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Larry King: 45 Years in Broadcasting, Part I

Aired June 1, 2002 - 21:00   ET


WALTER CRONKITE, GUEST HOST: Tonight, celebrate 45 years of broadcasting history.


LARRY KING: Good evening, I'm Larry King. History has always been a wilderness of events.

Is it hard to drive by the Watergate?

The famous kid from Hoboken is internationally known.


CRONKITE: The best of our 40,000 interviews. Welcome to LARRY KING: 45 YEARS OF BROADCASTING. Thank you for joining us. I'm Walter Cronkite. Tonight, the first of two specials honoring Larry King's 45 years in broadcasting.

Tomorrow, we'll focus on Larry's knack for making and breaking news, and his coverage of some of the major events of the past four and a half decades.

But tonight, it's glitz and glamour, as well as true life crime and punishment. A great many people dream of breaking into broadcasting. Not many of them actually make it to the mike, even fewer endure.

Larry King kicked off his career in broadcasting on May 1, 1957 at WAHR in Miami Beach. Dwight Eisenhower was in the middle of his second term as president. 1957 was the year "Leave it to Beaver" premiered on TV. The number one song was "Don't Forbid Me" by Pat Boone, and the "Bridge on the River Kwai" was a hit at the movies.

Forty-five years later, Larry King is the host of a TV talk show seen around the world. One of the reasons for his broadcast longevity, remarkable guests. Some of his interview subjects genuinely merit the adjective legendary.


KING: He once said sex is God's joke on human beings.

BETTE DAVIS, ACTRESS: I think it is, because during the sexual time, oh the person is divine. There comes a day and you look ...

KING: The day after.

DAVIS: And you say, "what did I see in this?" No, it takes longer than that.

KING: Were you a ladies man early?

GEORGE BURNS, ACTOR: No. I was never great, even for a married guy, I was never a great lover.

KING: You were not?


KING: Well, how did this image get going?

BURNS: I made Gracie laugh. I made Gracie laugh, sense of humor. After you're married 25 years and you get in bed with your wife, it's easy to make her laugh, and I made Gracie laugh.

KING: In other words, you were -- this image of George Burns sexy, you're admitting here today...

BURNS: No. I didn't need any women when I was young. I could do it myself.

KING: Do you know it's funny before you say it?

BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: Well you got a better idea than anybody else, you know.

KING: It made you laugh?

HOPE: Yes, because you know from experience. You know what's pretty funny. I mean that's the whole thing. If you don't know what's funny, you better not be in business.

KING: Do you now regret having ever smoked?

SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: No. I'll never smoke cigarettes again, of course never, but I ...

KING: Not any more?

DAVIS: No. I can't be hypocritical. As much joy as I got out of lighting a cigarette and doing the jokes.

KING: You had signs in your dressing room, "please smoke."

DAVIS: Please smoke.

KING: Yes.

DAVIS: And, you know, so what am I going to say now because it happened to me, of course it's dumb, Larry. Of course it's dumb. It's like whatever caused your ill effects with your body.

KING: You smoked. It's stupid, dumb, why do you do dumb things?

DAVIS: There you go. It's dumb but I also that morning puff, that's what I miss.

KING: His was how to be frank. Whether it was his favorite, it was certainly the most identified with? What was yours?

VINCENT PRICE, ACTOR: I think my favorite of the ones I've done is a picture called "Theater of Blood."

KING: Oh, what a picture.

PRICE: It was really a wonderful picture.

KING: Where you killed all these actors.

PRICE: I killed all the critics.

KING: The critics.

PRICE: The critics. It was one of the most joyous moments of my life. Every actor who was in it felt very great sympathy for me.

KING: And you killed them brutally?

PRICE: Brutally.

KING: Did you think, Jimmy, that "Rear Window" would work, having you in one room for the whole movie?

JAMES STEWART, ACTOR: Well, I -- it really scared me when I got it and read the script and so on and realized that, but having Hitchcock do it, I just -- I had complete faith in him that things would work out all right.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACTRESS: When I went to, when I was pronounced dead and went through that tunnel vision experience, I saw Mike.

KING: You're kidding me or not?

TAYLOR: No, I'm not. I'm not kidding you. I went and I saw the white light and Mike, I ran to and I was home and the white light was so welcoming and warm, and I was finally happy. He'd been dead three years, and I said "oh God, Mike, I'm home. I'm home."

