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Larry King

Larry KingAKA Lawrence Harvey Zeiger

Born: 19-Nov-1933
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Talk Show Host

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Larry King Live

Larry King was for decades one of America's most popular talk show hosts, first on local radio, then nationally syndicated radio, and for decades Larry King Live aired live in prime time on TV's CNN. His parents were Russian immigrants, and he grew up in Brooklyn, where Sandy Koufax was a childhood chum. He started working as a janitor and gopher at a Miami Beach radio station in 1957, and first went on the air when one of their announcers quit without notice.

In 1971, he was arrested for grand larceny, and pleaded no contest to passing a bad check. The particulars remain muddled and unproven, but it's alleged that King tried to sell his influence with Richard M. Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell to a convicted stock swindler named Louis Wolfson. After these odd events he was off the air for a few years, and worked as an announcer at a race track.

In 1978, he started his nationally syndicated Larry King Show on Mutual Radio, and in 1985 he joined CNN, with a similar format of yakking with celebrities and newsmakers, then taking calls from the public. On the air, he wore suspenders and black-rimmed glasses, and always came across as a nice guy. King preferred to ask what he called "human questions", not "press-conference questions", and characterized himself as an "interviewer", not a journalist. He often explained that he did not prepare for interviews, though that was obvious to viewers. Not preparing, he said, led him to ask more "honest" questions fine when he was interviewing Kirsten Dunst or Stephen King, but a rather tedious disservice when interviewing politicians and policymakers, who knew the questions would be softball.

From 1982 to 2001, King wrote a regular column for USA Today, consisting of just a sentence or two on one subject dot-dot-dot and then a sentence or two on the next subject dot-dot-dot, in apparent homage to gossip columnist Herb Caen. It made Entertainment Tonight seem like serious journalism by comparison, and the column was perfectly parodied in The Onion:

The Amish make fine houses... I wish Freddie Prinze was alive today so we could both laugh... Some of the most beautiful women in the world work in diners... Sex after 60 may be a challenge, but I like challenges... If I had four awards to give, I would give them all to the Golden Girls...
In 2001, announcing that the column would be discontinued, a USA Today press release explained that they wanted the paper to be "trendier, newsier and to have greater impact than it has now". He stepped down from his CNN post in 2010, after 25 years on television.

At last count, King had five children from his seven marriages to six women.

Father: Eddie Zeiger (restauranteur; b. 1900, d. 1944)
Mother: Jennie Zeiger (garment worker; d. 1976)
Brother: Irwin Zeiger (b. 1926, d. 1932)
Brother: Marty Zeiger
Wife: Frada Miller (high school girlfriend, m. 1953, annulled 1953)
Wife: Alene Akins (Playboy bunny; m. 1961, div. 1963, m. 1968, div. 1971)
Wife: Mickey Sutphin (m. 1964, div. 1967)
Wife: Sharon Lepore (math teacher; m. 1976, div. 1983)
Girlfriend: Angie Dickinson (actress, dated mid-1980s)
Girlfriend: Katie Couric (talk show host, briefly dated in late 1980s)
Wife: Julia Alexander (m. 1989, div. 1992)
Girlfriend: Rama Fox (minister; engaged 1992, broke up 1994)
Girlfriend: Deanna Lund (engaged 1995; broke up 1995)
Wife: Shawn Southwick (TV personality; m. 5-Sep-1997, two sons)
Son: Chance (b. 1999)
Son: Cannon (b. 2001)

    High School: Lafayette High School, Brooklyn, NY

    CNN (1985-2010)
    USA Today Columnist (1982-2001)
    Academy of Achievement (1996)
    Afghanistan World Foundation Celebrity Committee
    America-Israel Friendship League Board of Directors
    Friars Club Abbot
    Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6616 Hollywood Blvd (television)
    Radio Hall of Fame
    Endorsement of Hilton Hotels 1999
    Bankruptcy 1971
    Heart Attack 1987
    Heart Bypass Operation 1987
    Angioplasty Sep-1997
    Roast: Bob Schieffer (2004)
    Grand Theft (grand larceny) Miami, FL 20-Dec-1971
    Visited Disneyland MLB All-Star Parade (13-Jul-2010)
    Camp: Surprise Lake
    Russian Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Diabetes, Smoking

    TELEVISION
    Larry King Live Host (1985-2010)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story (25-Jul-2010) · Himself
    Shrek Forever After (21-Apr-2010) · Doris [VOICE]
    Swing Vote (20-May-2008) · Himself
    Bee Movie (28-Oct-2007) [VOICE]
    Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (13-Oct-2007) · Himself
    Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains (7-Sep-2007) · Himself
    Shrek the Third (17-May-2007) [VOICE]
    A Perfect Day (18-Dec-2006) · Himself
    The Last Mogul: The Life and Times of Lew Wasserman (19-Mar-2005) · Himself
    Mr. 3000 (8-Sep-2004) · Himself
    The Stepford Wives (6-Jun-2004) · Himself
    Shrek 2 (15-May-2004) · Ugly Stepsister [VOICE]
    Marilyn's Man (23-Apr-2004) · Himself
    John Q (15-Feb-2002) · Himself
    America's Sweethearts (17-Jul-2001) · Himself
    The Contender (10-Sep-2000) · Himself
    The Kid (25-Jun-2000) · Himself
    Enemy of the State (16-Nov-1998) · Himself
    Bulworth (15-May-1998) · Himself
    Primary Colors (20-Mar-1998) · Himself
    The Jackal (14-Nov-1997) · Himself
    An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (29-Sep-1997) · Himself
    Contact (11-Jul-1997) · Himself
    The Long Kiss Goodnight (11-Oct-1996) · Himself
    Open Season (3-May-1996) · Himself
    We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (24-Nov-1993) · Himself [VOICE]
    Dave (7-May-1993) · Himself
    The Exorcist III (17-Aug-1990) · Himself
    Crazy People (13-Apr-1990) · Himself
    Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (18-Aug-1989)
    Ghostbusters (8-Jun-1984) · Himself

Rotten Library Page:
Larry King

Author of books:
Larry King (1982, memoir, with Emily Yoffe)
Tell Me More (1990, memoir, with Peter Occhiogrosso)
When You're from Brooklyn, Everything Else is Tokyo (1992, memoir, with Marty Appel)
On the Line: The New Road to the White House (1993)
My Remarkable Journey (2009, memoir, with Cal Fussman)


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