In the 1980s and ’90s, for celebrities, politicians, lawyers, activists and many others, an appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” was a sign that you’d made it on the national stage.
King, who died Saturday at the age of 87, was remembered as a tough but fair interviewer who had a strong sense of humor and was unfailingly gracious to his guests. His 25-year tenure on CNN, and more recently as a the host of a show for the Ora.TV streaming platform, ensured that King interacted with most of the major newsmakers of his time.
Fellow talk show host Craig Ferguson hailed King as a role model behind the mic. “He taught me so much,” Ferguson wrote on Twitter.
Just heard the awful news about Larry King. He taught me so much. He was a true mensch. He probably even taught me that word.
So long pal, thanks for all the laughs. Say hi to Rickles. #RIPLarryKing
— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) January 23, 2021
Author Anne Rice remembered King warmly even though she only knew him from appearances on his show. “He was always interesting, gracious and fun,” she wrote on Twitter.
We have lost Larry King. He has died at age 87. I knew Larry only through radio & TV interviews. He was always interesting, gracious and fun. I will miss him.
— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) January 23, 2021
King’s CNN show was a big source of breaking news during the O.J. Simpson murder trial saga of the mid-1990s. King worked with the writers and producers of FX’s “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” to help them capture that era. Scribe Larry Karaszewski praised him for his insights, calling him “a true legend.”
A true legend has passed. We had the honor of working with Larry King on our OJ miniseries. Larry graciously agreed to play himself and was so full of stories about how his show became the nightly epicenter for all the personalities involved in that case. https://t.co/gZTQEXf5ql pic.twitter.com/QpN3TkUDKi
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) January 23, 2021
From his early days in Miami radio to being part of the CNN revolution, King was hugely influential and incredibly kind. “I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him,” fellow broadcaster Keith Olbermann wrote on Twitter.
My friend Larry King has died.
It is literally true that thousands of us can make that sad statement this morning. While he was easily caricatured, I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him. #RIPLarryKing
1) 25 years ago… pic.twitter.com/CrA6tleJDH
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) January 23, 2021
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted King’s Brooklyn roots and his skill at talking to people “in a clear and plain way.”
Larry King was a Brooklyn boy who become a newsman who interviewed the newsmakers. He conducted over 50,000 interviews that informed Americans in a clear and plain way.
New York sends condolences to his family and many friends.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 23, 2021
King was renown for his love of baseball. Ben Sherwood, former Disney/ABC Television chief who is now heading the digital youth sports service Mojo, noted King’s regular presence at Little League games “as a devoted sports dad” in the Los Angeles area in recent years.
When he wasn’t on @cnn or at @NatenAl with his friends, @kingsthings often roamed the @LittleLeague fields of Los Angeles coaching and cheering his sons Chance and Cannon. Among his many roles, he was a real ⚾️ fan and a devoted sports dad. #RIPLarryKing
— Ben Sherwood (@bensherwood) January 23, 2021
Emmy-winning journalist Christiane Amanpour remembered King as a “giant” of broadcast whose name is “synonymous with CNN.”
Larry King was a giant of broadcasting and a master of the TV celebrity/statesman-woman interview.
His name is synonymous with CNN and he was vital to the network’s ascent. EVERYONE wanted to be on Larry King Live. May he Rest in Peace.https://t.co/XTgeMqjmcg
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 23, 2021
Filmmaker and author Kevin Smith reflected on the honor of being on “Larry King Live” and what he meant to his father.
RIP to radio/TV/digital news legend @kingsthings. It was an honor to watch you do your thing, both on @CNN and in person. My Dad always asked me “Did you see who Larry King talked to last night?” Would’ve blown his mind to know that, one day, it would be his son. Thanks for that. pic.twitter.com/OTQrEar3c4
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) January 23, 2021
Fellow broadcaster Wendy Williams offered condolences for the TV great.
— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) January 23, 2021
Radio personality and host Ryan Seacrest lamented the loss of a “dear friend and mentor,” whom he regarded as an “American treasure.”
