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Lawrence Harvey Ziegler was born November 19, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. The son of Russian immigrants, Eddie and Jennie, young Larry didn't seem destined for success. His father, a former defense plant worker who owned a restaurant with his wife, passed away when Larry was 11 years old, while his mother had to go on welfare to support the rest of the King family.
Despite dreams of a radio career, King became distracted by the tragedy in his family and thus found it hard to concentrate in high school. Rather than pursue higher education, King worked several jobs in order to help his mother out, one of which included a UPS deliveryman. While in his 20's, King would pay visits to radio stations in New York, and on one occasion, met with a CBS staff member who suggested that King go to Florida to pursue a radio career.
He hopped on a bus for the Southeast, where a media market was in the midst of blossoming and therefore taking on less experienced radio personalities. It took several obstacles, but King finally got his first radio gig as a DJ in Miami for WIOD-Radio (for which he also provided commentary for Miami Dolphins games), and in 1960, he entered the realm of television with his first program. King became a hit with south Florida audiences and took on a third medium by writing in the entertainment section of the Miami Herald and Miami News.
But life wasn't so rosy for King, who was allegedly arrested for larceny in 1971. Deeply in debt after living the high life, King attempted to gradually rebuild his career with jobs on West Coast radio stations and in newspapers. King finally returned to South Florida, hoping to regain the career that was on its way before having been tarnished.
When King was chosen to host a live, national phone-in interview show, The Larry King Show, on Mutual Radio Network in 1978 (and broadcast on 365 stations), it made a national figure of Larry King. In 1983, King was offered a shot on national television when Post-Newsweek distributed a syndicated show to 118 stations, with King as host in 1983. While the show did not succeed, it did catch the eye of media mogul Ted Turner, who tapped King to host his own gabfest on the-then fledgling Cable News Network.
Larry King Live, the first live call-in television show, had become the highest-rated talk show on the air and the highest-rated program on CNN by the 1990s. Larry King Live became the requisite stopover for celebrities plugging a project and politicians making a statement.
From Ross Perot's announcement of a presidential candidacy, and Al Gore and Ross Perot's NAFTA debate in 1993, to practically all those involved with the OJ Simpson murder trial, Larry King Live became known as the show with news-making interviews and debates. Broadcast on CNN internationally, King always has something to talk about with guests, between the entertainers, politicians, athletes, writers, and foreign dignitaries who come by to chat with the suspender-wearing host. King's guests also answer questions from audience members worldwide.
Larry King also hosts Larry King Weekend every Saturday night, and in June 1994, he began simulcasting Larry King Live on Mutual/Westwood One radio stations across the nation.
In addition to the TV show's high ratings, King picked up awards for his journalistic career, such as the CableACE award for Interview/Talk Show Host in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1997, and the 1998/99 News Emmy for his interview with Karla Faye Tucker. He also picked up the George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, and to top it all off, King was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame of Broadcasting Magazine and the National Association of Broadcasters.
To add to Larry King's multiple awards are his multiple ex-wives; his list of former wives includes Frada Miller, who he married after high school; Alene Akins, a former Play..boy bunny with whom King had an on-again, off-again marriage in the '60s, and mother of King's children Chaia and Andy; Mickey Sutphin, mother of daughter Kelly; Sharon Lepore, a production assistant and former math teacher, with whom he was married from 1976-1983; and Julia Alexander, who he married in 1989 and divorced in 1992 (and later sued for slander).
There were more fiancées as well, with Rama Fox and former actress Deanna Lund, and more actress girlfriends, most notably a five-year relationship with Angie Dickinson. Larry King is now a one-woman man, as he is married to singer/model/TV host Shawn Southwick. He resides in Washington D.C., where Larry King Live is based, but occasionally takes the show to LA and New York.
Larry King had a weekly column in USA Today from 1982 until 2001, and continues to publish books. His publishing resume includes Tell It to the King, Love Stories of World War II, Anything Goes!: What I've Learned From Pundits, Politicians, and Presidents, and How To Talk To Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere -- something Larry King does seven times a week, at 9pm Eastern time.
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Want to talk about your event now? Give us a call at (212) 645-0555 and one of our booking agents will be happy to help you immediately.
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