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For 50 Years, He Was an On-Air 'Everyman.' Now, a Final Signoff

Legendary broadcaster Larry King dead at 87; no cause of death given, but he'd been battling COVID
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2021 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars, and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. His son Chance King confirmed the death to CNN. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalized with COVID-19, per the AP. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates, and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity he brought to every interview.

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Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews, welcoming everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Especially after he relocated from DC to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news. King was also known for his many marriages: He was married eight times, to seven different women. King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview, and his nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. "I don't pretend to know it all," he said in a 1995 AP interview. "Not, 'What about Geneva or Cuba?' I ask, 'Mr. President, what don't you like about this job?' Or 'What's the biggest mistake you made?' That's fascinating." King had five children, two of whom died last year. Much more on King's life here.

(Read more Larry King stories.)

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