Veteran TV host Larry King dies, aged 87

Veteran TV host Larry King has died, aged 87.

Ora Media confirmed the media personality’s passing in a statement posted to King’s Twitter account.

“With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning aged 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles,” the statement reads.

While his cause of death has not been announced, the broadcaster had been hospitalised in ICU with COVID-19 just weeks ago. It’s not known if this contributed to his death.

RELATED: Larry King moved out of ICU after being hospitalised with coronavirus

King had previously survived a heart attack and a stroke (both in 2019), as well as prostate cancer (1999) and lung cancer (2017) and Type 2 diabetes.

Following a quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, he established the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and wrote several books about heart disease.

King was best-known for his 25-year stint as the host of Larry King Live — a prime-time interview show on CNN every weeknight, which ran from 1985 to 2010.

Millions tuned in to see the bespectacled host in his trade-mark rolled-up shirt sleeves interview celebrities and world leaders alike, while also taking phone calls from viewers.

The veteran TV host has been remembered for his interview style which earned him “global acclaim” across a decades-long career.

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” it Ora Media statement said.

It also described King as a journalist who “always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programmes, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience”.

“Whether he was interviewing a US president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions.

“He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”

King was awarded a News and Docu Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2011. While back in 1989, he entered The Guinness Book of World Records for having racked up more hours on national radio than any other talk-show host in history.

Over the course of his career, King clocked more than 50,000 interviews, according to CNN, with guests ranging from US presidents (every one from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama) and international figures such as the Dalai Lama to a long list of celebrities.

King also made cameos in numerous films, including Ghostbusters (1984), Dave (1993), Primary Colours, Enemy of the State (1998), America’s Sweethearts (2001), Shrek 2 (2004) and Shrek the Third (2007).

His TV appearances included Murphy Brown, Spin City, The Practice, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ugly Betty, The Closer, Big Love, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Simpsons and 30 Rock.

King is survived by his three sons Larry Jr., Chance and Cannon.

Tragically, two of his children — Andy and Chaia — died last year, within a month of each other.

Both children were from Larry’s 1961 marriage to Alene Atkins. The couple divorced and remarried in 1967, before divorcing again in 1971.

Larry and Chaia co-authored a children’s book titled Daddy Day, Daughter Day in 1997, recounting their experiences with the divorce.

King was famous for his many marriages, with eight unions to seven different women.

Shortly after his 2019 stroke, King filed for divorce from his wife of 22 years, actress Shawn Southwick-King.

RELATED: Larry King’s estranged wife Shawn King requesting $45k a month in spousal support

Speaking to People last February, the Emmy winner said 2019 had been “a rough year”.

“I don’t have any idea of what 2020 is going to be like. But I can still work and I can watch my kids grow up. I feel positive — and hopeful,” he told the publication at the time.

Born Lawrence Harvey Zeigler, King grew up in Brooklyn. He started his career as a media personality in Miami Beach, first as a disc jockey, then as host of interview shows and as a colour commentator for sportscasts. At the suggestion of a radio station general manager, he changed his name to make it more show-business friendly.

His local popularity led to other media gigs, including newspaper columns for the Miami Herald, the Miami News and the Miami Beach Sun-Reporter.

In 1971, however, King was arrested for grand larceny, accused of stealing from a business partner. The charges were dropped in 1972, but it was another four years before he was able to work regularly in broadcasting again.

In addition to his Lifetime Achievement Emmy, King also nabbed two Peabody Awards and 10 CableACE awards.

Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced in co-ordination with the family, who asked for privacy at this time.

– Reported with Variety.

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