And he said, "no, you have to fight to go back. You have so much more to do and you have to fight." And he said, he turned me around and he said, "you must go back. I'll be here waiting for you."


CRONKITE: Well many of Larry's celebrity guests gained their fame being larger than life on the silver screen. Others made their mark thanks to the little box there in the corner of the family living room. They were TV's trailblazers, like Milton Berle.



KING: God created the earth in six days because he didn't have to wait for a legal opinion.

BERLE: No good.

KING: No good?

BERLE: You got to believe. No. No. No good.

KING: I don't do one-liners. I do stories.

BERLE: No, I know you do stories. I know. I heard them all. I heard all the stories about you in all the papers, but that's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about doing this. You got to take your time. You got to set the setting for the audience, the image. Do you know that God created, and really be serious and be honest and true as you are on your own show.

KING: You know that God created the earth in only six days.

BERLE: Really?

KING: Because he didn't have a legal opinion.

Are you a believer in psychic phenomena or are you what we would call intellectually curious about it?


KING: Well, you know, let's...

GLEASON: ESP, I certainly believe in that and I have to believe in it because it's been proven.

KING: That we can communicate without verbally?

GLEASON: Absolutely.

KING: I know that there are very few talents that can do this in the world, but if I were to say that you were the great Japanese doctor who ...


KING: Now, on the other hand, Dr. Fritz Kleim (ph) of Germany disagrees with that.


KING: You don't agree.


KING: You still have some feeling for Lucy, do you not?

DESI ARNAZ, ACTOR: Of course, I love her, maybe in a different way, my own peculiar way perhaps, but I'm tremendously fond of Lucy and we're very good friends. As a matter of fact, I think we're better friends now than we were married.

KING: What you want in an interview is, you want passion. You want an ability to explain what you do very well, a little bit of a sense of humor and a little bit of a chip on the shoulder. If you have all the four of those things, you should be a great guest. Sinatra had all four.

Why don't you do more interviews?

FRANK SINATRA, SINGER: Nobody invites me. I'm serious. I'm quite serious. We don't get many calls for me to sit down and chat and do interviews.

KING: You don't get many. Do you think it's because they think you won't come?

SINATRA: Maybe. That's possible, you know. In some cases, I probably wouldn't do it because of either the person, himself or herself, or their attitude about things, maybe would rub me the wrong way.

KING: Is it still a kick when the man says, "and now ladies and gentlemen" -- they don't even say it, I guess, anymore. You just walk out, right?

SINATRA: No, they make an announcement.

KING: Ladies and gentlemen -- what's your kick?

SINATRA: Frank Sinatra.

KING: That's still a kick?

SINATRA: Absolutely, and the first I swear on my mother's soul, the first four or five seconds, I tremble every time I take the step and I walk out of the wing onto the stage, because I keep thinking to myself, I wonder if it will be there when I go for the first sounds that I have to make, will it be there?


CRONKITE: Ahead, Larry King behind bars, interviews with a woman on the brink of execution, the man who gunned down John Lennon, and much more.


MARY TYLER MOORE: Happy 45th Anniversary, Larry. I don't know what I'd do without you. REGIS PHILBIN: Hey, happy anniversary, Larry, 45 years, boy you got me beat by a couple of those, but anyway you've been just terrific.



CRONKITE: During the past 45 years, most of Larry King's guests have come to him, but when an interview involves a convicted killer, a sit down in a studio just isn't an option. Case in point, Karla Faye Tucker. She spoke with Larry in 1998 shortly before she became the first women executed in Texas since 1863.


KING: What's it like to kill someone?

KARLA FAYE TUCKER: It's horrible. I mean to know that you take a human life, a very valuable, precious human life, it's probably the most horrible thing anybody could do and I try not to take myself back to that night.

KING: Oh, it was tough. She was on death row and Governor Bush, then Governor Bush said he watched that interview and it moved him but it didn't help her. I felt very sorry for Karla Faye Tucker.

Do you think about being executed?

TUCKER: I have thought about it. It's not something that I focus on.

KING: You got to think about it.