I lost a dear friend and mentor. Truly an American treasure. Rest in peace, Larry King. pic.twitter.com/eQhSYgPqNy
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) January 23, 2021
Television talk show host Andy Cohen noted his admiration for “Larry King Live:” “I loved the easy breezy format of his CNN show, and his amazing voice.”
RIP Larry King!!!! I loved the easy breezy format of his CNN show, and his amazing voice.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) January 23, 2021
Powerhouse singer Celine Dion offered her condolences to King’s family and remembered him as kind-hearted: “There will never be anyone like him, and he will be missed by many.”
I’m sad to learn about Larry King’s passing.He was such a kind gentleman, and he made all of us feel as though we were speaking with a lifelong friend.There will never be anyone like him, and he will be missed by many. My sincerest condolences to his family & friends. Celine xx… pic.twitter.com/NBw0hpCDoj
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) January 23, 2021
See more tributes below.
R.i.P To the legend Larry King God bless him. 🙏🏿🕊 pic.twitter.com/2BwiN5O2rb
— 50cent (@50cent) January 23, 2021
— Andrea Bocelli (@AndreaBocelli) January 23, 2021
It was always a treat to sit at your table. And hear your stories. Thank you Larry King. pic.twitter.com/O66uEXeJE4
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 23, 2021
I’ve known Larry King since I arrived in LA 42 years ago. Larry King Live changed CNN in the 80s blending entertainment with news & I loved being on the show.
Larry was one of the best interviewers on TV. Always well prepared, asked intelligent questions, & always made the pic.twitter.com/kuDOx6gob5
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 23, 2021
Larry King was my @CNN colleague and good friend. He was an amazing interviewer and a mentor to so many of us. He loved what he did and all of us loved him. He was a real mensch. My Deepest Condolences to his loving family. May He Rest In Peace and May His Memory Be A Blessing. pic.twitter.com/gIdHbI0knd
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) January 23, 2021
RIP Larry King 😔 One of my favorite interviews of my humble career and one of the sweetest guys i ever worked with. Grew up with him on my television. You will be missed… https://t.co/3oBiKvhXCH
— Eric Andre (@ericandre) January 23, 2021
I enjoyed my 20+ interviews with Larry King over the years. He had a great sense of humor and a genuine interest in people. He gave a direct line to the American people and worked hard to get the truth for them, with questions that were direct but fair. Farewell, my friend. pic.twitter.com/Q28Xy4F91W
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) January 23, 2021
Goodbye and Godspeed to Larry King; a great interviewer and a great listener, and they are not the same thing. He always made me feel as though I were the only person in the room. Condolences to his family, friends, and fans around the world. pic.twitter.com/mOi5v6RAdB
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) January 23, 2021
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) January 23, 2021
RIP Larry King … pic.twitter.com/ZYSv0HqRui
— ROSIE (@Rosie) January 23, 2021
When I was a young morning DJ, I listened to Larry King's overnight radio show every night on my way to work. He was one of the greats and I am glad to have known him "Bethesda, Maryland you're on the air…"
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 23, 2021
So sad to hear the news about Larry King today. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by him and see his unique interview style first hand. He was a deeply thoughtful, intelligent, kind man… Sending love to his family & all of his many fans.
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) January 23, 2021
Because of Larry King, I got the opportunity to guest host his show Larry King Live. What an honor to fill the suspenders of such an icon! He was a great friend of @TheMuppets and the world. Thank you, Larry.
— Kermit the Frog (@KermitTheFrog) January 23, 2021
RIP to the legend Larry King. I was always honored to go on his show just to hear his stories, so they started letting me interview him for the last segment each time. We will miss you. Thanks for the chats and for the suspenders.https://t.co/ZFoMNYpitM
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) January 23, 2021
Am heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend and a true legend #LarryKing . I was grateful when he asked me to celebrate his 500th episode milestone with him as he was a nightly presence in my life growing up. He was a singular voice and will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/uCFyy9VDo8
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) January 23, 2021
How many hundreds of hours did I spend watching and enjoying Larry King? When I finally met him he was everything I hoped he would be. Funny and kind. The Uncle you loved more than anyone else in your family. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/y6PTatxEyb
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) January 23, 2021