Larry King to write on presidents he's known, his votes and all those wives
Harvey Weinstein has announced that he'll publish next summer a book called "What Am I Doing Here?" by a former Brooklyn delivery boy named Lawrence Harvey Ziegler.
Should be a great read on the subway. All right, we're messing with ya. Lawrence Ziegler was the street name of someone now known as Larry King, a former radio and now TV talk-show host who has interviewed pretty much everybody in the entire world, except a couple of taxi drivers in India and the Emperor of Japan.
Larry's going to reveal in his book what he thinks of every president since Lincoln. Just kidding. Since Nixon. And which ones he voted for.
Larry, a must-stop for presidential candidates, has left a mark on politics. Everyone who is anyone or wants to be in the world of politics comes through his studio because Larry's got no gotcha. He just wants to talk, actually listen. Lar's got no agenda. Just endless questions like regular people, only triter.
"I remind myself every morning," Larry has said. "Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
Larry is an incredible listener, leaning on that shiny desk, sleeves ...
... partially rolled up, wearing those old-fashioned aviator glasses and hair that really should be gray. You just wanna snap those suspenders so badly.
Larry wants to know about a politician's childhood baseball hero, their favorite breakfast, where they've traveled recently and the funny story about their lost luggage. He's obviously no threat to these politicians, who keep coming on and let their instinctive guard down and chatting like real people. And people who saw that day's terrible tornado. And movie stars too.
At the end of the hour, there's no breaking news. But you sort of have a sense of understanding this person a little more as a human being. And you don't mind spending what seems like 40 minutes with Billy Mays for the 20 minutes with Larry and his latest best friend.
You watch next month, when John McCain and Barack Obama announce their running mates, the first or second interview they'll each do is Larry -- and not just because they don't want grilled. The first place George W. Bush's VP pick, Dick Cheney, went in 2000 was to see Larry, which not coincidentally got the heart attack question out of the way from a sympathetic someone who'd had his own.
Ross Perot made his presidential candidacy announcement on Larry's show. Jesse Ventura chickened out last night. Al Gore was on for some reason. All the Bushes and Clintons. Not to mention everyone who ever had a thought about the O.J. Simpson trial.
Larry's show started in 1985. The ratings went through the roof. Now, it's been extended into 2011. People loved the excitement, the featureless black background and Larry's fairly friendly face as fascinating folks like Anna Nicole Smith talked about how much they loved their own old guy.
Or Don Rickles tells that story again about meeting Frank Sinatra. Sometimes it seems like Lucille Ball is still on every once in a while.
Larry got his start when he wandered down to Miami where they didn't know talent from coconuts and some little radio station next to a minor swamp hired him for the overnight show, talking to insomniacs and nut jobs all over South Florida and eventually America.
There, Larry perfected his famous phrase, "Line 4, Seth in Homestead. You're on the air." Even though there really were only two lines. And Seth would talk about his recent marital breakup while Larry went to the men's room.
Like most of us, to be honest, Larry's no looker. But he's still had all these gorgeous wives, including a Playboy bunny. Which is gonna take some explaining in the book that Weinstein calls a "definitive autobiography," according to the ubiquitous MediaBistro.com.
Larry's had seven weddings at last count with six different women, which is a lot of stomped glass. And there've been a fair number of failed fiancees too.
Not to mention his five years with Angie Dickinson, which is no doubt the most eagerly awaited chapter for many males, even if they haven't survived several heart attacks.
Larry may even re-explain why those garlic stamina tablets are so good for us. Ten years ago at 65, we will learn in the book, Larry discovered he had a grown son he'd not known. Talk about stamina. Larry would have made a good guest on his own show that night.
As every author knows who's ever been on Larry's show hawking a new book, the host does not read them. Never. And he's proud of that. He just lets authors talk about their work, which is fine with publicists.
So the big question then is, when Larry's own book comes out, will he read it before he interviews himself and lets himself talk?
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo credit: Larry King Live