TUCKER: But I think about it more now than I used to, but I realize that today there's stuff to be done, and I have to allow God to keep me focused on what's for today while I share my heart with him about what may happen whenever. But if I let myself think too much about yesterday or tomorrow in that sense, I don't think I could stay as focused and we've got to stay focused on it.

DAVID BERKOWITZ, "SON OF SAM": I felt somehow invincible. I felt that I had this power and I was -- unknown to me, I was slowly being led down a path of destruction and ...

KING: Did it give you a heart? In other words, what was the plus for you? There had to be a plus. What did you get out of this?

BERKOWITZ: Nothing. Nothing.

KING: So you were not happy when you were doing this?

BERKOWITZ: No. No. I just felt like a brainwashed robot.

KING: Really?

BERKOWITZ: I just felt -- yes.

KING: What is that like?

BERKOWITZ: I just like felt I had no mind. I felt something else was controlling.

MARK DAVID CHAPMAN: I had a black Bic pen and I said, "John, would you sign my album," and he said, "sure." Yoko went and got into the car, and he pushed the button on the pen and started to get it to write. It was a little hard to get it to write at first. Then he wrote his name, John Lennon, and then underneath that, 1980 and he looked at me, as I mentioned earlier.

He said, "is that all? Do you want anything else?" And I felt then and now that he knew something subconsciously that he was looking into the eyes of the person that was going to kill him.

SANTE KIMES, CONVICTED MURDERER: Yes, I made mistakes, but nothing, nothing that is really kind of like that.

KING: So the obvious question is, why you? Why are they going to pick, why you and your son? I mean they have a missing lady who's quite aged.


KING: Right?


KING: Why you?

KIMES: Because we just happened to be there at the apartment and they made the worst mistake in history. That's what -- in England they're labeling it the worst unjust mistake in the history of the United States.

KING: Is there any Mike self-blame? Is there any time you say, "I caused what happened, even though I may be innocent, there's a part of me that caused me to be here?"

MIKE TYSON, BOXER: Oh, there's no doubt about it. We write our own story in life. Whatever we do, whatever good we do in life, we get good in return and whatever ill we do, we get ill in return. There's no doubt about it.

KING: So you think you're paying for something now?

TYSON: Well, I think I used bad judgment and I mean I had to deal with the circumstances that I do believe was normally unfair circumstances, but regardless of the circumstances, I have to deal with it.


CRONKITE: Larry King's microphone has been a magnet for people in trouble. The talk can be sad as well as shocking.


DR. JACK KEVORKIAN: I can look right straight now at the prosecutor in this county. I dare you to charge me, D-A-R-E. If you don't, you're either a coward or a liar.

KING: Why won't you? Simply put, it was asked of Nixon and why won't you talk about it? Why won't you say...

SENATOR GARY HART: Well, Larry I've talked about it endlessly. I've talked about a relationship or a non-relationship or whatever you want to call it -- acquaintance -- more on national television. I did something that was unprecedented in this nation's history on network television in September, confessed adultery. I think that's far and away farther than anyone ought to go.

KING: Did you have a relationship with Chandra Levy?

REP. GARY CONDIT (D), CALIFORNIA: You know, we're not going to go into that. I mean you know I'm not going to talk about Chandra Levy. I'm not going to say anything that would hurt or ...

KING: Why not say no?

CONDIT: I'm just not going to get into that.

KING: All right. When that...

CONDIT: I mean...

KING: I'll tell you the reaction -- I'm just giving you a straight reaction here. I got no opinion. This show has no agenda. I would imagine a person sitting at home, hearing a question like that would say, "I'd say no if it's no, and I'd say yes if it's yes, but when I say I'm not going to answer it, it means yes."

CONDIT: Yes, but there's a whole bunch of people sitting at home saying it's none of my business.

KING: Does a whole career have to end because of one fateful day?

COMMANDER SCOTT WADDLE: It does. I mean, how ...

KING: You agree with that?

WADDLE: I agree with that. How can you retain confidence in a captain when an accident of this proportion occurs?

KING: Did you bet on your own team when you managed the Reds?

PETE ROSE: Are you asking me that question?

KING: Yes.

ROSE: Why are you asking that question?

KING: Because that would be the reason ...

ROSE: Well, no.

KING: ... to suspend someone for life.

ROSE: Sure.

KING: Because that would affect the way you manage.

