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CNN Larry King Live

Larry King's Remarkable Journey

Aired May 19, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, my story, my way. I'll introduce you to the son I didn't know I had, never met until he was 33. Our first face-to-face changed our lives.

I'm going to set the record straight about my marriages and share some secrets about presidents, celebrities and ordinary folks who taught me extraordinary stuff.

I was born Lawrence Zeiger in Brooklyn. I've been fired, arrested, crashed into John F. Kennedy, had nothing left in my picket but two bucks, lived through a heart attack, quintuple bypass, kicked a three pack a day smoking habit, earned an Emmy and started a foundation to save lives.

It's my remarkable journey and it ain't over yet. And it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Welcome to "My Remarkable Journey." First order of business, changing places. I'm going to move into the guest chair and Joy Behar -- my dear Joy, takes over.

JOY BEHAR, GUEST HOST: OK. I'm taking over, Larry.

LARRY KING: All right. Go get 'em, Joy.

BEHAR: All right. Here we go.

LARRY KING: Be nice.

BEHAR: I'll be nice. I'm always nice, Larry.

LARRY KING: I know. But be especially nice.

BEHAR: What are you trying to kill me in this chair?

LARRY KING: That's part of the show.

BEHAR: Good evening. Joining me tonight are Larry King and Larry King, Jr. Theirs is an incredible story.

But first I want to ask you, Larry, before we go any further, why did you write this book now? You've already written many other books.


BEHAR: This one is a little more personal.

What was your motivation?

LARRY KING: Well, this is my first real autobiography, Joy. And I'm 75 years old now. It's hard to believe.

BEHAR: You are?



LARRY KING: Yes. It's hard to believe. And someone said you're 75...


LARRY KING: ... Write it all down. And I worked with Cal Fussman, a terrific writer. And we spent the better part of two or three hours every day together. And I would go over stories, tell him the stories and he'd write it down, we'd edit it, send it to the wonderful people at Weinstein Books. And this is the product.

We were going to call it originally "What Am I Doing Here?," because every day I say to myself, what am I doing here?

BEHAR: Why do you say that?

LARRY KING: Because I can't believe it all happened to me -- everything that happened, I mean growing up in Brooklyn, the whole...

BEHAR: Well, the people you've met.

LARRY KING: People I've met and the life I've led. But then more responsible heads said, "My Remarkable Journey" is a little more serious.

BEHAR: Yes. I...

LARRY KING: Even though half the book is funny.

BEHAR: I read it last night. I mean, I can breeze -- I read it fast. And I loved it, I have to say.


BEHAR: And I don't usually say it if I don't mean it.

LARRY KING: I'm on it. And it's on tape, too. You can get it.

BEHAR: It's really, really funny. And your early years are so spectacular.

LARRY KING: Oh, thank you so much.

BEHAR: So interesting to listen about your ADD. I could relate to that. I loved it.

And one of the more compelling stories in the book is about your son, Larry King, Jr.

Now, Larry, hi.


BEHAR: So how does it feel to be sitting next to your father right now?

LARRY KING, JR.: Surreal.

BEHAR: It feels...

LARRY KING, JR.: You know, right. Since I was a little kid and I would dream about this day and here it is.

BEHAR: Because, the people should know the story...

LARRY KING: Well, let me give you the...

BEHAR: Tell the story.

LARRY KING: It's never been told publicly. It's the first time...


LARRY KING: On your show tonight.


LARRY KING: I've never told it before. I was always wondering how I would tell it publicly, because we've known each other now 15 years. But I met Larry's mother years ago. I was 10 years younger. She was really the kind of -- one of the first real relationships in my life.

BEHAR: You were 10 years younger than she?

LARRY KING: Yes. And we got married. It wasn't a long marriage, very fast. But she told me, as we broke up, you know, she said, I'm going to have a baby. And if it's a boy, I'm going to name it Larry King, Jr. I think that was spite, because we were breaking up. I think she was mad.

But whatever that case was, the child was eventually born. I was told there was a child born. Never heard again.


LARRY KING: Didn't hear from Annette, the mother and went on. Occasionally through the years, in Miami -- they lived in Miami, I lived in Miami -- I would hear -- you know, someone would say to me, boy, I heard about your son, I always thought they was talking about Andy. I had a son Andy.

BEHAR: Your other son?


And but then they would say, I heard about your boy. He's in the University of Miami. Andy was in the University of Florida. You know, it just didn't meld.


LARRY KING: But I knew something was there. And then one day I got a call from Annette, who said she was dying of lung cancer and that I had a boy and he was a wonderful boy and I ought to meet him. And I was a little apprehensive -- a little worried.

I sent -- I asked my lawyer to go down. He met with Annette. He then met with Larry, Jr. He called me up and he said, listen, do you want to spend $750 on the DNA test -- spend, waste the money?

He's your kid.

BEHAR: Why, because he looks like you and talks like you?

LARRY KING: He looks like me, he talks like me, he laughs like me, a sports freak.


LARRY KING: And so on an historic day for me, I flew down to Miami. And in the lobby of the Omni Hotel, I met him.

BEHAR: And there he was.

LARRY KING: And hit it off right away.

BEHAR: And you were how old at that time?

LARRY KING, JR.: So 15 years ago, I was like 33, 34.

BEHAR: Thirty-three years old.

LARRY KING, JR.: Yes. Yes.

BEHAR: So what happened to you that -- at that moment?

LARRY KING, JR.: You know, I -- as I said, it's something you think about your whole life. And I just wondered, are we going to hug, kiss, you know, what's going to happen here?


LARRY KING, JR.: And what ultimately happened is -- just like when he's saying it right now, he said, Annette. You know, for 33 years, I had one side of this story, a perspective from my mother. And now I have him at -- you know, he's saying, how is she doing? He's mentioning -- you know, because my mother was married prior, so he was mentioning -- you know, he'd ask how's my sister, Candy (ph) and Pammy (ph). And so I'm going, I am Larry King, Jr.

BEHAR: Yes. But you knew that...

LARRY KING, JR.: You know, so I was wondering...

BEHAR: You knew that.

LARRY KING, JR.: Yes, but you know what, until...

LARRY KING: Yes, but this was affirmation, probably.

LARRY KING, JR.: Until I hear him say it, I had (INAUDIBLE). But my mom did things throughout my life so that I -- I mean, I knew, but she helped me. She ground me, she ground me.

