Larry King Live...In Las Vegas!!!
Author(s): Robin Roth
Editor: Mark Lewis
Published: June 19, 2009











   I was surprised and delighted to learn that ‘THE legendary Larry King’, is more than he gets a chance to show on his CNN television show. Larry is truly a very funny, story telling, kind of guy. On a dare from Steve Wynn, he accepted a one night gig to prove just that on stage at the Encore Theater on Friday, June 19. Mr. Wynn I must say, that was a bad bet on your part. King, at this stage of the game, has nothing to lose. I am sure Mr. Wynn knew he would take the dare and be a huge hit as well!  The rare and exciting performance benefited the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which provides funding for life saving cardiac procedures for individuals who, due to limited means and no insurance, would be otherwise unable to receive treatment. Kudos to you Larry! You are a king!


As one would expect, that after an unprecedented 50 years in broadcasting and more than 40,000 interviews, political debates, and topical discussions, Larry King has countless amazing stories to tell…and he did! What an amazing opportunity to be a part of this icons life, to laugh with his audience and hear Larry recount tales and anecdotes from some of his more notorious guests and legendary experiences, which have spanned his career. 


Some of the shows highlights (and there were many) were:


Larry, sporting his famous suspenders that were blue this time, with a blue shirt and jeans tells about Marlin Brando kissing him on the lips… He stated, “I have never been kissed on the lips by a man before… I can’t stop thinking about him, some nights I wake up screaming STELLA!” The audience roared.

He spoke openly about such topics as crime, school days with his pals, his beginnings in radio in Florida, dating, pranks as a kid, the mafia, and his two favorite interviews that were with Sinatra (he explains that Jackie Gleason got this rare interview for him as a favor that Sinatra owed Gleason) and Nelson Mandela.


He closed the show with an audience question and answer period where he was very candid and honest. The audience loved this section of the show…

He was asked, what was his worst interview experience? His answered very quickly. “That would have to be with Robert Mitchum. It was 20 minutes that felt like 2 hours. It was the worst. His answered every question with a yep, nope, maybe, yes, no, maybe, nope, yep”…….  

When asked, if he gets nervous, he answered, “I never get nervous. I did the first time I went on radio and handled it by being honest telling my listeners that I was nervous, scared, and that it was my first time on the air. Once you are open with your audience they are with you. I have never been nervous since.”


When asked, how he feels about being so candid asking questions on his show he replied, “I’m not out to embarrass my guests or hurt them in any way. I think they can feel this in me. I am curious. I have been since I was a child. I love asking questions. I am the guy you would hate to sit next to on a plane. I think my guests know that I am genuinely interested in what they have to say and that I listen. I want them to feel comfortable and know the interview is about them, and not me.”


It was quite surreal sitting in his audience listening to Larry King speak instead of my couch for a change… I have to interject some personal observations about the KING.

What I personally feel makes him one of the greatest interview hosts of our time is that he does listen to his guests. Most talk show personalities today ask their guest a question and before they can answer it, they interrupt repeatedly with their opinions, views and life experiences. Larry asks a question and then gives his guest the opportunity to answer it completely. He also pushes the envelope to get his viewers answers, but doesn’t really cross the line. He treats his guests with respect even If he personally doesn’t agree with them or even like them for that matter.


Shawn King, country music vocalist and Larry King’s wife, performed as the opening act. She recently released a new album titled “In My Own Backyard” on Lofton Creek Records.




A little King background:


For any of you out there who are not aware of the King, (how could this be possible) let me give you a bit of info:

Lawrence Harvey Zeiger (born November 19, 1933), better known by his stage name Larry King, is a legendary American television and radio host. He is recognized and respected in the United States as one of the premier broadcast interviewers of modern times.


King began as a local Florida journalist and radio interviewer in the 1950s and '60s. He became prominent as an all-night national radio broadcaster in 1978, and then came to dominate the airwaves when he began hosting the nightly interview TV program Larry King Live on CNN, which started in 1985.


Lawrence Harvey Zeiger was born to Jennie (Nee Gitlitz), a garment worker, and Edward Zeiger, a restaurant owner and defense plant worker. Larry's parents were Jewish and had emigrated from Belarus (Minsk and Pinsk) to Brooklyn, New York City, where Larry was born. He was raised in a culturally Jewish family. When Larry was nine, his father died at 44 of heart disease and his mother went on welfare to support Larry and his younger brother. His father's death traumatized Larry deeply. He lost all interest in school which ruined his chances to go to college. After graduating from high school, he went to work to help support his mother. The one thing that Larry knew for certain from an early age was that he wanted to go into radio.


