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In the wake of Larry King’s death on Saturday, CNN talent and execs took to social media to pay tribute to the self-made man from Brooklyn who spent six decades proudly winging it as an interviewer on the radio and as the host of his own nightly talk show on CNN.
King died Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement posted to his social media accounts. A cause of death was not specified, though King was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month.
The television icon hosted Larry King Live on CNN from June 1, 1985, until Dec. 18, 2010, earning a listing in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest-running show with the same host in the same time slot.
CNN went live with the news shortly after 8 a.m. ET, as New Day Weekend turned toward remembering one of their own.
CNN president Jeff Zucker released a statement on the passing of King. “We mourn the passing of our colleague Larry King. The scrappy young man from Brooklyn had a history-making career spanning radio and television,” the statement reads. “His curiosity about the world propelled his award-winning career in broadcasting, but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him. We are so proud of the 25 years he spent with CNN, where his newsmaker interviews truly put the network on the international stage. From our CNN family to Larry’s, we send our thoughts and prayers, and a promise to carry on his curiosity for the world in our work.”
Ted Turner, CNN founder, also shared a tribute to King. “Waking up to the news of the passing of Larry King felt like a punch to the gut. Larry was one of my closest and dearest friends and, in my opinion, the world’s greatest broadcast journalist of all time. If anyone asked me what are my greatest career achievements in life, one is the creation of CNN, and the other is hiring Larry King. Like so many who worked with and knew Larry, he was a consummate professional, an amazing mentor to many and a good friend to all. The world has lost a true legend.”
CNN’s chief domestic affairs correspondent Jim Acosta shared Saturday morning on Twitter that the “broadcasting legend and longtime CNN host” had died. “He will be missed by so many CNN employees past and present.”
CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour also took to social media to pay tribute, writing “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.”
CNN national correspondent Ed Lavandera offered a humorous and inspiring story about King for his Twitter audience, reflecting on when his being a new correspondent for CNN in 2003. “I was assigned to cover the homecoming of five soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. This was a huge story,” Lavandera recounted. “The soldiers had been held as POWs in Iraq. The military aircraft was scheduled to land in El Paso during Larry King Live. I was told I would be reporting from the air strip in breaking news rolling coverage with Larry. To say I was nervous is an understatement. I spent hours preparing as much as I could about each soldier’s background and personal stories. I learned as much as I could about how the homecoming ceremony would unfold so I could relay that alongside Larry for this historic moment.”
“I was ready. During Larry’s show, the plane carrying the soldiers’ lands and I can feel the adrenaline of the moment. I can’t believe I’m going [to be] reporting live with Larry King during this emotional moment,” Lavandera continued. “The plane doors open. I’m watching and waiting for the soldiers to appear. Nothing happens. Minutes pass and no one appears. Larry fills the time effortlessly. I pitch in with the various reporting details I had prepared. And then Larry turns to me, ‘Ed, what’s taking so long? Do the soldiers have to go through customs?’ The question stumped me. I thought, ‘Customs? What kind of crazy question is that old man!’ I stumbled and rambled some nonsensical answer. I had not prepared for that. Why would soldiers have to go through customs? They’ve been held as POWs, give me a break. A few minutes later Larry is interviewing a military official and he asks why it’s taking so long for the soldiers to step off the plane and the official explains the soldiers are being processed and clearing customs. I can hear this in my ear and I feel humbled and embarrassed. The old man was right! This is what made Larry King so great. He was often underestimated and unafraid of asking what might seem like a silly question. Those questions often elicit fascinating details. That night of life television is one of the highlights of my CNN career.”
Oprah Winfrey wrote on Twitter, “It was always a treat to sit at your table. And hear your stories. Thank you Larry King.”
Journalist and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather wrote on Twitter, “Larry King was a friend through thick and thin. A masterful interviewer and storyteller. He helped put CNN on the map by making news through the art of dialogue.. May he Rest In Peace.”
Sports and political commentator Keith Olbermann posted a heartfelt tribute to his “friend Larry King” on Saturday morning as well. “It is literally true that thousands of us can make that sad statement this morning. While he was easily caricatured, I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him,” Olbermann wrote.
