Larry King Fast Facts

Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 17:42:33-05

Here’s a look at the life of talk-show host Larry King, who has done more than 30,000 interviews, including every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.

Birth date: November 19, 1933

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

Birth name: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger

Father: Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner

Mother: Jennie (Gitlitz) Zeiger

Marriages: Shawn Southwick (1997-present); Julie Alexander (1989-1992, divorced); Sharon Lepore (1976-1982, divorced); Alene Akins (1967-1971, divorced); Mickey Sutphin (1964-1966, divorced); Alene Akins (1961-1963, divorced); Annette Kaye (dates unknown); Frada Miller (annulled)

Children: with Shawn Southwick: Cannon, May 22, 2000, Chance, March 19, 1999 and Danny Southwick (stepson), 1981; with Alene Akins: Andy (adopted), Chaia, 1967; with Mickey Sutphin: Kelly, (Sutphin’s next husband adopted her); with Annette Kaye: Larry Jr., 1962

Other Facts:
Details of King’s 1971 arrest: Financier Lou Wolfson gave King $5,000 to give to Jim Garrison, who was involved in the Kennedy assassination investigation. King allegedly spent the money paying his back taxes and was arrested for grand larceny.

At the time of the 1971 arrest Larry was working as WIOD disc jockey and color commentator for the Miami Dolphins games, WTV talk show host and columnist for the Miami Beach Sun-Reporter. The scandal surrounding the arrest and his involvement with then-jailed Wolfson cost King his career. He was fired from each position but never prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.

Surviving heart problems, including several heart attacks and quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, led King to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those without insurance afford medical treatment. His marriage to Shawn Southwick took place at UCLA Medical Center as King was being admitted for chest pains and just before undergoing cardiac surgery.

He has appeared as himself in numerous films and television programs and has published over twenty books including his autography, a novel and a children’s book with one of his daughters.

Hosts a podcast with his wife Shawn, “Back and Forth with Shawn and Larry King.”

1957 – After changing last name from Zeiger to King, he begins a radio career as a disc jockey at WAHR-AM in Miami.

1958-1961 – Live audience interview show at Pumpernik’s Restaurant, Miami.

1965 – Is hired as a columnist for the Miami Herald to replace Walter Winchell.

December 20, 1971- Is arrested in Miami on charges of grand larceny. King is released on his own recognizance and suspended from the radio and television stations and newspaper where he worked, pending the outcome of the charges. The charges were dismissed in March 1972 due to the statute of limitations expiration. His employers do not take him back.

1972-1975 – Leaves Florida and becomes a freelance writer and broadcaster in Louisiana. Also does public relations work for a racetrack.

1978 – Returns to Miami and to WIOD radio. King joins the Miami News as a columnist and returns to TV as an interviewer.

January 30, 1978 – “The Larry King Show”, a nationally syndicated late-night radio talk show, debuts in 28 cities. In five years it is in 118 cities.

1982 – First column appears in USA Today, and “The Larry King Show” wins a Peabody Award.

June 3, 1985 – “Larry King Live” premieres on CNN.

1988 – Establishes the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those in need afford treatment.

1989 – Is inducted in to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

1992 – National Association of Broadcasters – Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction

February 20, 1992 – Ross Perot announces his bid for in the 1992 presidential election on “Larry King Live”.

1992 – “Larry King Live Election Coverage 1992” wins a Peabody Award.

November 9, 1993 – Vice President Al Gore and Ross Perot appear on “Larry King Live” to discuss NAFTA.

January 14, 1998 – Interviews death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker at the Mountain View Unit, Texas Department of Corrections.

1999 – Wins a News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Interview/Interviewer for the show with Karla Faye Tucker.

September 24, 2001 – His last column appears in USA Today

April 2003 – Publishes a novel, “Moon Over Manhattan: Mystery & Mayhem”.

2007 – Fiftieth year in broadcasting.

July 11, 2008 – The intersection of Sunset and Cahuenga Boulevards is renamed Larry King Square. The CNN Los Angeles bureau is located there.

May 2009 – His autobiography, “My Remarkable Journey,” is released.

June 29, 2010 – Announces his decision to retire from the nightly “Larry King Live” show after 25 years.

December 16, 2010 – The final show of “Larry King Live” airs.

April 14, 2011 – “Larry King: Stand Up”, the first in a series of one-man comedy shows, opens in Torrington, Connecticut.

September 26, 2011 – King receives a lifetime achievement award at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards in New York.

July 16, 2012 – Online series “Larry King Now” debuts on Ora TV.

October 23, 2012 – Moderates the third-party presidential debates in Chicago.

May 29, 2013 – A Russian-owned news channel, RT, announces King will host “Larry King Now” on their network RT America beginning in June. They stream online at, and

September 8, 2016 – Conducts an interview with Donald Trump that is distributed to RT. The segment stirs controversy because of his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and ends in silence when Trump is asked about his feelings on Mexican immigrants. “I don’t know what happened there, we did not lose the connection, so something happened,” King said on the show. The next day, King tells Erin Burnett that Trump’s team apologized to producers after ending the interview.

September 13, 2017 – King announces that he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in July 2017 and that he underwent surgery the same month to remove the malignant tissue.