication. “Maybe that sounds cliché, but I’m really, really grateful.”
The award-winning newsman was known for his gravel baritone, signature suspenders and straight-forward questions, a style honed over the course of tens of thousands of interviews on the radio and television.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, the Brooklyn native wanted to be on the radio from a young age. After graduating high school, he got his first radio job in Florida in the 1950s. He got his first break on-air in Miami — and became known by the moniker Larry King, which is now his legal name.
In 1978, he began hosting “The Larry King Show,” a national radio program on Mutual Broadcasting System that he helmed until stepping down in 1994.
During that time, he also made the move to TV. He hosted the CNN program “Larry King Live” from 1985 to 2010. Oprah Winfrey notably endorsed Barack Obama on the show during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In recent years, King hosted “Larry King Now” on Hulu, RT American and Ora TV, a production company King co-founded with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in 2012. He was also hosting “Politicking with Larry King” on the channels until his death.
Over the course of his long, illustrious career, King has not been immune to controversy. In 2019, he unknowingly filmed a Chinese propaganda infomercial in a fake interview with a Russian journalist, as reported by ProPublica. “I never should have done it, obviously,” King told the publication.
King has also authored several books, done voice work in TV shows and movies, including “Shrek 2” and “Bee Movie,” and appeared in films such as “Ghostbusters.”
In 1988, a year after he survived a heart attack, the newsman founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those with heart disease pay for their medical treatment.
A lifelong Dodgers fan, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, King was often seen behind home plate at Dodgers Stadium.
King was married eight times to seven women and had five children. In August, he revealed that two of his children died within weeks of each other. Andy, 65, died of a heart attack on July 28, and Chaia, 51, passed away on Aug. 20 shortly after a lung cancer diagnosis.
He is survived by his sons, Larry, Chance and Cannon, as well as nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.