SUSPENDERED IN TIME

Larry King, who died in January, became the sharp-angled, arch-shouldered king of the big-name interview during 25 years at CNN. His style was unorthodox but winning (most of the time). ‘I’m really curious,’ King once said. ‘I listen to answers and leave my ego at the door.’

Larry King (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

There are generally two breeds of interviewer. The first kind are assiduous about getting prepped for their subject. Sir David Frost was the exemplar here; when I turned up to interview him some years ago, he spent the first few minutes making ostentatious reference to a slew of recent stories I’d done, which was both impressive and not a little disarming.

The second group takes a — how to put this? — more cavalier approach. Larry King was indisputably their champion. Over 25 years and his many thousands of interviews fronting Larry King Live, CNN’s highest-rated, longest-running programme that reached millions across America and some 130 countries around the world, the Brooklyn-born King displayed what The New York Times called “the folksy personality of a Bensonhurst schmoozer,” making a kind of virtue of his breezy unpreparedness. “If I meet someone I don’t know, and I don’t know the topic, that’s heaven,” he once said. “You’ve got to learn.”

Contributor

Stuart Husband

Published

April 2021

Tags

Also read