Skip to main content

Larry King on missed interviews, life after nightly show

By Katie McLaughlin, CNN
Click to play
Larry King the Improv
  • Larry King ended his nightly CNN show last December
  • In "Truth Be Told," King talks about memorable guests and best moments of his career
  • Interviews that got away: Bruce Springsteen, Fidel Castro, the pope, Dean Martin
  • Larry King will soon embark on a comedy tour

(CNN) -- In his latest book, "Truth Be Told: Off the Record about Favorite Guests, Memorable Moments, Funniest Jokes, and a Half Century of Asking Questions,"Larry King takes a revealing, entertaining and heartfelt look back at over 50 years of interviewing guests -- including the greatest gets and the ones that got away.

King hosted "Larry King Live" on CNN for 25 years. He now anchors specials on the network several times a year and is gearing up to start his stand-up comedy tour soon. asked Larry King what he misses most about doing a nightly show.

"Doing it when a major event occurs," King said. "When Osama bin Laden gets shot, you want to get in and do the show. Or Japan, or Gadhafi."

What doesn't King miss?

"I don't miss the tabloid elements. I don't miss Paris Hilton. Some people have an interest in that stuff, and I did a professional job when I did it. For example, I had no interest in the royals. I do miss major stuff."

As for the ones that got away, King said his wish list consisted of "Bruce Springsteen, Fidel Castro, the pope, Dean Martin ... not many. I would have loved to have interviewed Harry Truman when I was in radio."

Which historical figures would he have liked to interview?

"There would be a proviso: Do they know what's happened since they've been gone? If they did, I would interview Lincoln, and ask him what he thinks of the civil rights movement and how far black equality has come since the Civil War.

"I would interview Christ and ask him what he makes of Baptists, Protestants and Catholics since he died a Jew. I'd have to take him to a synagogue, which would be the only place he'd relate to.

"I'd also ask Hitler about the state of Europe today, particularly the state of Germany. But Lincoln would be first; and then, of course, God."

What was the most outrageous thing one of King's one of his guests ever did on air?

"Mel Brooks told a story of how Jews die: they die singing. Then he sang a song in which he jumped on the table and screamed the end of the song 'Dancing in the Dark' and then collapsed into the chair.

Circling back to King's latest book, we asked him what he learned about himself during the writing process.

"I learned that this too shall pass," King told "And that I have resilience and that there is life after your life. There is an afterlife without dying, and it's better than dying."