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TV host Larry King dies at age 87

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Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died at the age of 87, according to his media company Ora Media on Saturday.

According to several media reports, King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, but his media company did not provide a cause of death.

Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers and other celebrities on CNN's "Larry King Live", which ran from 1985 to 2010.

Hunched over his desk in rolled-up shirt sleeves and owlish glasses, he made his show one of the network's prime attractions with a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates and phone calls from viewers.

Even in his heyday, critics accused King of doing little pre-interview research and tossing softball questions to guests who were free to give unchallenged, self-promoting answers.

He responded by conceding he did not do much research so that he could learn along with his viewers.

Besides, King – who was born in Brooklyn - said, he never wanted to be perceived as a journalist, telling the Hartford Courant in 2007: “My duty, as I see it, is I'm a conduit.. I ask the best questions I can. I listen to the answers. I try to follow up. And hopefully the audience makes a conclusion. I'm not there to make a conclusion. I'm not a soapbox talk-show host... So what I try to do is present someone in the best light."

"Larry King Live" would become one of CNN's highest rated shows. King won numerous awards and interviewed an estimated 50,000 people.

He left CNN amid falling ratings in 2010 after 25 years with the news network, but stayed busy with his Ora TV show.

Throughout his life, King suffered varying medical issues including a heart attack and then bypass surgery in 1987. In 2010, he was treated for prostate cancer and in 2017 for lung cancer.

King was married eight times to seven women, most recently to singer Shawn Southwick, who was 26 years younger. He had five children, two of whom died in 2020.

Video Transcript

- Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians, and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died at the age of 87, according to his media company, Ora Media on Saturday.

LARRY KING: I'm very proud to have-- I've been in this business-- still in.

- According to several media reports, King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a Covid-19 infection. But his media company did not provide a cause of death.

Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers, and other celebrities on CNN's "Larry King Live," which ran from 1985 to 2010. Hunched over his desk in rolled-up shirt sleeves and owlish glasses, he made his show one of the network's prime attractions with a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates, and phone calls from viewers.

Even in his heyday, critics accused King of doing little pre-interview research and tossing softball questions to guests who were free to give unchallenged, self-promoting answers. He responded by conceding he did not do much research so that he could learn along with his viewers.

Besides, King-- who was born in Brooklyn-- said he never wanted to be perceived as a journalist, telling the "Hartford Courant" in 2007, "My duty as I see it, is I'm a conduit. I ask the best questions I can. I listen to the answers. I try to follow up. And hopefully the audience makes a conclusion. I'm not there to make a conclusion. I'm not a soapbox talk-show host. So what I try to do is present someone in the best light."

"Larry King Live" would become one of CNN's highest rated shows. King won numerous awards and interviewed an estimated 50,000 people. He left CNN amid falling ratings in 2010 after 25 years with the news network, but stayed busy with his Ora TV show.

Throughout his life, King suffered varying medical issues, including a heart attack and then bypass surgery in 1987. In 2010, he was treated for prostate cancer, and in 2017 for lung cancer. King was married eight times to seven women, most recently to singer Shawn Southwick, who is 26 years younger. He had five children, two of whom died in 2020.