On January 23, 2021, legendary broadcaster and interviewer Larry King passed away at the age of 87. A true pioneer in the broadcasting world, King conducted over 30,000 interviews over the span of his 6 decade long career, earning the Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 for his contributions to the world of journalism.
Larry King, also known as Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, was born on November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. In his early 20’s, Zeiger moved to South Florida to work as a disc jockey. While working here, he changed his name from Lawence Harvey Zeiger to Larry King, since it was easier for his manager to remember . In 1978, King began hosting The Larry King Show, the radio show that would propel him to stardom for his easygoing and conversational interviewing skills. The Larry King Show remained on the air until 1994.
Larry King Live, King’s most well known accomplishment, premiered on CNN in 1985. Throughout the show’s 25 year run, King made a career of interviewing notable personalities; ranging from Frank Sinatra to the Dalai Lama, he interviewed a multitude of famed people. He also took the time to interview everyday people, allowing them to share their stories with the world. In addition to being the first live phone-in show to reach a global audience, Larry King Live became a forum for multiple historic moments on the political scene, including a famous debate between Vice President Al Gore and Ross Perot in 1993 . However, it wasn’t the high profile guests or the historic moments that kept the show running for so long; rather, it was Larry King’s respectful interviewing style and his ability to listen to his guests that made the show a success. According to King himself, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. I never learned anything while I was talking” . Larry King Live officially went off the air in 2010, as King desired to spend more time with his family. For the remainder of his life, King kept the interviews going on his program, Larry King Now, which aired on Hulu, Ora TV, and RT America .
Broadcasting will never be the same thanks to Larry King. Not only did he modernize conversational journalism, but he also demonstrated the importance of listening to one another, and giving every individual the platform to share their voice.