ROSE: Sure, but you have to understand one thing. You have to understand one thing that when I signed the agreement with Bart Giamatti, the agreement said there would be no finding or denial that Pete Rose bet on baseball. And when I signed that, that put that to bed as far as I'm concerned.


CRONKITE: Did Pete Rose bet on baseball? We may never know. Another unsolved mystery is much more chilling. The 1996 killing of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains an open and controversial police case, part of its fallout, bitterness between her parents and an investigator who has alleged that Patsy Ramsey killed her little girl.


PATSY RAMSEY: How is it exactly that you think that I killed my daughter?

KING: What's the motive?

P. RAMSEY: I just can not understand that. I want to hear it from start to finish.

THOMAS: Patsy.

P. RAMSEY: Tell me exactly what happened.

THOMAS: You were home that night and apparently you say -- you can't say ...

P. RAMSEY: Tell me what happened, Mr. Thomas.

JOHN RAMSEY: You can't say for certainty. Patsy, you could have been arrested in this case.

P. RAMSEY: I wish I had been and then we would have had a free and fair trial and you would have met your Waterloo, Mr. Thomas.

THOMAS: Are you saying that you would have ...

J. RAMSEY: Let's talk about the...

THOMAS: Let her answer the question, John. (CROSSTALK)

J. RAMSEY: You have assaulted my client.

THOMAS: Why won't you let her answer my question?

J. RAMSEY: Because you have assaulted her, you've called her a murderer. You have checked 73 suspects and said because Patsy's handwriting was the only one that couldn't be eliminated, therefore she is the murderer. That is absurd.


CRONKITE: When we return, Larry King talks to sports stars, scientific geniuses and key players in an evangelical scandal.


JUDGE JUDY SHEINDLIN: Larry, you are the ultimate guest-friendly host. Thank you for nurturing me through my appearances. Happy 45 years in the business. My love.

JOHN WALSH, HOST, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: Larry, congratulations on 45 years in the broadcasting business. In my book, you are one of the most wanted personalities on the air.



CRONKITE: Larry King did some sports in his early days on radio, including providing commentary for the Miami Dolphins football games on WIOD. He's also been described as the Muhammad Ali of broadcasting, small wonder then that he enjoys interviewing athletes.


MICHAEL JORDAN, ATHLETE: There are a lot of guys who can run and jump and probably shoot, but if they don't have the instinct or the confidence in themselves to perform those skills.

KING: Where does that come from, from you do you think?

JORDAN: I think it's a combination of my mother and my father and my family, my competition within my family.

KING: To win?

JORDAN: To succeed, win, at everything that we basically did.

KING: The tournament you won, the famed Masters, blacks couldn't play in?


KING: Not too long ago? WOODS: Yes, 1975 was the first time they could play.

KING: Yes, did you feel -- was that part of that win too? Did you feel it sort of, yes?

WOODS: While I was walking up 18, I had a number of emotions go through me, but one of them was, you know what, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Thanks. That's nice that you remembered.

WOODS: Hey, it's because of them I was there.

KING: Do you go to baseball? Do you work around, do you see games?

MICKEY MANTLE: Well, it's pretty hard to go to the game.

KING: Why?

MANTLE: Well, I can't go sit in the stands.

KING: Yankees play the Rangers, who do you root for?

MANTLE: I'm still Yankees, Mattingly, Yankees, Showalter.

KING: Not going to take that out of you?

MANTLE: No, I'll always be a Yankee.

KING: What do you do, can you explain or is it too technical, what you do with a 285-pound guy who is coming straight for you and you know you're going to get it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's very easy. All you do is try to get out of his way, just the least little bit. That's all you need. I mean you just sidestep a little bit. If he's coming full force, he's not going to be able to change direction very quickly.

MAGIC JOHNSON, ATHLETE: The virus acts different in everybody, see and so it may react different in me and I'm sitting here like this, but somebody else has the same virus it may react (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: So there's no way they can tell you, you're going to get AIDS in 1998?

JOHNSON: Exactly.

KING: Or when you're going to get it?

JOHNSON: No question about it.

KING: Are you going to get it?

JOHNSON: Well...

KING: In other words, does everybody who's HIV eventually get it?


KING: No. So you got a hell of a chance to live a long, complete life?

JOHNSON: Exactly.