“Larry King was a super star on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those mediums will never be duplicated,” wrote Westwood One Radio founder and PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz in a statement. “I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the Larry King Show and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio and podcasting are worse today for his loss.”
Performer and television personality Pat Boone remembered King with the saying, “‘The Bible says ‘A friend sticketh close like a brother.'” He went on to say, “Larry is my friend and brother and always will be. I hope to thank him in Heaven for what he did for my grandson and through him our whole family.”
Craig Ferguson, host of CBS late-night talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, expressed on Twitter how King “taught me so much” adding “he was a true mensch. He probably even taught me that word. So long pal, thanks for all the laughs. Say hi to Rickles.”
Read more tributes to King as they come in below.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 23, 2021
It was always a treat to sit at your table. And hear your stories. Thank you Larry King. pic.twitter.com/O66uEXeJE4
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 23, 2021
When I was a young morning DJ, I listened to Larry King's overnight radio show every night on my way to work. He was one of the greats and I am glad to have known him "Bethesda, Maryland you're on the air…"
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 23, 2021
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.https://t.co/XTgeMqjmcg
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 23, 2021
Sad news. CNN confirms that legendary talk show host Larry King has died. King was 87 years old.
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) January 23, 2021
As Jeff Zucker's statement said, Larry King's newsmaker interviews "truly put the network on the international stage." I talked about King's impact on cable news here pic.twitter.com/6Qmg64iDnb
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 23, 2021
Want to share this little story about #LarryKing. In 2003, I was still a relatively new correspondent at @CNN. I was assigned to cover the homecoming of five soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas
— ed lavandera (@edlavaCNN) January 23, 2021
Larry King was a Brooklyn boy who become a newsman who interviewed the newsmakers. He conducted over 50,000 interviews that informed Americans in a clear and plain way.
New York sends condolences to his family and many friends.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 23, 2021
Just heard the awful news about Larry King. He taught me so much. He was a true mensch. He probably even taught me that word.
So long pal, thanks for all the laughs. Say hi to Rickles. #RIPLarryKing
— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) January 23, 2021
Thanks for the countless interviews and insights, Larry King. You understood human triumph and frailty equally well, and that is no easy feat. There was no one else like you, and you shall be missed. Rest with the heavens now.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 23, 2021
RIP Larry King!!!! I loved the easy breezy format of his CNN show, and his amazing voice.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) January 23, 2021
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) January 23, 2021
— Maria Guerrero (@Maria_NBC5) January 23, 2021
I lost a dear friend and mentor. Truly an American treasure. Rest in peace, Larry King. pic.twitter.com/eQhSYgPqNy
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) January 23, 2021
— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 23, 2021
Larry King was a friend through thick and thin. A masterful interviewer and storyteller. He helped put CNN on the map by making news through the art of dialogue.. May he Rest In Peace.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) January 23, 2021
Larry was the King of asking short, soulful questions.
Growing up as a kid, Larry King Live was appointment viewing for me. Getting the chance to work around him was a highlight of my life. pic.twitter.com/3gW7f7ziAM
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 23, 2021
I enjoyed my 20+ interviews with Larry King over the years. He had a great sense of humor and a genuine interest in people. He gave a direct line to the American people and worked hard to get the truth for them, with questions that were direct but fair. Farewell, my friend. pic.twitter.com/Q28Xy4F91W
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) January 23, 2021
Larry King was my @CNN colleague and good friend. He was an amazing interviewer and a mentor to so many of us. He loved what he did and all of us loved him. He was a real mensch. My Deepest Condolences to his loving family. May He Rest In Peace and May His Memory Be A Blessing. pic.twitter.com/gIdHbI0knd
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) January 23, 2021
I don't usually post anything when someone dies, but Larry King touched my life in a big way. Dozens of times he gave me the whole hour on his CNN show when that show ruled smart TV. That time together with him is a great memory as are all the other times we spent. Great guy.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) January 23, 2021
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