US talk show host Larry King dies aged 87

Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died at age 87, CNN reported on Saturday, citing a source close to the family.

Mr King had been hospitalised in Los Angeles with a Covid-19 infection, according to several media reports. He had endured health problems for many years, including a near-fatal stroke in 2019 and diabetes.

He had been hospitalised at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for more than a week, CNN reported.

Millions watched King interview world leaders, entertainers and other celebrities on CNN’s Larry King Live, which ran from 1985 to 2010. Hunched over his desk in rolled-up shirt sleeves and owlish glasses, he made his show one of the network’s prime attractions with a mix of interviews, political discussions, current event debates and phone calls from viewers.

The statement announcing Mr King’s death, posted from Ora Media, the production company launched by King in 2012, said: “Larry’s interviews from his 25-year run on CNN’s Larry King Live, and his Ora Media programmes Larry King Now, and Politicking with Larry King are consistently referenced by media outlets around the world and remain part of the historical record of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

“Ora Media sends our condolences to his surviving children Larry, Jr, Chance, Cannon and the entire King family.

“Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the King family, who ask for their privacy at this time.”

Even in his heyday, critics accused King of doing little pre-interview research and tossing softball questions to guests who were free to give unchallenged, self-promoting answers. He responded by conceding he did not do much research so that he could learn along with his viewers. Besides, King said, he never wanted to be perceived as a journalist.

“My duty, as I see it, is I’m a conduit,” King told the Hartford Courant in 2007. “I ask the best questions I can. I listen to the answers. I try to follow up. And hopefully the audience makes a conclusion. I’m not there to make a conclusion. I’m not a soapbox talk-show host . . . So what I try to do is present someone in the best light.” – Reuters and PA

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