RIP Larry King – The “Muhammad Ali Of The Broadcast Interview”

As fans have no doubt heard by now, Larry King has passed away at the age of 87. King, who interviewed just about everybody during his “Larry King Live” show on CNN, a show that ran for 25 years, spoke with a number of prominent boxers during his career. The TV icon also became good friends with Muhammad Ali. The written tribute used in the title above, written about King by his colleagues at CNN, says it all.

King was welcomed into millions of households each night his show was on the air. At its peak, “Larry King Live” pulled in 1.5 million viewers a night. It was perhaps fitting that King paid the leading tribute to Ali when he passed away in June of 2016; King’s heartfelt tribute a powerful and moving one. Some of the other great fighters King interviewed include Mike Tyson (with Tyson speaking from behind bars and, in a second interview, as a free man), Floyd Mayweather, Evander Holyfield, and George Foreman.

With his relaxed, easygoing style and approach, King got the best out of his guests. There were not too many TV giants Tyson would have agreed to speak with whilst serving time in prison in 1992, yet Tyson trusted King. So too did King’s many millions of viewers/fans, along with his other famous guests.

Regarding the relationship King had with “The Greatest,” Larry first met a young Ali back when he was still known as Cassius Clay, and the two shared “57 years of friendship,” according to King himself. “I interviewed him 100 times,” King said of Ali. “He was the best. There was nobody in second place.” As tributes now come pouring in for King – who is estimated to have conducted a staggering 40,000 interviews during his career – here’s a look back at when Ali pretended to throw a punch at King during their 1980 interview.

“I asked him a question,” King said to People in looking back on the Ali interview, “Suddenly his eyes turned menacing, and he lifted his hand at me. I ducked away, and he could tell I was scared. Then he laughed. ‘Aren’t you dumb,’ he said. ‘I just got through telling you how I put people on, and you fall for it.’”

There are not too many people who would have got away with calling Larry King dumb. This giant of television will be sorely, sorely missed.