CRONKITE: From the athletic to the intellectual, after 45 years in the business, Larry King's guest list isn't just long. It also shows tremendous range; one special interview subject, a scientist whose brilliant mind is imprisoned within a ruined body.


KING: What in your area of study, Stephen, do we know the least about?

DR. STEPHEN HAWKING: We feel we are tantalizing close to a complete unified theory, but we might be miles away or barking up the wrong tree. If I had a wish, it would be to know whether we are on the right track.

CARL SAGAN: You can see that if you have a universe of stars, some big and bright and some small and dim, you're going to see the bright ones and you're not going to see the dim ones. And it turns out that there's more dim ones than bright ones down to the level that you can see. Might there be a huge, fantastic number of faintly glowing small stars?

KING: This fascinates me about astronomers. OK, let's say there are.

SAGAN: Right.

KING: Then what? So what?

Commander Bob Cabana, do you feel movement or do you see the movement of the earth below you? How can you describe that for us?

ROBERT CABANA, COMMANDER, COLUMBIA SPACE SHUTTLE: Well, I honestly feel no movement. All you do is see with your eyes the earth moving below you. It's like you just perfectly still and floating. A slight demonstration here, I can just sit totally free and if I just let go of everything without any range, I'm not moving at all. I can just...


CRONKITE: Every once in a while, Larry's done broadcasts where the fur started to fly and feather got ruffled and then there have been the shows with Jack Hanna and his animals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACK HANNA: Now the Spider Monkey, Larry, saved a lot of troops ...

KING: He's nice.

HANNA: ... in the rainforest. They actually spend all their time in trees eating fruit, bananas, vegetables, that type of thing. But again, what we want people to realize ,,,

KING: I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it. I swear I didn't mean it. I just wanted to touch your tail.

HANNA: He's fine.

KING: That's fine?

HANNA: It's that vocalization that they do when they're in the rainforest.

KING: What's he like when he's ticked?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The average weight in our division now is like 360 pounds.

KING: And you weigh how much?


KING: What did you have for breakfast today?


KING: This is the time he and Darva have been together, the first time interviewed together and first time together in a year since that day. Well, how do you feel?


DARVA CONGER: Hello, Rick, how are you?

ROCKWELL: I'm doing well. I've been worried sick about you.

CONGER: Wondering where I got to, didn't see me anywhere?

KING: What were you worried about?

ROCKWELL: I'm joking, Larry. Yes.


CRONKITE: Theater of the absurd? Perhaps so, but the made for TV story of Rick and Darva seems almost mundane when compared with the incredible saga of Jim and Tammy Faye, the story of their fall from evangelical grace had it all, including plenty of on-air venom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING: When you see people still sending money to Jim Baker, how does it make you feel?

JESSICA HAHN: I'd like to say, I hate it but I also understand their confusion. I really do. I understand where they're at. It's not a money thing. It's more of a trust thing, and I understand that.

It just makes me angry that the games Jim and Tammy and Jerry and Jimmy Swaggart and all of the rest of them play, that this is a big game. It's not. Those people love him and they, you know, look up to him and they're precious, and he, you know, in turn walks around waving and crying and taking advantage. That's wrong.

KING: How about Tammy? How do you feel about her?

HAHN: She needs to grow up.

KING: What do you think all of this is doing to the image of the evangelist in general?

JIMMY SWAGGART: Well, of course when dirty linen like this is aired in public, well of course it gets very, very ugly, which this has and it makes me very sad, very sorry. And in one sense of the word, it's a sad day for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in another sense of the word, it's a very glad day.

JIM BAKKER: I realize I had the affair. I'm the one who screwed up, and I left her out there by herself to literally face dying without a husband.

KING: And you're so friendly now, how do you explain that, because I want to get the spouses in here?

TAMMY FAYE BAKKER: I like this man. This man is a really nice man, and we've been friends. We were married for 30 years, and we have wonderful memories together and we have two awesome kids together.

KING: We're going to meet them.

T. BAKKER: And I like Jim.

ORAL ROBERTS: When I got up in January and said it, there had to be something in my voice, because all of a sudden the entire media headline, God said he's going to kill Oral Roberts. I said, "oh no. No. He didn't say that." Well, you're blackmailing the people. You're holding them hostage. I never read such stuff in my life.

KING: Well, but you were in a sense -- not blackmail. Weren't you saying, if I don't get this...


