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TV, radio journalism royalty Larry King dies

23 Jan 2021 21:42, Somoy English Desk
TV, radio journalism royalty Larry King dies
TV, radio journalism royalty Larry King dies

Larry King, the radio and television personality whose breezy and at times conversational interviews with celebrities and world leaders made him a broadcasting icon for nearly half a century, has died, his TV production company Ora Media said in a statement Saturday. He was 87.

The statement said he had been receiving treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, reports NBC News.

It did not specify the cause of death, but King was recently hospitalized with Covid-19 and had endured health problems for many years, including a near-fatal stroke in 2019 and diabetes.

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

Paying tribute to King in a statement, CNN President Jeff Zucker said the "scrappy young man from Brooklyn" had a history-making career due to "his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him."

Over a nearly 60-year career that spanned radio, cable television and the internet, the Brooklyn, New York City, native estimated that he conducted more than 50,000 interviews — not one of which he prepared for in advance.

But that off-the-cuff style, along with his raspy baritone delivery and trademark suspenders, made "Larry King Live" a popular prime-time draw on CNN from 1985 through 2010.

It was a run that helped build the cable news network into a major presence in American living rooms.

"I'm not confrontational, I'm not there to hammer the guests. … I ask good questions, I listen to the answers, I follow up," King told The Young Turks in a 2014 interview. "I would have been uncomfortable pointing my finger at the president of the United States."

However, King would say in 2019 that after being personally familiar with then-President Donald Trump for years, "This Donald is not the Donald I knew."

Even though he wouldn't meticulously prepare for interviews like the famed television journalist Barbara Walters, the rich and famous clearly were comfortable answering his questions. The actor Marlon Brando, a legendary recluse, gave a rare interview to King in 1994 because he said the host was "unexploitative.”

"There was a sense that his interviews were like conversations that could be had over a plate of meatloaf," Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told NBC News.

That type of approach occasionally became a recipe for disaster — such as the 2007 interview with Jerry Seinfeld, who took King to task for not knowing that he, not the network, ended his famous sitcom, "Seinfeld," after a highly rated nine-year run.

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