Larry King Ends His Popular Show After 25 Years On CNN - 12/16/2010

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Today in 2010, Larry King, the suspenders-sporting host of the famous talk show "Larry King Live," retires after 25 years of working in the show business. Larry King Live show has been live on CNN since June 1985, and had featured world leaders, politicians, movie stars, musicians and newsmakers as its guest. The last show, which was also the farewell broadcast of Larry King Live featured Ryan Seacrest, Regis Philbin, Katie Couric, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton (via satellite) and President Barack Obama (in a pre-recorded video) among others. As the show was about to finish, Tony Bennett entertained the King, who has turned into a TV icon along with his wife and two sons.

Born Lawrence Zeiger in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, he changed his surname to King when the manager of the radio station where he was working said his surname "Zeiger" sounds too ethnic and hard to remember. Larry King started as a DJ and sport broadcaster for a radio station in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1957. From 1960-1970, King worked in Miami as a radio presenter, a TV host and a columnist for a newspaper before he started his own national broadcast radio show in 1978. In June 1985, King joined CNN, the cable news channel owned by Ted Turner.

When he began the Larry King Live, the first guest on the show was the then governor of New York Mario Cuomo, and later in 1992, he featured billionaire Ross Perot who declared his intention to run for the presidency. The following year the show hosted Vice President Al Gore and Perot as the duo argued the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In addition, that edition (that featured both VP Al Gore and Perot) became the highest-rated in cable history for more than a decade.

During his 25 years career in the radio and TV show, King who was popularly known for his frank and honest interview style had hosted big names from Marlon Brando to Vladimir Putin and Lady Gaga among many others. During the show, King was fond of taking call-in, reading emails just to give his audience the access to ask his subjects questions. King believed that in order to gain from his guest and make the show original, he does not need to prepare extensively or have a set of questions. However, this approach could sometimes be embarrassing just like in 2007, when King questioned Jerry Seinfeld whether his sitcom had been cancelled or that he had left intentionally. A shocked Seinfeld, who had left his show voluntarily, said to King, "Do you remember who you I?"

King announced his retirement from TV show in June of 2009. At the time of the announcement, his show had fallen into third place in the ratings as Sean Hannity of Fox News and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC clinched the first and second place respectively. Larry King bowed out of the show in December of 2010 after spending more than 50 years in the show business and hosted some 50,000 interviews according to his own. 

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Amanda Miller

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