An American radio and television host, and editorial columni …
Larry King was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His father, a bar owner, died when he was only nine, and his mother had to go on welfare to support Larry and his younger brother. Discouraged by his father's death, Larry stopped paying attention in school, dooming his chances for higher education. After graduating from high school, he went to work to help support his mother. From an early age, he had dreamed of a career in radio, and haunted the radio studios of New York. In his 20s, working as a UPS delivery man, it seemed he would never get any closer to achieving his dream.
After a chance meeting with a CBS staff announcer, King took the older man's advice and caught a bus for Florida, where a rapidly growing media market was creating an opening for less experienced radio personalities. After initial setbacks, King got his first break as a disc jockey on a Miami station and soon became a popular fixture of the South Florida radio scene. In 1960, he debuted with his first program on Miami television. Throughout the '60s and early '70s he built up his local following, adding a newspaper column to his radio and television chores.
Disaster struck in the '70s. King's involvement with a disgraced financier cost him his radio, television and newspaper jobs. He was deeply in debt and unable to find work in the Miami area, where he was best known. He slowly rebuilt his career, writing magazine articles and working in radio on the West Coast. By the late 1970s, the scandal had blown over and Larry King was ready to return to the airwaves of South Florida. This time, sadder but wiser, he determined to live within his means and to protect his reputation.
In 1978, The Larry King Show went national, the first nationwide call-in show. In 1985, the fledgling Cable News Network put Larry King Live on television, the first international live phone-in television program. King interviewed athletes, actors, writers, politicians and foreign dignitaries. The breadth of his influence was demonstrated conclusively when billionaire Ross Perot chose to announce his presidential candidacy live on the air on King's show.
In the 1992 election, the King show became a favorite forum for candidates. In 1993, the program made history again when Vice President Al Gore agreed to appear on the program, with Ross Perot, to debate the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement, then being considered by Congress. In natioal elections ever since, leading candidates have chosen King's program to air their ideas before the public. Today, Larry King makes his home in Beverly Hills, California, where he enjoys almost instantaneous access to leading figures in mass media and the entertainment industry.
In 2007, Larry King celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting. He has conducted more than 30,000 interviews, his weekly column in USA Today is read all over the United States, and his daily radio and television shows are seen and heard by millions around the world.