Interview King, American broadcast star Larry King, who passed away on Saturday at 87, spent more than 60 years behind a microphone, and his show on CNN, which ran from 1985 to 2010, had become a staple obliged for politicians and celebrities.
From Yasser Arafat to Vladimir Poutin, who immediately saluted his memory, via Hillary Clinton, Marlon Brando or even the quidams who made the news, Larry King has conducted more than 40,000 interviews since 1958.
It is the company he co-founded, Ora Media, which announced on Saturday with “deep sadness” his death in Los Angeles.
She did not specify the cause, but Larry King had been admitted to hospital after contracting COVID-19, CNN reported earlier this month.
“For 63 years on radio, television and digital media, Larry’s thousands of interviews and awards and worldwide recognition are testament to his unique talent as a man of media,” said added Ora Media.
Larry King had spoken with every president since Gerald Ford, either after their terms or before, as was the case with George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. It was at home that Jacques Chirac announced in 1995 the reduction in the number of French nuclear tests in the Pacific.
CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour praised “an audiovisual giant”, while Vladimir Poutine praised his “great professionalism”.
During the 25 years of his show, the atmosphere on the set was invariably warm, almost intimate, even complacent: “I’m not interested in making people uncomfortable”, he explained in 1995 to the AFP.
In the same interview, he did not claim to be a journalist, but as an “infotainer”, derived from “infotainment”, mixing information and “entertainment”, entertainment.
The keen eyes behind big glasses, and with a very personal banter, Larry King, still in shirt sleeves, was easily recognizable by his multicolored ties and suspenders.
His real name Larry Zeiger, the Jewish child from Brooklyn born on November 19, 1933 to Russian immigrant parents, was orphaned at the age of ten. Affected by this death, he no longer made an effort at school and never went to university.
However, he dreams of a career in radio and goes to Florida to try his luck.
He thus became a disc jockey in a Miami radio station and changed his name to “King”, the station manager considering his name as “too ethnic”.
The new radio host often records in a restaurant, inviting passers-by to his microphone.
In 1978, he left Florida for Washington where he launched a national radio talk show, then for local television. The CNN channel spotted it and included it in its night programs in 1985.
When celebrating his forty-year career in 1997, he said he was “proud” of his success gained through a simple recipe. “I’m curious. I ask interesting questions. I am not here to embarrass (my guests), I have always liked to make the hosts relax ”.
Every evening, the ritual was the same then: usually from his Washington studio, with the city lights in the background, Larry King would chat casually with his host, before in the second part, he answered the questions. phone questions from around the world. The show was broadcast six nights a week, transmitted to more than 200 countries and territories.
At the height of his success, Larry King gathered more than a million viewers every night, making him the star of cable channels and allowing him to negotiate a salary of over $ 7 million annually.
Yet in 2010, with a loss of ratings, Larry King left the Ted Turner channel. He continued his interviews on his own website before signing for the public channel Russia Today (RT) in 2013.
Married eight times to seven different women, the octogenarian had five children.