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Celebrities, leaders remember Larry King as 'talk-show legend and cultural icon'

"Farewell to an icon whose curiosity and unique style of interviewing changed an industry and inspired many to follow in his footsteps," organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival tweeted.
Image: Larry King
Larry King at the Crescent Hotel on Nov. 25, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif.Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images file

Celebrities, broadcasters and politicians are remembering radio and television personality Larry King as a "talk-show legend and cultural icon" after waking up to the news of his death, Saturday morning.

The broadcasting icon had recently been hospitalized with Covid-19 and had endured health problems for many years, including a near-fatal stroke in 2019 and diabetes, but his cause of death was not immediately revealed, according to a statement from his TV production company Ora Media. He was 87.

"R.i.P To the legend Larry King God bless him," rapper 50 Cent tweeted.

Radio and television talk show host and producer Andy Cohen was one of many people who remember King's relaxed delivery, even while conducting conversational interviews with celebrities and world leaders.

"RIP Larry King!!!! I loved the easy breezy format of his CNN show, and his amazing voice," Cohen tweeted.

King's off-the-cuff style, along with his raspy baritone voice and trademark suspenders, made his CNN show "Larry King Live" a popular prime-time draw for the network between 1985 and 2010.

Fellow talk show host Craig Ferguson hailed King as a role model behind the microphone after he "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," Ferguson tweeted.

"I lost a dear friend and mentor. Truly an American treasure. Rest in peace, Larry King," radio and TV host Ryan Seacrest tweeted.

For countless for celebrities, politicians, lawyers, activists and many others, an appearance on "Larry King Live" was a sign that you’d made it on the national stage.

Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, remembered King as "a consummate pro and a great interviewer."

"My times with Larry King were some of my best memories of a tough but totally fair host," Huckabee tweeted.

Actor Eric Stonestreet, best known for portraying Cameron Tucker in the ABC mockumentary sitcom "Modern Family," said that "being interviewed by Larry was one of the most surreal & proud moments of my career."

"Watching @Dodgers games with him was a treat beyond belief and a true lesson in baseball and life. Rest In Peace Larry," Stonestreet tweeted.

King was also renown for his love of baseball. Ben Sherwood, a former Disney and ABC TV 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.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, King's favorite team, shared "their deepest condolences to his family and friends" on Twitter while sharing a photo of King pitching at one of their games.

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.”

"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," Karaszewski tweeted.

King, a Brooklyn native, estimated that he conducted more than 50,000 interviews — not one of which he prepared for in advance — over a nearly 60-year career that spanned radio, cable television and the internet.

"Thanks for the countless interviews and insights, Larry King. You understood human triumph and frailty equally well, and that is no easy feat," actor George Takei tweeted. "There was no one else like you, and you shall be missed. Rest with the heavens now."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described King as "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" Cuomo tweeted.

The former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, said King "truly was the King of Talk."

"I’ve had the honor of being interviewed by Larry King multiple times in my life. It was always a joy and a pleasure," Ventura tweeted. "On a personal level, I’ll miss him. Professionally, we’ll all miss him. Rest In Peace, my friend."

Actor Edward James Olmos echoed Ventura's sentiment, saying that King's "voice and presence were truly king!"

"Rest in peace my dear friend you gave us a place to understand who and what we are as people. Truly gave with every single moment you spent in your craft," Olmos tweeted.

Author Anne Rice remembered King warmly even though she knew him only from appearances on his show. “He was always interesting, gracious and fun,” she tweeted.

Organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival said that "thoughts are with the family and friends of broadcasting legend Larry King, who sadly passed away this morning."

"Farewell to an icon whose curiosity and unique style of interviewing changed an industry and inspired many to follow in his footsteps," the organization tweeted.

King's 65-year-old son, Andy, died of a heart attack and his 51-year-old daughter, Chaia, died of lung cancer last year. He is survived by three other biological children.

Funeral announcements would be made in due course, the statement said.

"A talk-show legend and cultural icon has passed. Larry King’s platform was the world stage which he graced with directness, professionalism and pragmatism!. Condolences to the King family," Pennsylvania state senator Sharif Street tweeted.