“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”—Larry King.
Those are the wise words of a man who has done more listening in his life than most of us can ever imagine. For decades, Larry King sat behind the microphone and invited us to join him in hearing some of the people most worth listening to in this world. From celebrities to world leaders to death row inmates, King was the intermediary between millions of people and information—a role that he never took lightly.
At the same time, King’s life has been full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and of course, scandals and controversy. There is a lot more to this guy than meets the eye, and it’s all definitely worth reading about.
Here are 10 facts about the one and only Larry King.
- Larry’s real name was Larry Zeiger, but he changed it to King early in his broadcasting career because the name Zeiger was thought of as “too ethnic.”
- King has been married a total of eight times in his life.
- Larry’s first job in broadcasting was as a disc jockey for a local Miami area radio station.
- Larry’s eighth marriage almost ended in divorce in 2010 when it was alleged that he was having an affair with his own sister-in-law.
- The idea for Larry’s new last name came from an unlikely source—his first boss happened to have looked down at an ad for a liquor company called King’s and thought the name was a perfect fit. The rest, as they say, is history.
- King has recently struggled with lung cancer and had to go through surgery to remove a malignant tumour in the summer of 2017. We’re glad it was successful!
- Larry King Live was the first-ever TV show to take calls from all over the world.
- King’s father died when Larry was only nine years old, and Larry did not react well—he became emotionally unstable, lost interest in school, and gave up on his broadcasting aspirations to take a job as a mail clerk.
- The darkest point in King’s career was likely his 1971 arrest for grand larceny. He had received $5,000 from a financier to give to someone else but instead used it to pay his own back taxes. Although the case was eventually dismissed due to a statute of limitations, he lost all of the major broadcasting jobs he had at that time.
- Most people assumed that King’s long-running CNN show Larry King Live went off the air in 2010 due to low ratings, but the real reason was that King was apparently dealing with a “personal mess” in his private life and asked the network to end the show in order to devote more time to it.