10+ Interesting Things About Larry King Fans Didn't Know

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't know who Larry King is.

After all, he's own of the most famous television and radio hosts of all time. He's interviewed some of the world's most famous people, with everyone from Marlon Brando to Lady Gaga to Hillary Clinton.

But now, it's time to get to know the man behind the mic. Here are 10+ interesting things you didn't know.

1. His real name is actually Lary Zeiger.

According to King's autobiography, My Remarkable Journey, his first boss didn't like his original surname since it sounded "too ethnic."

When the boss looked down at the paper, he saw an ad for King's Wholesale Liquors and thus, Larry King was born.

2. His childhood dream was to be on the radio.

"I just wanted to be an announcer," he told CJR. "I wanted to be anything. I wanted to talk into a microphone. I don’t know why, I must have had a good voice pre-puberty."

3. He once *really* pissed Jerry Seinfeld off.

Interviewers take note. If you get the chance to interview Jerry, do not ask him whether Seinfeld was canceled or not.

When Larry did, he got ripped a new one by the highly-offended actor and comedian.

4. The very first time he was live on the air, he choked.

Yes, even Larry King once had a case of the pre-show jitters!

He told CJR that when he turned on his mic, no words came out. "The general manager kicked open the door to the control room and said, 'This is a communications business, dammit. Communicate!'"

5. He does minimal preparation for his shows.

This might seem like a pretty irresponsible thing for an interviewer to do, but King has always said that this technique helps him learn more about his subjects.

It has backfired a time or two, though.

Like the time he interviewed *American Idol* contestant Sanjaya Malakar in 2007 without even knowing who he was.

Another time, he told Entertainment Weekly:

"When I was just starting — I swear to God — I asked a Catholic priest if he had any children and how old they were. That's pretty dumb."

6. He once hit JFK with his car.

This happened in Miami in 1958. At the time, John F. Kennedy was still an up-and-coming politician.

But that didn't stop him from losing his cool. "Early Sunday morning, no traffic, not a cloud in the sky, I'm parked — how could you run into me?" Kennedy asked, according to Larry's memoir.

In the end, JFK said that he would forget the whole thing if King promised to vote for him when he ran for president.

King made the promise and then JFK told him to "stay way behind" him.

He wasn't taking any chances!

7. He used to broadcast Miami Dolphin games.

Since he's a self-professed "sports freak," he thought that he would become a sportscaster.

"Red Barber, the Dodger announcer, was one of my heroes, as was Arthur Godfrey, who I later worked with."

8. He's been married eight times.

He's quite the marrying kind.

His first wife was Freda Miller, who was actually King's high school sweetheart. He married her when he was 18, but Miller's parents ended up annulling their marriage.

A year later, he married Annette Kaye.

She was the woman who would birth his first son.

At one point, he even remarried one of his ex-wives twice.

This was Alene Akins, who he wed again five years after their first divorce. There were many more women after this. As for his current relationship status, though? He's single.

9. He's currently going through a "difficult divorce" to Shawn Southwick King.

"I’m sorry about the marriage,” King told People in February.

“I’ll always care for my wife. But it just hit a point where we didn’t get along."

10. He's adamant that he's never cheated on his wives.

When you've been married eight times, there are bound to be rumors of infidelity along the way.

Despite this, King has always defended his reputation. “I never cheated on my wives,” King told People.

If anything, it was his career that got in the way of several of his marriages.

“My career always came first," he said.

"I used to say if CNN called with an emergency and my wife called with an emergency, I’d call CNN back first.”

11. He once kissed Marlon Brando on the lips.

Lucky guy!

This unexpected liplock took place during their 1994 interview together. "He's the only man who has ever kissed me on the lips, including family members," Larry later told Entertainment Weeky.

12. He's had a lot of health problems over the years.

He was only 56 when he had his first heart attack. Six months after this, he had a quintuple bypass.

In addition to this, he's had type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer — all things that don't help his biggest fear: death.

Most recently, he suffered a stroke.

To say it's been a rough year for King would be an understatement. He suffered a stroke that put him in a coma back in March.

"They told my family I was going to die,” he told People of the aftermath of his stroke.

13. Since the stroke turned his life so upside down, he considered ending it all.

“I thought I was just going to bite the bullet. I didn’t want to live this way,” King told Frank Buckley Interviews.

He went on to say that he didn’t want to live dependent on others. Thankfully, in the end, he kept moving forward.