KING: ... I'm going to die?

ROBERTS: No. No. No. KING: Can you explain what happens when you pray, what do you do? Who are you talking to? Are you asking for something?

BILLY GRAHAM: I believe that -- no. I believe that the greatest form of prayer is praise to God. We have to praise him because he is the mighty power back of this vast universe. Even Hubble hasn't found yet the end of this universe, and we don't know that it has an end. But back of all that, is a supernatural being that we call God. And if I know God personally, as I believe I do, that is so overwhelming there's no way to conceive it, no way for me to think about it.


CRONKITE: In addition to offering spiritual guidance to millions of ordinary people, the Reverend Billy Graham has counseled many American presidents, among them the father of the charismatic young man Larry spoke with in September of 1995.


KING: Things that have always fascinated us, that famous picture that you must have seen half a zillion times, the little boy, remember that?

JOHN F. KENNEDY, JR.: I think that what happens is that you see an image so many times that...

KING: You sort of believe it?

KENNEDY: -- you begin to believe, remember the image, but I'm not sure I really do.

KING: But probably memories of your father are not great?

KENNEDY: They're great but they're not plentiful.

KING: More of your uncle Robert, right?

KENNEDY: They're more vivid of him, I mean I was...

KING: You were how old when he died?

KENNEDY: I was 8.

KING: So that's a vivid memory to you?

KENNEDY: Fairly, yes. He was a very vivid character. He was quite a forceful presence.


CRONKITE: Still ahead, highlights of rare conversations with Sir Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand. Plus, when is a kiss not just a kiss? Well, here's a hint, think Marlon Brando.


"HOMER SIMPSON": It's a good book. On tape. Oh, it's written by Larry King.



SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR: I'm always frank and earnest with women. In New York, I'm Frank. In Chicago, I'm Ernest.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't get away from that guy, he's everywhere.

KING: Are you saying this is a conspiracy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am saying this is a conspiracy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baby, listen to this fascist gas bag.

KING: Tonight, an aide of Governor Jack Stanton has asked to join us in order to play a tape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could be there in 15 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could come over there, sugar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. No. I can't wait. I have to have it now, OK?




KING: Let's face it, I'm going to have to do a show on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God, oh, Larry, come on, do you have to?


CRONKITE: Welcome back. I'm Walter Cronkite. That was Larry King playing himself in the movies. I think he's got the part down cold. He should after spending 45 years at the microphone. Tonight, we're showing you highlights from some of the more than 40,000 interviews Larry's done. Many of them have involved marquee names, "A" list award-winning movie stars.


KING: Why do you dislike interviews?

AL PACINO, ACTOR: Well, I don't -- I think it's because it starts with the whole idea of being an actor, which is something that is kind of the anonymity of an actor. The more anonymous you are, the easier it is for an audience to accept you in a role. I think it starts there, and it's also basically because I think I'm somewhat shy.

KING: Is it difficult when you see films of yourself walking?

CHRISTOPHER REEVE: No, because I'm glad that -- I have to say I'm very glad this happened to me at 42 and not at 22 or at 12 or at 15. That's what really breaks my heart, when I see kids that haven't had a life. I've had wonderful opportunities. I got a lot of good mileage behind me and I've also got a lot of good mileage ahead of me too.

KING: Did you ever question whether telethons were using pity? One of the early critiques of them...

JERRY LEWIS: No, compassion, Larry, is not pity. Compassion and concern for someone that you care about is not pity. I can't even sit here and defend the conduct. It raised a billion $350 million from the American people who believe what we're doing is noble work.

KING: There was a story in the "L.A. Times" in which the two of you totally disagree as to how you met. You say it was in Sardis.


KING: You're positive it was at Sardis?

LEMMON: I'm convinced it was at Sardis.

KING: You'd bet on it?


KING: And you say it's where?

WALTER MATTHAU: I would never bet on it. He may be right.

KING: Where do you think it was?

MATTHAU: Well, I thought it was a Jewish delicatessen in Brentwood, where he was ordering fried shrimp and a chocolate frappe. I said any schmuck who orders fried shrimp and a chocolate frappe in a Jewish deli can't be all bad.

TOM CRUISE: I don't know what to wear when I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you know.


CRUISE: I am the goddamn shore patrol.

