Monday, May 31, 2010

Larry King

Larry King, Warrior, lower right
Larry King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger on November 19, 1933 and graduated from Lafayette High School in 1951. King co-writes (with Marty Appel) about his unremarkable secondary education in When You're From Brooklyn, Everything Else Is Tokyo, one of his many co-written memoirs. Among the things the reader learns about his school days is that Vic Damone also attended Lafayette, Larry had a friend named Hoo-ha, and Larry didn't really like to read books ("I didn't really read books, except for Frank Graham's biography of Lou Gehrig, A Quiet Hero and John R. Tunis's baseball novel The Kid From Tompkinsville."). Earlier, when Zeiger/King was 14, he and some friends, including the aforementioned Hoo-ha, formed a social club called The Warriors and they had special jackets made up costing $18 a piece ("a major purchase").

The broadcaster made his name as a talk show host in Miami, Florida and Washington, D.C. before eventually being recruited by CNN founder Ted Turner in 1983 for his current program, Larry King Live. While in Miami, on December 20, 1971, King was arrested for grand larceny for stealing money intended for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's Kennedy assassination investigation (King used the money to pay down his own tax debt). The charges were later dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. King spent the next several years trying to rehabilitate his career.

King is known for his habit of prodigious name dropping and for having an elastic relationship with the truth. In 1991 he was discovered by the Washington Post Magazine to have been lying about being a childhood friend of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax. And in 2009, a fanciful race track story he liked to tell was debunked by Slate

The talk show host has been married and divorced many times. The latest Wikipedia accounting is as follows:

Freda Miller (1952-1953)
Annette Kaye (dates unknown)
Alene Akins (1961-1963; 1967-1972)
Mickey Sutphin (1963-1967)
Sharon Lepore (1976-1983)
Julie Alexander (1989-1992)
Shawn Southwick (1997-Present)

Larry King can be seen kissing Marlon Brando here. And he can be seen mistakenly accusing Roman Polanski of Sharon Tate's murder here. King's CNN contract is up in 2011 and according to recent press accounts, his status is uncertain.

In 2009 King denied to GQ that he used a fan in his CNN studio for a persistent flatulance problem.

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