LARRY KING: And then a funny story, it deserves telling -- not funny. I mean, now, here I've got this -- all right. Now I know I've got a son.

BEHAR: Right.

LARRY KING: And I've got a -- I've got a son Andy. I've got a daughter Chaia.

BEHAR: Right.

LARRY KING: I've got a brother Marty. I've got relatives. I've got friends.

BEHAR: Right.

LARRY KING: Nobody knows about this. So I fly up -- I'm living in Washington. I fly up to Washington. I meet my daughter. I meet my son, Andy.

BEHAR: Andy.

LARRY KING: I tell them they have a brother. I tell my brother I have -- I have a son.


LARRY KING: And all of them are shocked, of course. And then they all want to meet him. And they eventually did meet him. He came up for Chaia's college graduation from American University. They all got along immediately.

I've got to say, it was amazing, right?

LARRY KING, JR.: Um-hmm. Yes, it was.

LARRY KING: They loved him.

BEHAR: They clicked.

LARRY KING: Right into the family.

LARRY KING, JR.: No, it was amazing.

BEHAR: They clicked.

LARRY KING, JR.: Yes, yes.

LARRY KING: I had one other little thing to do. You'll be meeting her in the little while.


LARRY KING: And now I'm flying out to Phoenix. And I had written a book with Chaia, right, called "Daddy Dear -- Daughter Dear" -- something. I forget the title of this one. Anyway, and I'm dating Shawn and we're getting kind of serious, but she don't know about him.


LARRY KING: And we're riding in a car -- me, Chaia and Shawn -- out to this place in Phoenix where he is going to meet us, to meet Shawn and attend the book signing. And we're going along in the car. And I said, oh, Shawn, you know, by the way...


LARRY KING: ... One little thing, I've got another son.

And she handled it very well and they took it off. And as you learned later, she -- she was the chairperson -- and is the chairperson of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. And she -- he said he wanted to work for us and he's the president. And she appointed him.

BEHAR: Right.


BEHAR: So you hit it off with Shawn?

LARRY KING, JR.: Absolutely.


LARRY KING, JR.: She was wonderful. And I think it a perfect timing, because when they -- they met, a great relationship. And she welcomed me in right -- right away.

BEHAR: But all those years, why didn't you just contact your father?

LARRY KING, JR.: OK. So I think the way I always saw it was my mom had built in me, be your own person. And your father is not ready for this. You know, she actually wrote a letter when... BEHAR: How did she know if she wasn't in touch with him?

LARRY KING, JR.: I think if you were in Miami at the time...


LARRY KING, JR.: My dad was Mr. Miami. Everything.


LARRY KING, JR.: He was on radio, TV, newspapers. And his career hit hard times, as he puts in the book. So that would not have been a good time to be approaching my father.

And I think my mom realized, I'm going to have to bring this kid up and when the time is right, then I'm going to do it and they'll come together.

And I always felt growing up that if I would have broken that to just reach out to him, what am I throwing away from my mother?

She -- she built the foundation. And when it's time, it will be time.

BEHAR: OK. Let me take...

LARRY KING: And then it grew. I mean, I married Shawn. We have two little boys...

BEHAR: I know, you have a whole mespucha (ph).

LARRY KING: And they have a big brother.




When we come back, more with the two Larry Kings.

Don't go away.


BEHAR: Welcome back to this special hour of


I'm Joy Behar sitting in for Larry and interviewing him about his new book, "My Remarkable Journey."

Larry's son, Larry, Jr. is with us, too -- a huge part of Larry's life.

Welcome back. OK. Let's talk about your marriages for a second. You have...

LARRY KING: No, let's not.

BEHAR: Well, how many have you had?

LARRY KING: No, I wrote about it. I...

BEHAR: Yes, you tell us everything in the book.

LARRY KING: I've had eight marriages to seven different women. And I've never been able to explain why. I try in the book, but it's hard to get at it. I'm a Jewish kid from Brooklyn. I never lived with a woman.

BEHAR: No, you just kind of...

LARRY KING: I don't think I ever stayed overnight at a woman's house, truth. If I met someone I like -- I kind of liked them, I got married.


LARRY KING: I took care of them. I paid my debts to them if I owed them things. I'm not -- I don't keep in touch with them, but I was not unfriendly with them.

BEHAR: What was the shelf life of your longest marriage besides Shawn?

How long did you last with these women?

LARRY KING: Probably the longest was six years.

BEHAR: Six years.

LARRY KING: Shawn is now almost 12.

BEHAR: Yes. Shawn is the longest one.

What do you think is the reason you've been -- it's working with Shawn?

LARRY KING: Well, she -- she gets a Purple Heart.


LARRY KING: No, she -- well, she was in the business.


LARRY KING: She understood the business.

BEHAR: That's right.

LARRY KING: She is in the business. She sings. She's going to be in Las Vegas in June. She -- she understood -- she had family. She loved family. I had family.


LARRY KING: A lot went into it. She was considerably younger than me.

BEHAR: And pretty.

You love a beautiful woman, don't you?

LARRY KING: Yes, that goes with it. Yes, she is.


LARRY KING: She's pretty.


Have you ever married a woman who's not that pretty?




BEHAR: Do you have this -- this kind of a personality, too, with the women?

LARRY KING, JR.: Yes, I think so.

LARRY KING: He does.

LARRY KING, JR.: Yes, because, well, when I was growing up, I would be dating. And I'd come home, I'm in love. And she'd go, you're just like your father.




BEHAR: He must have heard that over and over again...

LARRY KING, JR.: Oh, yes.

BEHAR: You're just like your father.

LARRY KING, JR.: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

BEHAR: Do you think that your mother -- I'm just curious -- that your mother might have not wanted you to meet Larry because she felt that he would take over and she wouldn't have you?

LARRY KING, JR: No. BEHAR: Is that part of the motivation?

LARRY KING, JR.: No. I think -- no...


LARRY KING, JR.: She tried to explain to me, look, you're looking at your father on the air and you're -- you're imagining all these things that probably are not going to be at this time. And there's another side of your father. And there's going to be a time when you're both mature enough to be able to handle it.

And I think she was absolutely right. I really do. And I think it was in her death when she said, I'm not going to die with this. This is now time. And she reached out. And I think -- I think the fact we're like this today is because she had that (CROSSTALK)...