KING: But this is the first time we're together.


KING: It was always -- want to do that again?


KING: Go ahead. They pay me for this. This is a good job.


CRONKITE: In addition to movie stars, Larry has played host to many of the music world's top talents, among them Barbra Streisand.


BARBRA STREISAND: Now I'm frightened when I sing, which is in my (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I mean I know I sort of do that well.

KING: Sort of?

STREISAND: Well, you know what I mean. So to speak about my -

KING: You mean you're frightened about, will I do well? Will I sing well?

STREISAND: I got past that. In other words, what I got past was looking for perfection. I was able to say no, this is in the moment. This is spontaneous and this is as good as I can do right now and it will have to be good enough, and I am good enough.

KING: Most people change but not dramatic. You go dramatic.

MADONNA: Well that's why I like to call myself a performance artist, because what I do is I sort of like just collect ideas, you know, whether it's paintings or film or literature or to capture in history. I like to sort of appropriate things.

KING: Do you enjoy it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. You wouldn't enjoy like millions of girls screaming Larry. You're on to something there.

KING: The nursing home. Do you ever think that he got more credit than you?

SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY: No. What's happened since he died is that certain ...

KING: Martyrdom. MCCARTNEY: ... certain people, there's a martyrdom that -- I had an interview on the day he died where he said the last thing I want to ever be is a martyr. Of course, that is what happened.

KING: When they die young.

MCCARTNEY: You can't blame people, you know. There's a lot of sympathy. It's such a shocking way to go that you want to try to give him everything you can, but the trouble is there was a little bit of revisionism where certain people were saying, well the only thing Paul ever did was "book the studio." That kind of thing gets a little bit up your nose, you know.


CRONKITE: Larry has had an opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in television too, including the queen of daytime talk.


OPRAH WINFREY: See, I've made some commitments to be a syndicated talk show host, which is going to make me a very wealthy woman. So I not only -- because it's syndicated around the country, but I appreciate talk.

I believe that what you do and what I do is very important in this country, because there are so many people who sit at home alone and don't recognize their sense of aloneness.

They believe that they're the only person in the world who has suffered some tragedy, who has had some dilemma going on in their lives and they watch us and they say, hey I'm not the only one. Not only am I not the only one, but if she did it I can do it too.

KING: You didn't go to funerals. You don't like funerals.


KING: That had to be the hardest.

COSBY: No, it was wonderful. It was wonderful and it was kind of spooky. We were all there and Ennis (ph) was coming home. When it was over, Larry, we all went back up that hill towards the house and I said to my brother Russell, we went downhill carrying that coffin, feeling like slaves and we're going up hill feeling like free people.

KING: People say comedy is a difficult thing. Comedy is hard to do. Was it hard to do?

MARY TYLER MOORE: Well, no, not for me but I respect it and I think it takes something with which you're born. You have to have a love of humor. You have to be happy to be around humor.

KING: Timing is natural to you, Dick?

DICK VAN DYKE: Yes. I find comedy easy and straight acting very difficult.

KING: Really?



CRONKITE: You know there's a saying it's good to be king. I'm sure Larry would agree, but the fact is he wasn't born a king. He was born Lawrence Zieger in Brooklyn, New York. His broadcasting ambitions began at an early age.


KING: I would be 5 years old and I would want to be an announcer. I'd stare at the radio. I'd imitate radio announcers. I would go to -- when I was ten years old, I'd go to baseball games at Ebbets Field and I'd roll up the scorecard and broadcast the game to myself.


CRONKITE: To realize his dreams, he went south to Florida to break into radio. He eventually did TV and newspaper work there too. In 1978, the Mutual Radio Network tapped Larry to do a live national phone-in interview show.

His first shot at national TV talk came in 1983, with a syndicated show distributed by host NEWSWEEK. That program caught the eye of CNN's founder Ted Turner. He brought Larry King to the network in 1985.


KING: Good evening, my name is Larry King and this is the premiere edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." Every night at this time, we'll be here for one hour. We're going to meet fascinating people from all walks of life, talk to them about things they're interested in. I'll ask some questions. We'll take some calls. We hope that you enjoy this kind of alternative to prime time programming, rather than murder, mayhem, sex, violence. We'll bring you all of those but disguised as talk with questions.

