Before he could do the first of the 40,000-plus radio and TV interviews he has done since 1957,
Lawrence Harvey Zeiger had to change his name to something catchier, less
"ethnic," in the words of his boss.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, seconds before airtime at
WAHR, the boss happened to glance at a newspaper ad for King's Wholesale
Liquors -- and Zeiger became Larry King, named in 2002 by Talkers magazine as
history's top TV talk show host.
King, who turns 80 Tuesday (Nov. 19), made late-night cable respectable as the host of Larry King Live on CNN, which aired from 1985 to 2010. He currently hosts Larry King Now on the digital platform Ora.tv. The 30-minute interview program, similar in format to his former CNN show, also streams on Hulu and airs on RT America, a Russian-owned, 24-hour cable news channel.
"I'm 80 years old, and I don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up," says King. "I can't believe I'm 80. When I was a kid, nobody was 80. I remember when my uncle visited once, he was 60, and I asked my brother: 'Do you think he has sex? He's 60, he can't.' I can't believe I'm living in
with a young wife and two kids [and three grown kids]. I've got a nice car. I
love my job. I've got a bagel store, and I have breakfast every morning with
friends I grew up with. I've been in movies, I've written books -- I don't know
how that all happened."