Larry King is an American television and radio host. His name doesn’t need any introduction. Recognized with Peabody’s awards, Emmy Awards, and Cable ACE Awards, Larry is one of the most successful TV personalities. How much is Larry King net worth?
As of 2020, Larry King Net worth is more than $150 million. He earns more per year than most people earn in their lifetime. But with so many years on his resume, he deserves it. His real name is Lawrence Harvey Zeiger. Born in 1933 in Brooklyn, he later changed his name due to better fit the media.
Career Ups and Downs
Larry had to work at a young age. He started working after graduating from high school to help support his mother. And even from his youngest years, he wanted to work in radio broadcasting.
His career started after meeting a CBS staff announcer. He suggested to Larry to go to Florida, at the time, a growing media market with many openings for broadcasters.
He started working on radio for a small station, WAHR in Miami Beach. In the beginning, his job was to clean up and perform miscellaneous tasks. The radio put him on the air after one of the announcers abruptly quit the job. Larry’s first broadcast was on May 1, 1957. Fun fact: he worked as the disk jockey from 9 am to noon and then did two afternoon newscasts.
Larry King acquired the name after the general manager of the radio told him to change it. He said Zeiger was too ethnic and difficult to remember. And just minutes before airtime, Larry chose King, after he saw an advertisement in the Miami Herald for King’s Wholesale Liquor. Two years later, he legally changed his name to Larry King.
Larry began conducting interviews on a mid-morning show for WIOD, at a local restaurant in Miami Beach. He interviewed people walking in. His first celebrity interview guest was Bobby Darin. The radio show brought him local attention.
Fun fact: in the beginning, King was a sports journalist and reporter. By the end of the 1960s, WIOD gave him a job as a color commentator for the Miami Dolphins. On December 20, 1971, he got fired by WIOD and WTVJ as a radio host and sports commentator.
On January 30, 1978, he went national. He inherited the talk show slot that began with Herb Jepko. His Mutual Broadcasting System coast-to-coast broadcast developed a devoted audience.
The plot was simple, he interviewed a guest for 90 minutes and then left 90 minutes for callers to ask questions. And then he continued with the Open Phone America segment, allowing callers to discuss any topic they pleased. At the end of the program, he expressed his own political opinions.
This is the premise of many shows nowadays. King often gave pseudonyms and nicknames to regular callers. For example, he had the Numbers Guy, the Miami Derelict, Scandal Scooper, and many more. He hosted this show until 1994.
At the same time, he hosted the Larry King Live CNN show. This began in 1985, with King hosting a broad range of guests from controversial figures to prominent politicians. What made the show different was his approach.
He had a direct, non-confrontational approach. King has a reputation for asking easy and open-ended questions. This made him attractive to important figures to state their position. He didn’t challenge them on contentious topics. According to CNN, he conducted more than 30,000 interviews in his career.
He also wrote a regular newspaper column in USA Today for 20 years, from 1982 until September 2001.
On June 29, 2010, Larry King announced that he will step down from his nightly job hosting Larry King Live. He remained with CNN to host occasional specials. The final edition of his show aired on December 16, 2010. He concluded with the last thought and a thank you to the audience.
In March 2012, Larry co-founded Ora-TV with Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim. The production company showed Larry King Now. The TV host said he plans to host the program until he dies.
The company signed a multi-year deal with Hulu to carry his new talk-oriented web series. In May 2013, RT America struck a deal with Ora TV to show Larry King Now on its network.
Salary and Income Sources
When Larry first started working on the radio, he got a $50 salary. Now, he earns millions per year. Per several sources, when he signed with CNN in 2002, his contract started at $7 million per year with an increase of $1 million annually. As for his salary now? Some sources claim he makes about $30 million per year.
Aside from his radio and television career, Larry is also a writer. He had a column in USA Today. That lasted until 2001. But he continues to write and contributes to various papers and publications.
And because of his popularity, he gets paid to appear in shows.
Awards and Nominations
During his career, King received many broadcasting awards. For example, he won the Peabody Award for Excellence in broadcasting two times. Once in 1982 for his radio work, and then in 1992 for his television shows. He also has 10 Cable ACE Awards.
The National Radio Hall of Fame inducted him in 1989. And then in 1996, the Broadcasters Hall of Fame inducted him as well. Talkers Magazine named him the 4th greatest radio talk show host of all time in 2002.
Larry King is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills.
Larry King net worth is more than $150 million. With so much money, he tries to spend on charity and give to people in need.
He founded his Larry King Cardiac Foundation in 1987. This charity pays for life-saving cardiac procedures for people who cannot afford them.
He also donated to the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden.
Richest TV Personalities
Larry King is among the richest TV personalities. He is far from the top. Oprah is the richest there, with a net worth of more than $3 billion. But you can say he is among the top 10 or 15 richest personalities.
For example, David Letterman has a net worth of $400 million. Jay Leno’s net worth is #350 million, and Ellen DeGeneres’s net worth is $360 million.
But Larry is richer than Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Steve Harvey, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and other recognizable stars.
Larry definitely has trouble when it comes to love. He got married eight times to seven women. First, he married his high-school sweetheart Freda Miller in 1952. He was 19 at the time. But their parents had the marriage annulled a year after.
He got his first son Larry Jr with Annette Kaye. He married his third wife Alene Atkins in 1961. She was a Playboy Bunny, and the two got married in one of the magazine’s nightclubs. The two got married again in 1969.
One of his longest marriages was with Sharon Lepore, a mathematics teacher. They married in 1976 and got a divorce in 1983. For his sixth wife, Julie Alexander, he proposed to her on the first date.
Larry King lives in Beverly Hills, California. He is a Jewish agnostic. He got married eight times and has five children and nine grandchildren.