TV legend Larry King dies aged 87 - RTHK
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TV legend Larry King dies aged 87

2021-01-23 HKT 21:41
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  • Larry King reportedly died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Image: Shutterstock
    Larry King reportedly died at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Image: Shutterstock
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.

No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalised with Covid-19.

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, whether questioning the assault victim known as the “Central Park Jogger” or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show.

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.

King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview.

His nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience.

In June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.”

Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties.

He had many medical issues in recent decades, including heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer.

Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. (AP)