Veteran talk show host Larry King died early Saturday in Los Angeles, according to Ora Media, a production company King formed. He was 87.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the company said King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was first reported to be hospitalized there in early January after contracting COVID-19, and moved out of the intensive care unit two days later. No cause of death was given. “Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions,” the statement says. “He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”
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 be 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.
Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. 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. “Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.”