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Larry King in a NYT profile and a few personal recollections about his CNN show
A wonderful bit of nostalgia today in the NYT Sunday Magazine profile about the iconic broadcaster named Lawrence Harvey Zeiger who began his career as a temporary host at a Miami radio station in 1957 before going on to become Larry King for a quarter century at CNN.
The first time I was on "Larry King Live" was in 1986. He had only been at CNN for a year. And the night I appeared to discuss my "Mengele" bio, King was on vacation and his replacement was Dick Cavett. Not a bad swap.
And over the years I got to talk to the real Larry King on everything from "Hitler's Children" to the untimely deaths of Michael Jackson and Princess Di. "Famed investigative journalist" was his intro for me, but then he seemingly had a superlative for just about every guest.
The great thing about being on his CNN show was that it was live and you never knew what he was going to ask. In 1991 I was on with Wolf Hess, the only son of the Nazi Deputy Fuhrer, Rudolph Hess. King, a non-practicing Jew, said to Wolf: "Your father was a handsome devil." Say what???
Trisha Posner and I interviewed him for the "Perot" bio at a hotel for breakfast. He was nothing but gracious and had some great Perot tales. That day he had egg whites and plain toast and popped about a dozen vitamins during our talk. Little surprise to discover in the NYT profile that the 81-year-old King, still a bit of a health nut, is petrified of dying.
You have to like a guy, though, who describes in this profile his reaction to the failure of Piers Morgan, the successor to his time slot, as like when ‘‘your mother-in-law goes over the cliff in your new car.’’ :-)