US talk show host and famed interviewer Larry King dies aged 87

Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
·4-min read

Veteran US talk show host Larry King has died at the age of 87, it has been announced.

The news was shared on his Twitter page by Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded in 2012.

King, famous for his shows including CNN’s Larry King Live which he hosted from 1985 to 2010, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Earlier this month the news network reported that the star had been in hospital with Covid-19.

The statement said: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host, and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“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.

“Additionally, while it was his name appearing in the shows’ titles, Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programmes, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience.

“Whether he was interviewing a US president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”

Referencing his TV shows including Ora Media’s Larry King Now and Politicking With Larry King, the tweet said they were “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 co-ordination with the King family, who ask for their privacy at this time.”

More recently, King had hosted shows on Russian state broadcaster RT, joining them in 2013.

A spokesman from RT said: “Today the world lost a legend and RT lost a dear colleague and friend.

“Larry King was a staple on TV screens for decades, shaping the face of news and current affairs for millions, and inspiring generations of journalists.

“Countless famous faces, world leaders and loyal viewers will feel his absence from the airwaves deeply.”

Over the years King interviewed some of the biggest names across the globe including former American president Bill Clinton, singer Frank Sinatra and also The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

After his show relocated from Washington DC to Los Angeles, he made headlines with his interviews with people such as Paris Hilton, after she was released from jail.

The famed interviewer announced he was retiring from his CNN show after his 25th anniversary at the network in June 2010.

He was replaced by British broadcaster Piers Morgan, who hosted the show until 2014.

King had health issues over the years including suffering a major heart attack in the late 1980s, which resulted in quintuple-bypass surgery.

He was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and in 2017 he told CNN that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

He was married eight times to seven different women, most recently to country singer and actress Shawn Southwick.

Larry King and Shawn Southwick
Larry King and Shawn Southwick (Yui Mok/PA)

The pair wed in 1997 and the couple filed for divorce in 2010. The filing was then rescinded only for them to divorce again in 2019.

The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth children, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000.

Last year King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other.