Larry King’s Net Worth [The Life Of A Legend]

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We all know and love Larry King, and it’s unfortunate that this King of television was taken from us by the COVID pandemic.

Let’s take a look at the journey he took to get to where he got, which is impressive, to say the least.

Larry King

Profession/Career:TV Personality
Net Worth:$50 Million
College:Never Attended
Full Name:Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
Date of Birth (Age):Nov. 19, 1933 – Jan. 23, 2021 (87)
Place of Birth:Brooklyn, New York
Height:5 ft 9 in

Who is Larry King?

Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, professionally known as Larry King, was an American television and radio host. His career in broadcasting dated back to 1978 when he worked on a coast-to-coast radio talk show, “The Larry King Show.” In 1985 he became a household name when he began hosting his own talk show, “Larry King Live,” on CNN. In 2010, King announced he’d be ending his reign as host after 25 years.

Larry King’s Early Life – Did Larry King Grow Up Poor?

Larry King was born on November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, to his Jewish immigrant parents, Edward Zeiger, a bar owner, and Jennie Gitlitz, a garment worker. King lost his father at nine years old when he suffered a fatal heart attack forcing his mother onto welfare to support him and his brother.

Due to the emotional impact King’s father’s death had on him, he struggled to finish high school, and the outlook of his future career was dismal. Living in abject poverty was something he was accustomed to, but he always wanted to find a way out, so he sought a career in radio broadcasting.

The Beginnings Of Larry King’s Professional Career

King began his career as a disc jockey at WAHR (now WMBM), a radio station in Miami Beach, Florida. He was hired as a cleaner, but shortly after he started, he was promoted to a radio announcer to fill the role of an employee who quit in May of 1957.

He worked the 9:00 AM to noon shift and did two-afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. At the time, he was earning a salary of $55/weekly, pushing him up the socioeconomic ladder. His manager at the time persuaded King to change his name to something ‘less ethnic,’ and as such, he legally changed his name from Lawrence Harvey Zeiger to Larry King.

His natural talent sent shockwaves through the local broadcasting industry. As a result, he was contacted to host Miami Undercover, airing Sunday nights at 11:30 PM on WPST-TV Channel 10 (now WPLG). He accepted the offer, which commenced in May 1960. In addition, he began writing for the entertainment section of the Miami Herald and Miami News.

The Larry King Show

King’s career started to really progress on January 30, 1978, when he was offered his own show, “Larry King Show,” a nightly coast-to-coast program on the Mutual Broadcasting System. The show was broadcast live Monday through Friday from midnight to 5:30 AM and included King interviewing prominent guests. His salary has not been publicly released, but it’s safe to assume he was offered a comfortable contract considering it was his own show.

Larry King Live

His outstanding interview skills captured the attention of media mogul Ted Turner, who contacted King directly with an offer of a lifetime. Following conversations, he signed a contract with CNN to host his own show, “Larry King Live,” commencing in 1985.

He remained in this role for the following 25 years and built a substantial following nationally and internationally. Throughout the years, he interviewed presidents, professional athletes, actors, national heroes, foreign dignitaries, military personnel, and any infamous persons who were in headline news.

Larry King’s salary was $200,000 per year when he first signed the contract with CNN. By the time the 90s rolled around, Larry King was earning more than $2 million per year. In 1994, Larry King signed and negotiated a new contract for 4 years that changed his salary to $3.5 million per year.

In 1998 when his contract expired, Larry King was at the height of his career and was able to negotiate a new contract that gave him $7 million per year, which was double of his previous contract, for 5 years. In addition to the raise, Larry King also received Time Warner stocks as a sign up bonus worth about $5 million.

After 25 years of doing what he did best, he publicly announced that he had decided to retire from his prominent career. The final episode aired live on December 16, 2010.

Most Notable Larry King Interviews

Larry King was a legendary interviewer and television host who conducted thousands of interviews throughout his career. Some of his most notable interviews include:

Marlon Brando (1994) – Brando rarely gave interviews, but he agreed to speak with Larry King for a rare, candid conversation about his life and career.

Frank Sinatra (1988) – King interviewed Sinatra at his home in Palm Springs, California, in what turned out to be one of his most memorable interviews.

Nelson Mandela (2000) – King traveled to South Africa to interview Mandela, the former president and anti-apartheid activist, about his life and legacy.

Lady Gaga (2010) – King interviewed the pop star about her rise to fame and her unique style.

Donald Trump (1992, 2005, 2010) – King interviewed Trump several times over the years, including during his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1992 and his successful campaign in 2016.

Jerry Seinfeld (2007) – King spoke with the comedian about his career and the legacy of his hit television show “Seinfeld.”

Barbra Streisand (1991) – King interviewed the legendary singer and actress about her life and career.

Vladimir Putin (2000) – King interviewed Putin, who was then the president of Russia, about his policies and his relationship with the United States.

Elizabeth Taylor (2006) – King interviewed the Hollywood icon about her life, her health struggles, and her activism.

