'The King of Talk': Remembering Larry King
Larry King has died. He was 87 in a career that spanned 60 years. Larry King interviewed just about everybody. Reporter Jeff Lunden has this appreciation. With his trademark suspenders and his deep baritone voice tinged with a Brooklyn accent. Larry King spoke with Presidents George Bush is our honored guest for the full hour. Next on Larry King Live World leaders Moammar Qaddafi. The leader of the nation of Libya, celebrities, the brilliant Barbra Streisand, authors, scientists, comedians, athletes and on and on and on. I'm always engrossed in the guest. Larry King spoke with Jesse Thorn on the turnaround podcast in 2017. I'm always listening to the answer. I'm always learning, So I guess I'm better every day at learning. The Brooklyn born King actually was an indifferent student, but said he always had an innate curiosity when we would go to dodge it. All my friends wanted autographs at the injury. I never asked for an autograph, but I would walk with the players is they're going to their cars asking questions. Why'd you bunt? Why they do this in the third inning. My curiosity is still insatiable. King began his career is a DJ in Miami, and it's where he got his name is well. When a station manager told him his given surname, Zeiger was too ethnic. He chose King from a liquor ad in a newspaper. By the late 19 seventies, King had an overnight talk show on national radio. Then the 1985 Ted Turner hired him for his new network, CNN. Media commentator and author. Bill Carter, who's a CNN contributor, says the timing was perfect. Picking up something like Larry King may love sense because he had Establish himself kind of as a guy who could get big guests. They could have big names and promoted and became sort of the linchpin of their prime time lineup, and King stayed there for 25 years. Some critics complained that he was too chummy with celebrities and lob softball questions. It is guests. His strategy was I'm never gonna make the guests uncomfortable. And that means not only will they come back, but they'll tell their friends. He won't ask you about that ugly divorce of yours. You know, he'll ask you about your favorite movie, so he didn't challenge people, But he did get information. He was pretty good at that, like when he talked with ex President Richard Nixon. Well, I don't want to dwell in the Watergate thing that's been covered so well. But some personal things when you drive by Those collections of buildings. The hotel the two apartment houses the office building, You feel weird, funny. No, I never give it a thought. Never given a thought. Never given a thought. That's one place where you just don't look back. As far as Watergate is. I know you don't look up at the buildings themselves. Not at all. Not a matter of fact, I've never been in the Watergate. Larry King famously didn't do a lot of preparation before his interviews, the less I know. Better Now, That sounds strange to people. Like If you wrote a book. I wouldn't read the book for interview do because I would then know too much about the book and I'm in the same boat as the audience. They haven't read the book, but King knew the national zeitgeist. He covered the first O. J. Simpson trial every night, says Bill Carter. He basically started the cable monomania move. We're going to just cover this story. That's it In a way. It was perfect for life because it was celebrity oriented. It was in the news, but it was not political. Ultimately, CNN canceled King show because it wasn't political competition from Fox and MSNBC took its toll on the ratings. But King was a survivor. He was married eight times and had Quinn couple bypass surgery after a massive heart attack, and King took his talk show to streaming video and kept on working for NPR news. I'm Jeff Lunden in New York.