Someone once said, "I never learned anything when I was talking," and that's the symbol of my professional life. I never learned a thing when I was talking, so I decided it's better to ask.

I think you're going to learn more than you knew before it started. You're going to be info-tained, that is you'll learn a lot while it presents it in an entertaining fashion.

To deny the entertaining value of it is to say, well I could read from an encyclopedia and you'd learn more than you knew before you watched, but it would be boring, where I don't think we're ever boring.




KING: Well, my favorite guests generally have been comics, Mel Brooks. Don Rickles, and all the great comics that I've had, because I like to laugh.


CRONKITE: You'll laugh too when we return.


DIANE SAWYER: Forty-five years, 45 years, you rock. You rule.

TOM BROKAW: Larry, 45 years, that's great. You and Marconi, together at the beginning, together at the end, congratulations.

MIKE WALLACE: Forty-five years, you're barely on Social Security as far as I can make out. Larry, hang in there. America loves you.




JON STEWART: Hey Larry, happy 45th. I only thought he was married 33 times, but it -- oh that's years on the air. I'm sorry. Well, happy 45 years on the air. That's impressive as well.

CONAN O'BRIEN: Hello, Larry, and happy 45 years in broadcasting. I just hope that when I've been in broadcasting for 45 years I have the good sense to get out.


CRONKITE: Listening is something that Larry King does very well. He also is a man who loves to laugh. During his 45 years in broadcasting, he's heard, seen and even done a lot of funny stuff.


NORM MACDONALD: What is the key to be a good interviewer?

KING: The key?

MACDONALD: The key to being a good interviewer.

KING: Is being a good listener.

MACDONALD: What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just had an intern who ran screaming and crying from the studio moments before we took the air.

JAY LENO: Here we go.

KING: Where's the camera?

LENO: They went to get the camera. Larry, why don't you hit on her.

KING: Where's the camera?

LENO: We're taking up a collection, to get Larry King a sport coat, ladies and gentlemen.

JOAN RIVERS: There's a little thing called plastic surgery.

KING: How can you lie down with a guy who's going to cut your face?

RIVERS: Well, that was my marriage.

KING: How did Jim Carey ...

JIM CAREY: Well, you know how to make a guy relax, I'll tell you that much.

KING: Stop. And if the volunteers come for you, you're running?

DANA CARVEY: If the volunteers want me to make love to a rhino I will, but heck it's up to the volunteers. Larry, I don't like rhinos. I don't want to make love to a rhino, but if a -- are we live? Not anymore. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) take him out of there.

DON RICKLES: It's a, you know, Mickey Mouse flat.

KING: What do you mean a Mickey Mouse flat?

RICKLES: Well, this is a buck and a half.

KING: Hey, wait a minute.

RICKLES: People in London see it, they think it's a giant set. I walked in here, the guy's in shorts working the camera, one guy. Another guy is in his underwear bringing coffee and three broads are in the sound booth going, we got to get a guy. We got to get a guy. What kind of an organization is this?

CHRIS ROCK: So I'm not even like a master crook, right?

KING: You're a bad thief.

ROCK: Then I meet a white man and he shows me the light. Thank God for whitey.

KING: What is your married name?

MISS PIGGY: Mr. Frog. KERMIT: Guess he got you there, huh? Guess he has you there. What's your married name, Piggy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God, he's going to be friendly to you now.

KING: Are we bringing him to the United States? Is he going to be our American -- don't do that with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Is he going to be on American television? Is he going to be on American television?


KING: He's not going to be on this show anymore. He's going to be on American -- stop it.


CRONKITE: We're not sure what happened to Blobby, but I can tell you he hasn't been live on CNN since that appearance.

Well, that's it for part one of LARRY KING 45 YEARS OF BROADCASTING. We'll be back with another hour of highlights tomorrow evening.

But before we leave today, I'd like to ask Larry just one newsman's question. Larry, how about the suspenders and why?

Well, on the agenda tomorrow, presidential politics.


KING: Having a father who was president, is that a plus for you?


CRONKITE: Breaking news.


KING: Now police radio is saying that Simpson has a gun at his head.


CRONKITE: And the terror attacks on 9/11.


KING: Where are we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well we're pretty much dead center on the tragedy.


CRONKITE: Thank you for watching. I'm Walter Cronkite. Good night.




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