Larry King, long-time CNN talk show host of “Larry King Live,” died from a sepsis infection in a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 87 on Jan. 23, 2021.
King’s career took off in 1957 on the radio. Over the course of six decades, he grew to be more popular and gained status on his nationwide call-in radio show “The Larry King Show” starting in 1978. In 1985, he worked at CNN with his own show “Larry King Live,” which aired over 6,000 episodes until it ended in 2010 following his retirement from the network. His most recent show was “Politicking With Larry King,” which was a weekly political talk show that aired in 2013.
For the 25 years on “Larry King Live,” he interviewed anyone from everyday people to presidential candidates, from former presidents Ford and Obama to the Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. He became an iconic host through the interviews he conducted and awards he won, and was known globally for his talent.
Besides his notable career in broadcasting, King guest-starred in shows “30 Rock” and “Gravity Falls” as well as had cameos in “Ghostbusters” and “Bee Movie.”
King battled many health challenges in recent years, with the most recent being hospitalization for COVID-19 in December of 2020. He battled and won against heart attacks, diabetes, cancer (twice) and quintuple bypass surgery. Though he endured much in his life, his one goal was to spread information to the public. Following a heart attack in 1987, King founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, a non-profit that pays for life-saving cardiac procedures for those who cannot afford it.
King’s legacy lives on. He was a professional in his field and had the chance to interview people that other journalists never could. During his shows, he asked the often difficult questions that audiences wanted to hear. Because a lot of viewers came directly from different media outlets, his viewership was often low; despite that, he reflected on and shaped the broadcasting industry. One thing he emphasized was the importance of listening.
When discussing his interview style, he said, “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.”
King also paved the way for Generation Z to take action on issues that matter, one of them being climate change. He hoped for nothing more than for young people to be motivated and inspired to change their inherited world.
Larry King’s legacy will live on for generations. His emphasis on the importance of listening is one that everyone can learn from. As King put it, “eloquently listening” would be a step in the right direction in today’s world.
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