BEHAR: She obviously raised you very well.

LARRY KING: And we did in the book, smartly enough, I think, to my credit and the editors and publishers and Cal, the writer, we had voices -- Larry's voice is in the book. He writes his own piece.


BEHAR: Oh, I love that about the book.

LARRY KING: Shawn writes a piece. The little boys -- my little boys, they write pieces -- Andy, Chaia, they all contribute. My brother.


LARRY KING: My sister-in-law -- Ellen, my brother's wife. They all have things to say. And I had nothing to do with what they say. I did not edit what they said.

BEHAR: Right.

LARRY KING: And what they said is in the book.

BEHAR: Yes, I...

LARRY KING: So I thought they should be heard.

BEHAR: I thought that that was a very interesting part of your book. And your daughter Chaia, as a matter of fact, she -- herself came through.

LARRY KING: Yes, boy, she's...

BEHAR: And when she says about you, you lost your father at a very young age.


BEHAR: And she experienced in you -- she experiences in you that pain that you must have felt.

LARRY KING: Yes, she does.

BEHAR: And she said she wonders if you ever cried about your father.

LARRY KING: I never did. I took it as -- I'm trying -- I took it as leaving me. You know, I was so close to him. I was nine-and-a- half. And he died and he went away.


LARRY KING: And they had lost a son before I was born.

BEHAR: I know.

LARRY KING: And I took that and I never did cry. I didn't go to the funeral. I bounced a ball. And, of course, Chaia -- Chaia cries at everything. Chaia cries at Dunkin Donuts shop openings.

BEHAR: That's Chaia.

LARRY KING: Look, a Dunkin Donuts opening -- eew, another one.

LARRY KING, JR.: She's wonderful.

BEHAR: So you grew up without a father...

LARRY KING, JR.: She is.

BEHAR: ...basically.

LARRY KING: I grew up without a father.

BEHAR: And you grew up without a father.

LARRY KING, JR: I did. But I think that made me, in some ways -- because he says in the book -- he says, well, I didn't have a hand in raising you. But he actually did, because, in a weird way, by not being there -- I have now -- you know, I have three children. And I've said I'm going to be that father -- I'm going to be there. You know, I'm not going to allow that to happen. So I think that actually helped me to where...

LARRY KING: And then, of course, the heart attack.

BEHAR: Oh, the heart attack.

LARRY KING: And then -- then bringing him into the foundation. He's a tireless worker. Shawn is a great chairman of it and really works. And we'll talk about it, I know this.


LARRY KING: That's the whole part of this continuing of bringing this whole family together. My kids want to work for it. You know, it's just -- it's all come together. I can't -- I pinch myself.

BEHAR: The heart attack was, I think, a tipping point for you in your life.

LARRY KING: No, kidding.

Was it?


BEHAR: And it...

LARRY KING: It changed everything. I smoked three packs a day.


LARRY KING: I didn't care about what I ate. I never exercised. And a heart attack will scare you.

BEHAR: Did you feel immortal because you were so great and...

LARRY KING: Absolutely. Come on!

Me, are you kidding?

I'm getting -- man, I'm going to (INAUDIBLE) -- Yul Brynner, before he died, he did a commercial for the Lung Association, in which he said, I'm dead now, please don't smoke, right?


LARRY KING: He would do a whole 30 seconds...

BEHAR: When their aired it, he was dead.

LARRY KING: Yes, he was dead.



LARRY KING: And whenever that came on, I'd jump up and change the channel. I was afraid to look.

BEHAR: Denial.


BEHAR: Denial.

LARRY KING: Big denial. But the day of the heart attack, I stopped smoking and never smoked since -- 22 years.

BEHAR: Twenty-two years without cigarettes.

Do you smoke? LARRY KING, JR: No. No, not at all.

BEHAR: OK, so it's not genetic...

LARRY KING, JR.: But I do get a thrill...

BEHAR: ...that particular addiction.

LARRY KING, JR: But now that, you know, I have younger brothers and younger children, I'm able to play around with them. And we go to a Dodger games and I feel like a kid again because Dad will go, you want a hot dog, Larry?

You want a hot dog, Chance, Ken?

And I go, I'm eight again.


LARRY KING, JR.: I'm eight. I'm sitting here, I'm eight again. I get to do this. So, I get a chance to do that every time.

BEHAR: I think that -- I always say that whatever you are at 10 years old is what you're going to be for the rest of your life.


LARRY KING: And completely...

BEHAR: And you talk about that in the book.

LARRY KING: Completely correct. Yes.

BEHAR: You were always an outgoing kid with a little ADD, which we all have in this industry, I think.

LARRY KING: What did you say?


BEHAR: And you can handle all the different satellites that come on the...

LARRY KING: Yes. That I love. That I love.

BEHAR: Yes. It's the perfect job for you.

LARRY KING: I like the one that starts -- yes.


LARRY KING: I like...


LARRY KING: I like pressure. BEHAR: Yes.

LARRY KING: I think we've got to break.

BEHAR: We have to take a break.

OK. Meet more of Larry's family and see how his own health problems led him to help people who really need it.

See you in 60 seconds.

Don't go away.


BEHAR: Welcome back.

We're talking to Larry King and his son, Larry, Jr.

And from Los Angeles, Shawn King joins us.

Hi, Shawn.

How are you?


LARRY KING: Hey, Joy. I'm fine.

You guys are doing a great show. I'm having a great time listening.

BEHAR: That's great. OK. There's a regular segment on this program called Impact Your World. And if anyone has whose done that, it's both -- both Larry Kings and Shawn, with their cardiac foundation.

Larry, how did this come about, the foundation?

Tell us about it.

LARRY KING: OK. I had heart surgery. I'm sitting around with friends one day about a year later and

someone said, what did it cost? And I had no idea. Insurance paid for it.


LARRY KING: And then I got to thinking, what about people who aren't insured, people who fall between the cracks?

So, I said why not start?

We started very small. And then into my life came Shawn and, typical, takes over. So... BEHAR: Yes.


SHAWN LARRY KING: Wait a minute.

LARRY KING: So we were very small then and we started to grow. And then Larry is now in my life. I've got Shawn, I've got Larry. And suddenly I'm the figurehead of the foundation.