Prince (1999) – King interviewed the iconic musician about his music and his views on spirituality.

Larry King’s Net Worth

At the time of his death on January 23, 2021, Larry King had a total net worth of $50 million, and his estate was estimated to be worth $144 million.

How Larry King Made his Fortune

King began to earn a modest salary in 1957 when he earned $55/weekly as a disc jockey.

In 1990, King’s net worth inflated substantially. CNN renewed his contract with a term of $8 million for 5-years.

In 1998, he received yet another salary promotion. He signed a new contract stipulating a $7 million annual salary. This salary remained static for the subsequent few years.

In 2010 which was his final year at CNN, his contract was worth $56 million.

By the time of his passing in 2021, he had accumulated a net worth of $50 million and an estate totaling $144 million.

Larry King’s Personal Life

King was known for his many marriages, which totaled 8, two of which were second marriages to the same women. He became a father to five children throughout his many marriages, including Larry King Jr., Chaia King, Chance Armstrong, Cannon Edward King, and Andy King.

In 1997, he said his nuptials for the final time to Shawn Southwick, a former singer. The influential couple publicly declared their separation in 2010. Following the passing of King, Southwick filed court papers to challenge his will that excluded her from his fortune.

Larry King’s marriages

Larry King, the renowned American television and radio host, was married a total of eight times to seven different women. Here is a list of Larry King’s marriages:

  • Freda Miller (1952-1953): Larry King’s first marriage was to Freda Miller, whom he married in 1952. They divorced the following year.
  • Annette Kaye (1961-1961): King’s second marriage was to Annette Kaye in 1961, but the marriage ended in annulment later that same year.
  • Alene Akins (1961-1963): Larry King married Alene Akins for the first time in 1961, and they had one child together. They divorced in 1963 but remarried in 1967.
  • Mickey Sutphin (1963-1967): King’s fourth marriage was to Mickey Sutphin in 1963, but they divorced in 1967.
  • Alene Akins (1967-1972): After their divorce in 1963, Larry King and Alene Akins remarried in 1967 and divorced again in 1972
  • Sharon Lepore (1976-1983): King’s sixth marriage was to Sharon Lepore in 1976. They divorced in 1983.
  • Julie Alexander (1989-1992): Larry King married Julie Alexander in 1989, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1992.
  • Shawn Southwick (1997-2019): King’s longest and most well-known marriage was to Shawn Southwick, whom he married in 1997. They had two children together and were married for 22 years before their divorce in 2019.

Larry King’s Other Ventures

During King’s prominent broadcasting career, he remained active in many other areas he was passionate about.

Due to his rise to fame, he became a hot commodity in Hollywood.  He often guest-starred in hit television shows and blockbuster hits, including Ghostbusters, I Love Lucy, Everybody Loves Raymond, Sesame Street, and Shrek 2 among many others. In addition, he narrated documentaries and hosted award shows.

King was an avid writer and often wrote for newspapers and magazine columns, including USA Today, for nearly 20 years.

Larry King’s Charitable Work

King suffered a nearly fatal heart attack in 1987. Following his recovery, he founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by King’s book sales, speaking engagements, and entertainment galas conducted in New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. The charity pays for life-saving cardiac procedures for Americans who cannot afford medical care and surgery.

Following the end of his career with CNN, he served as the host of Chabad’s 30th annual “To Life” telethon in Los Angeles, on August 30, 2010.

He was a firm believer in paying forward, and as such, he donated to the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden, earning his name on one of the monuments.

Larry King Quotes and Life Philosophy

Larry King has always been about listening to others. Over the years, he’s garnered a ton of wisdom while still maintaining his humility. Check out some of his memorable quotes:

“I remind myself every morning that nothing I say today will teach me anything. If I’m going to learn anything, I’ve got to do it by listening.”

-Larry King

“You can’t talk to people successfully if they thing you aren’t interested in what they have to say.”

-Larry King

“If you have passion, a sense of humor, a chip on your shoulder, and you can explain what you’re doing very well, you are interesting.”

-Larry King

“Those who’ve succeeded at anything without mentioning luck are kidding themselves.”

-Larry King

Larry King’s Death

The King of television broadcasting passed away on January 23, 2021, sending shockwaves through the media arena and the American public. King contracted the COVID-19 virus, and following weeks of battling the infection, he died of sepsis on January 23, 2021.

King was 87 at the time of his death. Larry King passed away with his family by his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

The Battle for Larry King’s Estate

After the talkshow legend’s passing, a massive battle broke out over who should be the executor of his massive $144 million estate.

Larry King had filed for divorce from his wife Shawn King, but the divorce was never finalized. Larry King’s son claims that there had been a new handwritten will after the divorce was filed to remove Shawn from the will, and divide his estate equally among his five children, three of which are still alive.

Shawn petitioned the court to uphold Larry King’s original will in 2015, in which she was named as the executor of the estate. Shawn King is calling to attention that the handwritten will is not valid due to Larry King’s mental condition around the time the note was written. Citing that he was highly suggestible and heavily medicated.

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