The new star of 'A Single Man': Larry King gets (another) divorce
It's a sad day for all of us devoted Larry King admirers and acolytes.
TMZ broke the news today that -- ouch! -- King is getting divorced from his eighth wife, Shawn Southwick. Irreconcilable differences were cited as the cause, though we all know it just must be too much of a burden to live with a man of King's intellectual heft and stature, even if his CNN ratings are plunging and we rarely see him blurbed in movie ads anymore.
TMZ noted, ever so dryly, that back in 2007, celebrating the 10th anniversary of her marriage to King, Southwick had boasted that she was the only one of King's wives to have made it into "the two digits." But apparently there will be no 15th anniversary celebration.
I'm what you might call a longtime King aficionado, having been on the King bandwagon since I was a kid in Miami, where in the late 1960s you could hear King on the powerhouse WIOD radio station, holding forth and interviewing the celebrities of the day. He gave his all for his career, even changing his name from Zeiger to King when the general manager who gave him his first gig told him it was too ethnic -- meaning, of course, too Jewish -- even for Miami Beach. The joke was on that GM, since King, especially in his later years, has always sounded like the prototypical Jewish grandfather.
I'm hoping that, with the divorce, Larry will get out and see more movies, so he can revive his blurbing career. When I interviewed him a couple of years ago, he acknowledged that his standards were, well, pretty lax, saying, "If I like the movie, I give 'em a quote. If I don't like something, I'm not gonna rap it."
However, as I discovered back then, it turns out that King sometimes will even blurb a movie he didn't like. He told me of the time he and Southwick took their two sons to see "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." "I had no idea what was going on," he says. "I turned to my wife and said, `What is this movie about? I don't get it!' "
But when I dug up King's old blurbs, guess who was at the top of the ad for that movie, enthusing: "Finally, a Movie Worth Seeing Over and Over Again!" I said to King -- I don't get it, I thought you didn't like the movie. He said he didn't. But, as he explained, "I told the CNN person to tell the studio, 'I didn't understand the damn movie at all. I'd have to see it over and over again to figure out what happened.' And then they went and used it!"
When a man has that much self-possession and equanimity, don't you think he'll get lucky the ninth time around? Does anyone have any suggestions about who we could fix Larry up with? Surely there's a woman out there who's right for him. Any ideas?
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Photo: Larry King and wife Shawn Southwick arrive for the premiere of the film 'Walk the Line' in New York City in 2005. Credit: Andrew Gombert / European Pressphoto Agency