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Larry King

Real name: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single

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Larry King (born November 19, 1933) is an award-winning American writer, journalist and broadcaster. He currently hosts a nightly interview program on CNN called Larry King Live, one of the longest running talk shows on American air.

King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jennie (née Gitlitz), a garment worker, and Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner and defense plant worker. He was raised in a "very cultural Jewish" family. His father died at 44 of a heart attack when King was nine, and his mother had to go on relief to support Larry and his younger brother. His father's death affected King greatly, and King lost interest in school, ruining his chances to go to college. After graduating from high school, he worked to help support his mother. In his 20s, King worked as a UPS delivery boy and it seemed his dream of a job in radio wouldn't occur.

A CBS staff announcer, who King met by chance, told him to go to Florida where there was a growing media market and where there were openings for less experienced radio personalities. King rode a bus to Miami. After initial setbacks, King got his first job in radio through persistence. A small station, WIOD in Miami Beach, hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. When one of their announcers quit, they put him on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, when he worked as the disc jockey from 9 am to noon. He also did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid $55 a week. He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager said that Zeiger was too ethnic and hard to remember, and instead suggested the surname King, which he got from an ad in The Miami Herald for King's Wholesale Liquor. He started interviewing on a midmorning show for WIOD, at Pumpernik's restaurant in Miami Beach. He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waitress at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernick's as a result of coming across King's show on his radio; Darin became King's first celebrity interview guest.

On September 3, 2005, King aired, "How You Can Help," a three-hour special designed to provide a forum and information clearinghouse for viewers to understand and join nationwide and global relief efforts. This was following the devastation to the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina. Guest Richard Simmons, a native of New Orleans, told him, "Larry, you don't even know how much money you raised tonight. When we rebuild the city of New Orleans, we're going to name something big after you."

On September 23, 2004, John Clark sued King and CNN after an interview with his ex-wife, Lynn Redgrave, aired. Clark argued that he was defamed by the banner statements scrolling at the bottom of the screen, and that the pre-taped show did not allow him to appear to defend himself. The court would not allow the suit to proceed ruling that he was not defamed. Two years later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, dismissed his appeal.


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