Larry King, Broadcaster and Celebrity Interviewer, Dead at 87

His work ethic throughout his life was astonishing

Larry King's 70th Birthday Party
Larry King during Larry King's 70th Birthday Party at CNN Studio.

How does one best describe the role Larry King had on television news for decades and decades? King, who died on Saturday at the age of 87, was perhaps best known for his interviews with celebrities – from prominent politicians to more esoteric figures. King’s candid style could occasionally lead him to unexpected places, but his confident manner and ubiquitous suspenders made him an unexpectedly iconic figure throughout his career.

King’s career began on the radio in Florida, where he worked as a broadcaster and covered sports. From there, he hosted a radio show that was broadcast nationwide, and eventually hosted his own show on CNN from 1985 to 2010.

A 2015 article by Mark Leibovich in The New York Times Magazine covered King’s late-career work. He left CNN in 2010 and began work on a pair of shows for the online broadcaster Ora TV, as well as a baseball-themed program for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ channel.

What makes this portrait of King so compelling is its depiction of a particular work ethic; at an age when many of his peers slowed down, King continued to work in abundance. “I don’t know what I’m doing when I’m sleeping,” King told Leibovich. “I’m not anything.”

King’s interviewing style made him famous, but his willingness to adapt might well be his greatest achievement. Consider: this is a man whose career began in radio who successfully made the move to television. When one era of that career came to a close, he ventured into streaming media. And he also became a beloved Twitter personality along the way. As legacies and work ethics go, it’s an impressive one to leave behind.

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