The Story Of Larry King

The Story Of Larry King

CNN’s no.1 Talk Show Host Larry King speaks on his rise to success.

Larry King (born November 19, 1933) is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards. He began as a local Florida journalist and radio interviewer in the 1950s and 1960s and became prominent as an all-night national radio broadcaster starting in 1978. From 1985-2010, he hosted the nightly interview TV program Larry King Live on CNN, a network for which he continues to host specials.

King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, New York City, to an Austrian immigrant Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner and defense plant worker, and his wife Jennie Gitlitz, a garment worker, who emigrated from Belarus. King grew up in a religiously observant Jewish home, but in adulthood became an agnostic.
King’s father died at 44 of heart disease, and his mother had to go on welfare to support her two sons. His father’s death greatly affected King, and he lost interest in school. After graduating from high school, he worked to help support his mother. From an early age, however, he had wanted to go into radio. King is a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A CBS staff announcer, whom King met by chance, told him to go to Florida, a growing media market where openings still existed for inexperienced broadcasters. King rode a bus to Miami. After initial setbacks, King persisted and got his first job in radio. The manager of a small station, WAHR (now WMBM) in Miami Beach, hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. When one of their announcers quit, they put King on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, when he worked as the disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid $55 a week. He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager Martial Cemen said that Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember, so Larry chose the surname King, which he got from an ad in The Miami Herald for King’s Wholesale Liquor, minutes before air. He started interviewing on a midmorning show for WIOD, at Pumpernik’s Restaurant in Miami Beach. He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernik’s as a result of coming across King’s show on his radio; Darin became King’s first celebrity interview guest.

His Miami radio show launched him to local stardom. A few years later, in May 1960, he hosted Miami Undercover, airing Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WPST-TV Channel 10 (now WPLG). On the show, he moderated debates on important issues of the time. King credits his success on local TV to the assistance of another showbiz legend, comedian Jackie Gleason, whose national TV variety show was being filmed in Miami Beach during this period. “That show really took off because Gleason came to Miami,” King said in a 1996 interview he gave when inducted into the Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. “He did that show and stayed all night with me. We stayed till five in the morning. He didn’t like the set, so we broke into the general manager’s office and changed the set. Gleason changed the set, he changed the lighting, and he became like a mentor of mine.” Jackie Gleason was instrumental in getting Larry a hard-to-get on air interview with Frank Sinatra during this time.
During this period, WIOD gave King further exposure as a color commentator for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, during their 1970 season and most of their 1971 season. However, he was dismissed by both WIOD and television station WTVJ as a late-night radio host and sports commentator as of December 20, 1971, when he was arrested after being accused of grand larceny by a former business partner. Other staffers covered the Dolphins’ games into their 24–3 loss to Dallas in Super Bowl VI. King also lost his weekly column at the Miami Beach Sun newspaper. The charges were dropped on March 10, 1972, and King spent the next several years in reviving his career, including a stint as the color announcer in Louisiana for the Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League in 1974–75 on KWKH. Eventually, King was rehired by WIOD in Miami. For several years during the 1970s in South Florida, he hosted a sports talk-show called “Sports-a-la-King” that featured guests and callers. He is known for voice Doris in Shrek 2, Shrek The Third, and Shrek forever After,

Added on: February 14th, 2012

Category: INTERVIEWS

 
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