BEHAR: That's great.


LARRY KING: And they call me up and tell me, you do this, you go there, you get this, you call here. And Shawn runs it. And Larry and Shawn get together and talk and they -- they make it all happen. And we're out to save a heart a day.

LARRY KING, JR.: That -- that's right.

LARRY KING: And I think we're almost there, right, Shawn?

LARRY KING, JR.: That's right.

SHAWN LARRY KING: We are. We're actually past our goal this year to save a heart a day. So, way to go Larry, Jr.

LARRY KING, JR: Yes, we're doing great. You know, the thing is, it's a challenge in this environment to be able to do that. And people can go to and read about what we -- what we do.

But these bands that we wear, it's, you know, from a boy whose father died. And it's a very simple thing. I think my father set this in motion. We just help people. It's not about buildings or equipment, the money that goes to this foundation. And he doesn't like to hold it. We don't give out little bits and pieces. We -- we give it all out in one year.

LARRY KING: And, by the way...

LARRY KING, JR.: It saves lives.

LARRY KING: And some of the...

LARRY KING, JR.: And he calls every patient.


LARRY KING: Some of the proceeds of this book will go the foundation.

BEHAR: That's nice.

LARRY KING: And if you want to help, it's


LARRY KING: Why do you -- can I ask her a question?

BEHAR: Please do.

LARRY KING: Why do you like running this, Shawn?

BEHAR: Yeah, Shawn.

BEHAR: Yes, Shawn.

SHAWN LARRY KING: Are you kidding?

Oh my goodness. It's so fulfilling. I love you, Larry, first of all. And our children and our family and Larry -- our whole family, Larry, Jr. and Chaia and Andy and the whole mishpocheh -- hi, Danny...

LARRY KING, JR: Mishpocheh?

Did she say mishpocheh?

BEHAR: She's good.

SHAWN LARRY KING: I said mishpocheh.

LARRY KING, JR: Wow! that's good.


LARRY KING: A Mormon said mispocheh.



BEHAR: Larry turns everybody Jewish.


SHAWN LARRY KING: It's not. Oy. So I got involved mostly -- initially because I was Larry's wife and I wanted to help. And then it took a hold of my heart like -- like nothing else I can describe. And helping these people to get hearts -- and I was up texting Larry, Jr. the other night. We were back and forth. I didn't go to bed -- my eyes are red. I didn't go to bed till 5:30 this morning.

BEHAR: Larry, Jr. has written a commentary about the foundation. Read more about this great cause at

More with Shawn after this.


BEHAR: We're talking to Larry King, Jr., his dad, Larry King, and Larry's wife, Shawn.

Shawn, I have a couple of questions for you.


BEHAR: First of all, one of the quotes in the book that you said is, "Telling Larry that you're not up for a relationship is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. If you tell him you can't, he's going to think, oh yes, I can. He turns into Barack Obama."


BEHAR: So how...


BEHAR: Is the -- tell me how you hooked him, how you pulled him in.

He's -- he likes you to play hard to get, doesn't he?

SHAWN LARRY KING: You know what, it wasn't on purpose. It was actually a very natural thing that was going on in my life. I had broken up with somebody. And when we met we both said to each other, you know, we're just -- we had just both gotten out of a relationship. And I just spoke the truth.


LARRY KING: Yes, but...

SHAWN LARRY KING: And the rest...


LARRY KING: You set me up.

SHAWN LARRY KING: Larry is a nut.

BEHAR: She set you up.

SHAWN LARRY KING: I did not set you up, Larry. But he would send me -- he would send me vats of hot tamales and Maraschino cherries and gummy bears and a rose every morning. Little did he know that...

LARRY KING: Yes, but hold it. Do you want to...

SHAWN LARRY KING: Gummy bears.

LARRY KING: Do you want to hear how she set me up?

BEHAR: Gummy bears.

LARRY KING: OK. Shut up. You want to...


LARRY KING: You want to hear how she set me up?

BEHAR: Little gummy bears.

LARRY KING: I'll tell you how she set me up.

BEHAR: Wow! Go ahead.

LARRY KING: I'll tell you how she...


LARRY KING: Women do this, their wily ways, especially it's (INAUDIBLE).


LARRY KING: OK. Here's how she sets me up.


LARRY KING: We're having dinner. OK. Thank you. Oh, thank you so much for the roses this morning. Oh, my ex-boyfriend keeps calling me.

BEHAR: Oh, makes you jealous.

LARRY KING: That's all I had to hear.


BEHAR: See, he's jealous. Yes. That was the other thing in the book, that you're not that -- you weren't that good at fidelity in the old days. But you were also a jealous guy.

So there was a double standard with you with women, wasn't there?



BEHAR: And as you...



BEHAR: And he will just shout it from the rooftops. Well, it sounds as though he finally has landed on the ground with you, Shawn.


BEHAR: He's been through all the rest of them and this is the real deal now, yes?

LARRY KING: By the way...


LARRY KING: Shawn are you going...


LARRY KING, JR.: He didn't say yes.

SHAWN LARRY KING: Let Larry answer that.

LARRY KING, JR.: All right, say yes.

LARRY KING: All right, Shawn, quickly, before you go, are you going to the ballgame?

SHAWN LARRY KING: Are you kidding?

Of course I'm going to the ballgame.

LARRY KING: I made her a Dodger now.

Are you taking the boys?

SHAWN LARRY KING: I'm taking the boys.

LARRY KING: OK. Have a great time. Root for the Dodgers.

SHAWN LARRY KING: Thanks, sweetheart.

Don't worry.

LARRY KING, JR.: Bye, step mom.

BEHAR: Goodbye, Shawn.

LARRY KING: Good-bye.

SHAWN LARRY KING: Goodbye, step son -- step baby.


BEHAR: You know, I have to leave you guys now. That's it for me.

LARRY KING: Oh, yes. Who's going to...


BEHAR: Regis Philbin will be here after the break. Believe it or not, Larry was speechless once. And Regis will get it out of him.

Find out about that and some behind the scenes scoop next.



LARRY KING: This is your WIOD man on the street.

This is Larry King and we're up in the hills of Inverrie (ph), at the lovely home of Jackie Gleason.

My name is Larry King and this is the premier edition of LARRY KING LIVE.



PHILBIN, HOST: Hi, everybody.

I'm Regis Philbin talking to Larry King about his incredible career and this wonderful book, "My Remarkable Journey."

You know, I have a kinship to you that I've never really told you about, because we were both born here in New York City during the Depression. And -- and so through the years, you know, I kept my eye on your career and wondering how I was doing as opposed to Larry King.

It really is funny but, you know, we both listened to the same -- same voices on radio.


PHILBIN: And it made a great impact on me -- and, obviously, you, right?

LARRY KING: Yes. Remember the Arthur Godfreys?

PHILBIN: Oh, sure. But even before that, when you were a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Uncle Don?

LARRY KING (singing): Rippity ripsca highlowsi amonio frigiti highlobi (ph). Aroli coz oats and Ali kazans, sing this song with your Uncle Don. (ph)

PHILBIN: Oh, boy. That's really above and beyond what I was going to...


LARRY KING: The shadow.

PHILBIN: The shadow knows...

LARRY KING: The shadow -- suspense.

PHILBIN: Yes. Suspense with Howard Duff, remember that?

LARRY KING: Yes. Oh. Ida Lapino (ph)...

PHILBIN: That's exactly right. Yes. It was great days on radio. So, anyway, you decided then, when you were a kid, this is what you wanted to do. LARRY KING: I don't know when you knew it, but I knew it real early.

PHILBIN: You did.

LARRY KING: I was -- honest to God, you...

PHILBIN: Well, how early?


PHILBIN: What are we talking about?

LARRY KING: ...six years old.

PHILBIN: Really?

LARRY KING: I'd listen to the radio...


LARRY KING: ...with my brother. We were in the same little room.


LARRY KING: And then I'd -- the guy would say, a tale well calculated to keep you in suspense...

PHILBIN: Suspense.

LARRY KING: Then I'd run into the bathroom -- a tale well calculated to keep you in suspense...


LARRY KING: I'd imitate them.


LARRY KING: I'd go around to radio stations.

PHILBIN: I hear you.

LARRY KING: I'd see -- I'd go to Bob & Ray shows...

PHILBIN: Yes, sure.

LARRY KING: ...when I was a young teenager to watch. To me, that was magic.

PHILBIN: Absolutely.

LARRY KING: What these guys could create with the voice.


LARRY KING: Nothing topped radio.

PHILBIN: Yes. Oh, I thought so, too.

LARRY KING: The theater of the mind.

PHILBIN: I thought so, too, because you had to use your imagination as the...

LARRY KING: That's it.

PHILBIN: the story progressed.

LARRY KING: And I'm glad you like the book, because I write about that. I try to show what radio meant to the lives (INAUDIBLE).

PHILBIN: Absolutely.

LARRY KING: I mean the younger guys -- nothing against them -- but their radio today is -- is music and...

PHILBIN: And all that. That's all it is.

LARRY KING: ...and talk, but a different kind of talk than we had.

PHILBIN: But, Larry, you were so sure of yourself. I mean you must have had a great voice as a kid.

LARRY KING: Yes, I must have, I guess.

PHILBIN: But so you were sure about yourself that at six years old, you were going to be on that radio.

LARRY KING: I wanted that. I really wanted it and nothing was going to hold -- my father died, that killed me. I mean that...

PHILBIN: Right. At an early age.

LARRY KING: Yes, I was nine-and-a-half.

Did your father live long?

PHILBIN: He lived until he was 67. I was, you know, in my -- in my 40s. Yes, I was...

LARRY KING: Mine was -- I was -- that was a blow to me. I took it as leaving me. I was very hurt.


LARRY KING: And -- but I never -- never stopped wanting to be on the radio. And I went down to Miami and knocked on doors --

PHILBIN: What was your first job and how did you get it?

LARRY KING: OK. This is great. I go down to Miami -- I always wanted to do this, but I never -- never broadcast into a microphone and it was all new to me. I knocked on doors and go to small stations. The general manager says, you've got a nice voice, we're going to give you a shot. And here's what we'll do. The first opening, you've got.

OK. I hang around the station. I'm learning everything. I'm sweeping up, I'm reading the teletype machines. And a guy named Tom Baer (ph) quits. And, of course, he had -- he had -- he made $55 a week and $60 in alimony.


LARRY KING: Which he could not deal with.

PHILBIN: He couldn't do it.

LARRY KING: It didn't work. So I got the job. And now it's I'm going to be on the air. Monday morning, disk jockey.


LARRY KING: And I walked into the general manager. I was -- I had my records all cued.

And he says to me, what name are you going to use?

I says Larry Zeiger.

You can't use Zeiger.


Ethnic and people won't know how to spell it.

I said, well, what am I going to do? I'm going on in 15 minutes.

He said, well, we've got to get you a name.

And he's got the "Miami Herald" open. And there was an ad for King's Wholesale Liquors.

And he says, that's your name, Larry King.

I says, OK.

I've got to go and I sit down -- my big day, 9:05, May 1, 1957. I put on the record, Les Elgart, "Swinging Down the Lane."

I fade. I turn on the mike. Nothing comes out.


LARRY KING: I fade. I turn on the mike. I fade. I turn on -- and I'm panicking and I'm saying to myself, all my life I've wanted this and I'm scared. And the general manager, the late Marshall Simmons (ph), he kicks open the door to the studio and says, this is the communications business, dammit. Communicate.


LARRY KING: So I turned on the mike and I learned something that day, Regis -- and you know it every day -- be yourself, right?

PHILBIN: Yes. For sure.

LARRY KING: I turned on the mike. I said, good morning. This is my first day on the air. I've got a new name. My name is Larry King. The first time I ever said that. And I'm sitting here scared to death.


LARRY KING: And the general manager has kicked open the door and he said this is the communications business, communicate.

PHILBIN: Yes. You were --

LARRY KING: And I've never stopped communicating.

PHILBIN: And you were all --


PHILBIN: Yes, I'll bet.

So that was a little station in -- in the Miami area?


PHILBIN: But then you went on to a bigger station and they put you inside a deli to conduct your interviews.

LARRY KING: Pumpernick's Restaurant --

PHILBIN: Pumpernick's --

LARRY KING: WIOD was the station.

PHILBIN: Exactly.

LARRY KING: And then in walked, one day, Bobby Darrin.


That's right?

LARRY KING: Yes. And there's a picture of that in the book. And I never knew the picture existed. Larry, Jr.'s mother had it. And that changed my whole life.

PHILBIN: But all the stars were down there at one time or another.

LARRY KING: Oh, they'd all come there.


LARRY KING: Miami -- they all came through Miami.

PHILBIN: And Don Rickles was one of them.

LARRY KING: Oh, Don. Don would dress as a busboy, come into the restaurant and walk around and say, dear, do you want more butter?


LARRY KING: And, you know, we both -- there's -- there's nothing like Don.

PHILBIN: No. There's nobody like Don Rickles.

LARRY KING: In the whole world.

PHILBIN: He was absolutely the best.

But what was your very first interview?

Wasn't it somebody in sports?

Wasn't is Leo Durocher?


PHILBIN: You tried him, you went after him.

LARRY KING: I'll tell you. OK. I loved Leo as a kid. Loved him. He was the manager of the Dodgers and he was my hero. I wasn't a good player but I wore number two, he wore number two. And now he's coaching with the Dodgers, Walter Alston's the manager.

I'm on the air maybe two weeks and this sports director says, the Dodgers are coming in tonight to Miami, they're going to play the Orioles. Go get Leo.

And I take my tape recorder and go out to Miami stadium and Leo's -- for all day long I'm calling him, leaving messages and he's calling me back. Calling him, calling me back. Calling him, calling me back. I don't know him, he don't know me.

I get to the stadium, he's hitting ground balls in field practice. I walk over with my tape recorder and I go, Mr. Durocher -- my hero. Yes, what do you want?

I said, I'm Larry King.

Takes the bat, throws it up against the --

What the blank do you want?

My hero.


PHILBIN: You had called him too much.

LARRY KING: Why you calling me?

I said, I want to do an interview. I said, why are you calling me back?

You got a name that sounds like I should call you back.

PHILBIN: Right. Larry King. A very impressive name. He finally does an interview with you and it was great and you were friends for a long time.

LARRY KING: And then I interviewed him later.

PHILBIN: Terrific story.

We'll going to come right back with more from Larry King. Now, if you want to read an excerpt from Larry's book, you go to There's also a terrific slide show narrated by Larry there, too. We've got a big surprise for Larry King and it's all coming up. We'll see you right after the break.


PHILBIN: You're watching KING LIVE. I'm Regis Philbin, sitting in for Larry, tonight. He's my guest on this very special edition of his show.

We're celebrating Larry and his brand new book, out today, as a matter of fact, "My Remarkable Journey." And it really is. I loved every page.

But, let's go on to the early days. And here you are. You're making a name for yourself in Miami Beach. Rickles told me that you and he were the biggest names on Collins Avenue.

But, one night you get Jackie Gleason on the show.


PHILBIN: And it was more or less a favor, wasn't it?

LARRY KING: Well, I had gone down on the train with Jackie, when he moved to Miami Beach -- he got a train. We're on the road train that we all went down.

PHILBIN: Sure, I remember.

LARRY KING: And that's where I met him. And then he did a couple of interviews.

And one night at his house, I'm trying to make this brief. We're in his house and there's a group of people and he asks each one, what in your profession is impossible? And the doctors said they'll never make blood in a lab. He says, what's impossible?

I said, well I do a local talk show every night, three hours on a radio station from 9 to 12. Frank Sinatra is opening next week. He will do my show for three hours. That's impossible.

And Jackie said, you got him, pal. What night is he dark?

I said, the dark next Monday.

You got him.

I said, Jackie --

You got him.

So, I go back on the air that night. And I said, ladies and gentlemen, next Monday night Jackie Gleason -- Frank Sinatra is my special guest. The station's calling me up, you sure? We've been calling the Fontebleu (ph) and he don't return the calls.

So, finally it's the Monday night. And we're all standing around. Everybody stayed home -- nobody went home from work. Finally it's five to nine, four minutes to nine, three minutes to nine. A limo pulls up. Frank gets out of the car. He walks up the stairs and says this, who's Larry King? OK, let's do it.

We walk in, sit down. Again, be honest. I had to be honest. I said, good evening, my guest is Frank Sinatra, why are you here?

I didn't want to give one of those bologna things -- my old friend.

PHILBIN: No, that's good.

LARRY KING: And he says, well, five years ago I was at Ben Maksik's Town and Country Club in Brooklyn, and I had laryngitis closing night. And I call up Jackie Gleason. I said, Jackie, would you come and do the show? We've got a packed house. So, he came and he did his schtick. And at the end I walk him out to his limo and I lean in and I said, Jackie, I owe you one.

Now, I come into Miami and there's a phone message to call Gleason. And I call him up and I say, Jackie, it's Frank. And he said, Frank, this is the one.

PHILBIN: And he did it.

LARRY KING: And he did it.

PHILBIN: And you were friends -- LARRY KING: Forever.

PHILBIN: Forever, absolutely. Forever.

LARRY KING: But, that's the kind of guy he was. But just to prove a point, because I had said that's impossible, he had to make it possible.

PHILBIN: He stayed for the three hours. And even though Jim Mahoney, his press agent said, don't bring up the kidnapping of Frank Jr. He brought it up.

LARRY KING: He brought it up.

I asked him. I said, the thing between you and the press. Over done? Or have you been bum wrapped?

And he said, probably overdone but I've been bum wrapped. Take the kidnapping.

I thought Mahoney would fall off the seat.

PHILBIN: Yes, sure.

LARRY KING: Mahoney said to me before we started, I don't know how you got this. But, he pays me not to do it.

PHILBIN: You got it anyway.

So then you did a little TV, there. Sunday night, a late night show.

LARRY KING: I had Sunday nights. It was a show with no time limit. Like Suskind (ph) did one.

PHILBIN: Exactly, sure.

LARRY KING: And I went off when I went off. And Gleason started doing that with me. And each day we both smoked. You could smoke on the air then. So we blew smoke in each other's face. And he went into the general manager's office, stole furniture, changed the lighting. Frank -- Jackie knew how to control everything.


LARRY KING: And that started me. And then I got local television and then I got a national radio show and then CNN.


PHILBIN: All the idols that we loved as a kid. Our ratings --

LARRY KING: The green hornet.

PHILBIN: The green hornet. Every one of them. Fantastic. LARRY KING: Those were the days.

PHILBIN: And then you had a late night shift on that. And the course, I've said this many, many times where you got set up with someone calling from Altuna (ph), and sometimes --


LARRY KING: All right, do that.

PHILBIN: All right, here we go.

LARRY KING: Regis Philbin as Larry King.

PHILBIN: Larry King, late at night, there's nobody there. Somebody is there but they're dosing off, they're not paying attention. He wants them to speak, they don't speak. And finally Larry King says, as only he can, "Altuna! Go ahead!"

He's had enough waiting here. So then CNN, Ted Turner called you himself.

LARRY KING: Yep. And he says, look, I've got this lady, Sandy Freeman (ph), she's a nice lady, I like her. Her husband is her manager. He's giving me a rough time. Contract's up. You want to take over? I said, I don't know, Ted. I like going to ball games. I've got my nightly radio show. It ain't bad.

He says, you want to take over, give me an answer tomorrow.

I call Bob Wolf, the late Bob Wolf, he was the agent. He says they'll give you this deal, you can get out in a year if you don't like it. And Ted just did that because he wanted to give it to the husband. I can't way to give it to this guy. And I got the job and I knew the first night.

PHILBIN: one of the highlights of my life is taking Larry King for the first time to Notre Dame and there was a tremendous turnout that day (ph). Remember us walking down and all those people yelling, Larry King! Larry King! We went out to the ballpark and took you out into the field.

LARRY KING: Walking into that great stadium.

PHILBIN: And then Larry King and I went to the grotto, got on our knees --

LARRY KING: And prayed.

PHILBIN: -- and said prayers for - we said prayers for one another and thank God they all worked out.

LARRY KING: We're still here.

PHILBIN: That's right. Larry, great to be here.

LARRY KING: Thank you, Reg.

PHILBIN: Thank you so much for inviting me.

LARRY KING: I'll never forget this.

PHILBIN: We're going to ask you to submit questions for Larry and we'll see who wins an autographed copy of Larry's book next. Our Arizona viewers should pay special attention to this. See you in 60 seconds.


PHILBIN: We're asking Larry's fans to submit a remarkable question about his life. Now we have this one from Kate G. (ph) in Phoenix, Arizona. She will be receiving an autographed copy of Larry's autobiography and Kate writes, "Congratulations, Larry, on a lifetime of amazing adventures. My remarkable question is a personal one. When did you know you were successful and why?"

LARRY KING: I think I really knew it, Regis, when Gleason came to town and I invited him to come on my late night television show, local channel, Channel 10, ABC affiliate, he was a CBS employee and he said he'd come, he'd heard my radio show and when he came that night, walked in the door, changed the whole studio around. Just walking in, I said, I'm on the brink of something here.

PHILBIN: Absolutely. What a great memory, huh?

LARRY KING: I'll never forget it.

PHILBIN: A great night for you, too.

LARRY KING: I still see him walking in.

PHILBIN: Sure, I bet.

LARRY KING: Hiya, pal.

PHILBIN: Anyway, incidentally, the person who submits the most remarkable question for Larry will win a trip to Los Angeles to meet Larry face to face and watch the show live.

For details, check out Arriving, Anderson - wait a minute. I'm sorry. Check out - no, let me see that again. Please, I'm seeing it for the first time.

Check out

LARRY KING: Yeah, that's right.

PHILBIN: It's there an (inaudible) after Larry King?

PHILBIN: Incidentally, the person who submits the most remarkable question to Larry King will win a trip to L.A. to meet Larry face to face and watch the show live. For details, check out Anderson Cooper coming up next to ask Larry about some of his 40,000 interviews. Back in a moment.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome back to KING LIVE. I'm not Regis Philbin, I'm Anderson Cooper, talking to Larry about his remarkable journey in life and in this business. Larry has interviewed everybody, it seems, including every president since Nixon.

Are presidential interviews different than talking to anyone else?

LARRY KING: They are, Anderson. They're imposing.

COOPER: Do you get nervous doing it?

LARRY KING: No, you don't get nervous. But you get very aware of surroundings. You know, they don't come to the studio, for example.

COOPER: Right.

LARRY KING: So you're always on remote. You're mostly in the White House although sometimes I've done them away from the White House when running for election.

Yes, but they have an aura about them. They're the president. They're one of 44.

COOPER: I interviewed Obama for the first time. It was the first time me interviewing him as sitting president, and it's strange, walking in the White House and seeing the president of the United States, you know, waiting for you.

LARRY KING: I remember one time I was doing George Bush the first, and in my garb, and Barbara, and we've become very friendly since, said to me, Larry, this is the White House, wear a jacket.

COOPER: Really?

LARRY KING: Yes. Barbara is a tough lady, but a great lady.

COOPER: You interviewed Bush 41, also Bush 43, what was the difference in terms of the interview?

LARRY KING: The age difference was -- you know, Bush 41 was much more reflective, much more conscious of his place in history. Bush 43 not that interested in what they're going to say about me 75 -- as he said, I'm going to be dead.

But Bush 41, more thoughtful about a perspective of things, a larger view of life. George Bush, nothing wrong with that, but he took a more inculcated look.

COOPER: I think in the book you say that Bill Clinton is probably your -- you really love interviewing him. LARRY KING: Well, because if you can't interview Bill Clinton, you leave the business, because he is expressive, what he said about my book thrilled me. We put it on the back of the book. But he is an easy interview, I mean, if you can't interview him, really, the man is larger than life, brilliant, beautifully self-contained, yet he has these little flaws that come out at the same time.

I think he is -- he changes a room. Bill Clinton walks in a room, the room changes. And another theory I have on Clinton, you may not like him politically, in fact, you may be one of these talk show hosts who attack him all of the time, if I put you in the room with him, five minutes, you like him.

COOPER: You write in the book about Richard Nixon, though, that you're amazed at how far he got given the fact that he wasn't very likable.

LARRY KING: Well, not only not really likable, he didn't like people. He didn't like people. He liked baseball. He liked things. He liked foreign policy. Someone said probably, too, he would rather be with Brezhnev than the governor of Pennsylvania.

COOPER: Do you think he knew he was not likable?

LARRY KING: I think so. Because a lot of it was -- he liked politics without liking -- I would have hired Richard Nixon if I ran CNN. And I would have had him be my chief analyst, because no one could pinpoint, how did Vietnam get to be Vietnam? Bang, bang, bang, bang, point by point, he would --

He may not have had the solutions, but he sure had a wonderful cognizance of how a problem got to be a problem. I liked being around him, by the way, because he was -- like when I asked him once, what do you think when you drive by the Watergate? And he goes, I've never been by the Watergate.


LARRY KING: I've never been in the Watergate. What do you think of that? And then on all breaks he tried to give you something. Like, we'll break for commercial and then he'll say, ask me about the time John Kennedy and I debated the first time. I'll give you a good one. He'd give you a good one.

No, he seemed very press aware, very press aware.

COOPER: Talking about John Kennedy, you never interviewed him, but I read in the book, you write about that you actually did run into him, literally.

LARRY KING: Oh, I ran into him, Anderson --

COOPER: You crashed into him.

LARRY KING: I crashed into him. Palm Beach, I'm a struggling little disc jockey with four friends, we drive up to Palm Beach on a Sunday morning in 1959. And there is no one on the road. It's a beautiful Sunday morning. And I'm looking up at an old beat-up convertible, and I look up and suddenly there is a car, convertible also, stopped at a red light by Worth Avenue.

You ever been to Palm Beach?

COOPER: Mm-hmm

LARRY KING: Worth Avenue. I look up, I'm going to 10 miles an hour, hit the car. Head snaps back, a guy gets out of the car, he's alone. Four of us are sitting there, well, at least we didn't hurt him or -- guy comes over, it's John -- Senator Kennedy.

And he goes like this, how? How could you hit me? The two of us are alone on the road, it's a sunny beautiful morning. I said, I wasn't looking, I was sorry. He said, well, I'll tell you, I'm going to run for president next year, vote for me, swear. So we all raised our hands, we swear to vote for you.

And I remember that a lot in my life. That was some moment.

COOPER: You've also become friends with Nancy Reagan.

LARRY KING: Very, yes.

COOPER: And you say that -- you write in the book that you think people don't really know the real Nancy Reagan. Do you think people know the real Ronald Reagan?

LARRY KING: I don't -- you know, that's a very good question. I don't know how -- I don't know the real Ronald Reagan. He was extraordinarily likable and a great story-teller. But to get into him, to really get into him was not easy. He was great out there. But in here -- there was something special about him, there's no doubt about it. And a good guy well meant -- Nancy was his rock.

COOPER: Are political interviews your favorite kind?

LARRY KING: And sports.

COOPER: And sports.

LARRY KING: Yes, political.

COOPER: All right. What's a show like -- like this without a surprise or two?

Larry is going to like what's coming next.

Stay with us.


COOPER: And we're back with KING LIVE with Larry King live.

Barack Obama -- you interviewed him a lot before he got to the White House.

LARRY KING: Yes, before he got to the White House.

COOPER: What would you most like to ask him now?

LARRY KING: Is it what -- everything you expected?

What has surprised you the most?

COOPER: Do you think the presidents you have interviewed, have they always been -- have they always known what to expect or do you think the office has surprised them?

LARRY KING: The office has surprised them. Yes, it has. There are things about it they never -- they never expected. And I think the enormity of it -- Clinton told me once that the thing that surprised him most was the loneliness. He was standing in a room and he was looking out on Pennsylvania Avenue and he said, you know, you can go out and walk there now and I can't. He didn't think it would be that harsh a difference.

COOPER: You wrote in the book about seeing in Miami water fountains that said "colored" on it. And, actually, you knew Martin Luther King, Jr.

LARRY KING: Yes, I did. I interviewed him. And the first thing I did when I arrived in Miami was drink out of the "colored" water fountain. I had never seen that in New York and never -- I had read about it but couldn't believe it.

COOPER: And you were with Martin Luther King, Jr. One day when he wasn't admitted to a -- a hotel, is that true?

LARRY KING: Yes, a motel. They wouldn't let him in. He had a reservation. They wouldn't take the reservation. And he came out and sat on the porch. It was in Tallahassee.

And the owner of the motel -- the owner or manager came out and looked down. A lot of crowd gathered around.

And the owner said to him, what do you want, Dr. King? What do you want?

And he looked up and said, my dignity.

You never forget that.

COOPER: Did you think you would -- you would see an African- American elected president?


COOPER: Really?

LARRY KING: If I would have told you -- come on Anderson. I'm telling you, five years ago, you and I are sitting here. We're having coffee. I said, Anderson, I've got a pick for you. There's a guy in the state legislature in Illinois, he's black, he's going to be the next president. Oh, yes. They're going to take you away, Larry.

COOPER: What kind of interview would you like to do right now, regarding sports? Who would you like to talk to in the sports world?

LARRY KING: Manny Ramirez.

Of course, I'm a Dodger fan, because he hurt me and I like him and I want to know what happened.

COOPER: And you're not the only member of the King family who likes the Dodgers, right?

LARRY KING: No, no. We have season tickets. The boys -- they go to every Dodger game.

COOPER: Well, joining us from Los Angeles, right now are the boys -- Chance and Cannon.

LARRY KING: Now, wait a minute.


LARRY KING: Did you go to school today?




LARRY KING: Chance, did you leave school early?



SHAWN LARRY KING: But they've got their homework. We're good, Dad. We're just fine.

CANNON KING, SON OF LARRY KING: (INAUDIBLE) and go to my house for a water balloon fight.

LARRY KING: Water balloon fights and then you're going to -- only in Beverly Hills, Anderson.

You're going to a Dodger game in a limo, right?


LARRY KING: Shawn, stop looking so pretty.

Say good night boys. And thanks a lot, boys.


CANNON LARRY KING: Good night, Dad.

COOPER: I think they have a future in TV.

LARRY KING: Oh, my --

There's nothing like fatherhood. There's nothing like it. Whatever's in second place is a distant second.

COOPER: Well, the book is "My Remarkable Journey." You've had a great journey and the journey continues, Larry.

LARRY KING: And I'm honored that you hosted this part. Now, do you want to toss to the next show?

COOPER: Let's toss it.

LARRY KING: What's next?

COOPER: They've got this other guy who comes on right after you.

LARRY KING: The guy with the gray hair?

COOPER: Pales by comparison, literally, actually, failed.

As Larry says, every night time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC360" -- Anderson.

LARRY KING: Thank you, Anderson.