A moment of tribute and respect for a legendary broadcaster and serious talk-show guy who took flight this morning…adieu.
I thought Larry King was out of the woods a few weeks ago when he was released by Cedars Sinai after surviving a Covid infection. When he beat that, I thought “jeez, he’ll probably last until he’s 97 or older…the guy’s a locomotive” But something else took him down. That’s life, old age, genetic destiny, the way it goes.
If you’ve made it to age 87 with your health and wits about you until the very end, you’ve done well by yourself and your kin. If you’ve had a successful, decades-long career and achieved nationwide fame and made a fair amount of dough and brought a certain kind of pleasure to tens of millions…you’ve done exceptionally well.
One of my favorite Larry moments came when he half-insulted CIA spook, Watergate burglar and spy novelist E. Howard Hunt. They were talking about Hunt’s latest book as well as his voluminous output (22 books altogether). Larry regarded Hunt with those bespectacled hawk eyes and said with a straight face, “You just bang ’em out, right?”
“Page Six” item: “In December ’14 I ran a short story on the Weinstein Co.’s Nine luncheon at Per Se, along with some photos. I called it ‘Nine Is A Ten’, but I didn’t explain that the line was a mock-quote fed to me by Forbes.com’s Bill McCuddy, who was joking that CNN’s Larry King (who was also at the luncheon) would eventually pass this quote along to Weinstein Co. publicists about Rob Marshall‘s film. Sure enough, the quote appeared in Friday’s N.Y. Times. McCuddy nailed it before King said it — brilliant.”
I was at that Per Se luncheon also. Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil suggested to a couple of us (McCuddy included) that we approach Larry and remind him that we were the top Oscar handicapping hotshots of New York and Los Angeles and that Larry should have one of us on the show. But I was watching King’s eyes as the conversation began, and the second that Tom said “we’re the Oscar-bloggers, Larry” (he may have used the term “Oscar whisperers”)…the minute O’Neil said this King’s expression narrowed and his face said “yeah, whatever, nice try.”
Except “Oscar whisperers” had just been used by New York magazine’s Boris Kachka in a profile piece about the L.A. Oscar-blogging fraternity (i.e., myself, Sasha Stone, Scott Feinberg, Pete Hammond, Steve Pond, David Poland, Tom O’Neil, Kris Tapley, Anne Thompson, et. al.). And Stephen Rodrick‘s January 2007 Los Angeles piece about the same subject was called “The Blog Whisperers.” So O’Neil wasn’t blowing smoke, and King, due respect, hadn’t been paying attention.