We all know and love Larry King, and it’s unfortunate that this King of television was taken from us rather recently.
Let’s take a look at the journey he took to get to where he got, which is impressive, to say the least.
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 Roots
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 His 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.
Moving Up In The World
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.
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.
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.
Larry King’s Net Worth
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“You can’t talk to people successfully if they thing you aren’t interested in what they have to say.”
“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.”
“Those who’ve succeeded at anything without mentioning luck are kidding themselves.”
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.
You May Also Like: