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Remembering Larry King and his visits to the Coachella Valley

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Larry King, the award-winning journalist who became cable TV’s most well-known talk-show host died at 87 on Saturday.

He hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for over 25 years and interviewed thousands of people in his lifetime.

News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay gives us a look back at his life and shares some of his desert ties.

Larry King spent more than half a century as a broadcaster.

"It's been a hell of a 50 years, I don't know how much longer I can go, but as long as I feel it, I'm gonna keep going," King said.

King was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933 as Larry Zeigler. He moved to Miami in his 20s to pursue a job in radio. In 1978 he started The Larry King Show.

"Good evening, my name is Larry King and this is the premiere edition of Larry King Live," he said.

In a Desert Sun newspaper article from January 11, 1984 it mentions Larry King broadcasting one night from the Sheraton Plaza’s Palm Canyon room. Now that hotel is the Hilton Palm Springs.

Over more than 25 years, he interviewed celebrities, politicians and newsmakers.

A New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd referred to King as, "the resort area of American journalism, the media’s Palm Springs, where politicians and other figures of controversy or celebrity can go to unwind, kick back and reflect," she said.

From interviewing Frank Sinatra, to Al Pacino and Brad Pitt to many more.

He famously kissed Marlon Brando.

"I've kissed my brother on the cheek, and I've had friends hug me, but he's the only man to ever kiss me on the lips and I can't stop thinking about him," King said.

He also sat down with past and present American presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.

He covered live news events from wars to elections.

King was married 8 times, the last to Shawn Southwick.

He signed off his final regular broadcast on December 16, 2010.

In March of 2012, The McCallum Theater presented “An Evening with Larry King” where King spoke about his upbringing and his iconic media career.

King also dined at Melvyn's restaurant & lounge in Palm Springs. His photo can be seen hanging on the wall there.

"I don't know what to say except to you, my audience, thank you and instead of goodbye, how about so long?" King said.

There has been no official cause of death released. However, King's family publicly announced he was in the ICU with COVID-19 at the beginning of the month.

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Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.

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