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Reliving ‘Larry King Live’

January 23, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA, For The Leader-Herald

So, we got the "Larry King Live" Collection through Netflix. It's on three disks and each has about three hours of interviews King has done over his 25-year career on the show.

What Herman and I both found intriguing was how personal and unaffected King's questions were. King said in the introduction he just asks people everyday questions he thinks the average person would like to know.

One of the interviews I found most interesting was with Julia Roberts from 1994, which was about the time I knew her. Unlike other interviewers we see today, who seem to have an agenda, King asked direct, simple questions about how she got the part for "Pretty Woman" and how has her life changed since she starred in a blockbuster.

I remember her smiling in response to the latter question and laughing as she said, "Oh my God, Larry, hugely!"

In the bonus section at the end of the DVD, King was sitting in a chair reminiscing about some of the people he interviewed. One that stood out was Frank Sinatra. He said he never expected to be able to get Sinatra for an interview, although King was a big fan. But his friend Jackie Gleason said he'd be able to do the impossible.

King's first question to Sinatra when Frank showed up minutes before the broadcast was, "Why are you here?" After all, this was when King was still doing a local radio show in Florida.

To which Frank replied, that Gleason had stood in for him on a show when Sinatra had laryngitis, and so he owed Gleason one.

Sinatra said he had a message Gleason wanted him to call, and when he did, all Gleason had to say was, "This is the one."

Some of King's stories about his interviewees were fascinating, such as that he became friends with Marlon Brando, who was a bit of a recluse. When he asked Brando to go out to a restaurant with him, Brando said he never went out to eat. When they went out with a half-dozen others, he said Brando ate off everyone's plate but his own. He was apparently quite the character.

I know in my own acting studies, we studied "the method," also known as method acting. King compared Dustin Hoffman's method acting with Sir Lawrence Olivier's style. Hoffman said he tried to live the part on and off stage to stay in character, whereas Olivier just showed up and acted the part without any hoopla.

Herman surprised himself by liking a lot of the interview clips, although he isn't usually a talk-show watcher.

I look forward to seeing the new Piers Morgan Show that is taking King's place on CNN. We'll see if he can live up to the King's legacy. He'll have big shoes to fill.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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