A CBS staff announcer, whom Larry met by chance, told him to go to Florida, a growing media market where openings still existed for inexperienced broadcasters. Larry on the advice of the announcer hopped on a bus to Miami. After many initial set backs, Larry through great persistence landed his first job in radio. The manager of a small station, WAHR (now WMBM in Miami Beach) hired him to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. Just like in the movies when one of their announcers quit, it put Larry on the air. His first broadcast was on May 1, 1957, where he worked as the disc jockey from 9 a.m. to noon. He also, did two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast. He was paid a whopping $55 a week. He acquired the name Larry King when the general manager said that Zeiger was too ethnic, difficult to remember and spell, and instead suggested the surname King, which he got from an ad in The Miami Herald for King's Wholesale Liquor. He started interviewing on a midmorning show for WIOD, at Pumpernik's Restaurant in Miami Beach. He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert, walked into Pumpernick's as a result of hearing King's show on his radio. Darin became King's first celebrity interview guest. It makes you now think, who was actually the lucky one?


His Miami radio show launched him to local stardom. A few years later, in May 1960, he hosted Miami Undercover, airing Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WPST-TV Channel 10 (now WPLG). Larry moderated debates on important issues of the time. King credits his success on local TV to the assistance of showbiz legend, comedian Jackie Gleason, whose national TV variety show was being filmed in Miami Beach during this period. “That show really took off because Gleason came to Miami," King said in a 1996 interview he gave when inducted into the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. "He did that show and stayed all night with me. We stayed up together until five in the morning. He didn't like the set, so we broke into the general manager's office and changed the set. Gleason changed the set, he changed the lighting, and he became like a mentor of mine."


WIOD gave King further exposure as the color commentator for the Miami Dolphins broadcasts during the early part of the Miami Dolphins' perfect season of 1971-72. Unfortunately, he was dismissed by radio station WIOD and television station WTVJ as a late-night radio host and sports commentator as of December 20, 1971, when he was arrested. Other staffers covered the Dolphins' games into the final days of the 1972 winning season. He also lost his weekly column at the Miami Beach Sun newspaper.


Later, King did color announcing for the old Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League in 1974-75.


Larry King has been married eight times to seven different women. With wife Shawn he has two children: Chance, born March 9, 1999, and Cannon, born May 22, 2000. He is step-father to Danny Southwick. Larry has three adult children from previous marriages: Andy and Chaia (with Alene Akins) and Larry Jr. born November 1961 (with Annette Kaye), whom King first met in 2009. Larry Jr. has three children.


In the May 2009 interview with Anderson Cooper, King revealed that he was raised in a Jewish home but now is an atheist since1997. Dove Books published a book written by Larry and Chaia, "Daddy Day, Daughter Day". A true story of divorce as told from both a child's and father's point of view, for children 5 to 8.


Currently, Larry is the host of CNN’s Larry King Live, the first worldwide phone-in TV talk show. He celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting in 2007. The Emmy Award-winner has been dubbed “the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever” by TV Guide and “master of the mike” by TIME magazine.  Described as the “Muhammad Ali of the broadcast interview,” he has been inducted into five of the nation’s leading broadcasting halls of fame and has interviewed every U.S. President since Richard Nixon.  He won the Peabody Award for Excellence in broadcasting for both his radio (1982) and television (1992) shows. In 1989, King was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, in 1996 to the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. In 2002, the industry magazine Talkers named King both the fourth-greatest radio talk show host of all time and the top television talk show host of all time. I think everyone agrees~


King has had such a vast and versatile career. He has made cameo appearances in more than 20 movies, including ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Primary Colors’, ‘America’s Sweethearts’,  ‘Shrek 2’, the 2004 remake of ‘The Stepford Wives’, ‘Bee Movie’, and ‘Swing Vote’. He has appeared in television series such as Law and Order, Boston Legal, The Practice, Murphy Brown, Frasier, Ugly Betty, and 30 Rock.


Larry King just released his definitive memoirs, MY REMARKABLE JOURNEY, published by Weinstein books. I can’t wait to read this fascinating book by such a fascinating human being.


Well, as far as the Larry King Live on stage show at the Encore goes, it was a wonderful time for all. Before he ended the show, he introduced Steve Wynn himself who happened to be sitting right in front of me with his girlfriend Andrea Hissom. It was quite evident that the way they were both laughing hysterically, that they were also having the best time! Larry thanked Steve and stated to the crowd, “They don’t get any better than you Steve, you are more than a hotel owner, you are a great guy!”  He also, introduced Warren Buffett.


I give a huge bravo to Larry King and if you ever have the luck to see him in person, be it a show or convention, simply run…. Larry has an uncanny comedic timing which totally made every funny story go over with a bang. It was obvious that he was having as much fun as the audience was. He is truly a remarkable talent on so many levels.


If you ever want to bump into the King, there is a great chance you will see him having his daily breakfast at Nat and Al’s Deli in L.A. I think I feel a great need right now for a corned beef on Rye. I’m comin’ Larr!



Encore, is the new signature resort in the Wynn collection, opened December 22, 2008. Encore is located immediately adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas and features 2,034 suites, approximately 72,000 square foot casino, 12 food and beverage outlets, a night club, a spa and salon, approximately 60,000 square feet of meeting space and approximately 27,000 square feet of upscale retail outlets.


Mr. Wynn, I feel you should invite the King back for an ENCORE!