Broadcasting legend Larry King dies at 87

For over 50 years, King interviewed everyone from world leaders to movie stars. Kevin Smith, Christiane Amanpour, Keith Olbermann, 50 Cent and more pay tribute on social media.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
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King interviewed everyone from the Dalai Lama to the Muppets.

Ora Media

Broadcast legend Larry King, best known for his long-running TV interview show Larry King Live, has died at age 87. His son Chance Armstrong, as well as his production company, Ora Media, confirmed that the talk show host died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday morning. Three weeks ago King was hospitalized with COVID-19, but his official cause of death hasn't been confirmed.

"The world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us he was 'dad.' He was the man who lovingly obsessed over our daily schedules and our well-being, and who took immense pride in our accomplishments -- large, small, and imagined," King's family said in an official statement on Saturday. 

Larry King Live aired on CNN for more than 25 years. On the program, King interviewed numerous celebrities, athletes, movie stars, politicians and business icons, as well as nonfamous folks. King retired from hosting his TV show in 2010.

"For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," Ora Media said in a statement posted via King's Twitter account.

King had a series of severe health problems over the course of his life, including several heart attacks. He underwent quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, inspiring him to create the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those without insurance. In 2017, King was diagnosed with lung cancer but appeared to have beaten it.

In a statement Saturday, CNN President Jeff Zucker spoke of "the scrappy young man from Brooklyn."

"His curiosity about the world propelled his award-winning career in broadcasting," Zucker said, "but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him."

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. His casual approach to interviewing guests made him a sought-after journalist. Celebrities promoting their latest movies, TV shows and books would appear on his show, but so would various world leaders, business tycoons, politicians, activists and others. His show also included thousands of phone calls from viewers watching at home.

Fellow journalists and celebs paid their respects online.

TV journalist Keith Olbermann tweeted, "My friend Larry King has died ... While he was easily caricatured, I've never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him."

CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour tweeted, "Larry King was a giant of broadcasting and a master of the TV celebrity/statesman-woman interview. His name is synonymous with CNN and he was vital to the network's ascent. Everyone wanted to be on Larry King Live. May he Rest in Peace."

Filmmaker Kevin Smith tweeted, "RIP to radio/TV/digital news legend Larry King. It was an honor to watch you do your thing, both on CNN and in person. My Dad always asked me 'Did you see who Larry King talked to last night?' Would've blown his mind to know that, one day, it would be his son. Thanks for that."

Others took to social media to celebrate King's long legacy as well.