The One Question Larry King Regretted Asking
King asked thousands of questions throughout his career, but this is the one he wished he never posed.
Renowned radio host and CNN journalist Larry King died on Jan. 23 at the age of 87 after six decades in the media industry. He was known for his unparalleled interview skills, which allowed him to get intimate stories out of political leaders, sports heroes, and Hollywood stars. However, King did have some interview regrets along the way. Back in his early days, King had a slip-up that made the whole audience fall silent. To find out the question King said he regretted asking, read on, and for another infamous King interview, check out Jerry Seinfeld Broke His Silence on That Awkward Larry King Interview.
King regretted asking a priest this awkward question.
During an Aug. 2020 interview with political pundit Frank Luntz, King was asked if there was any question he regretted asking throughout his career. "That's easy," he replied, calling to mind an occasion quickly. "I had just started doing interviews—you know, I was a kid," explained King. "I had the priest on from the local seminary, and I asked him, is he married and how many children does he have?"
The question made the audience fall silent since the priest was from a Catholic church, where priests can't marry or have children. "There was a studio audience there, and there was a pause, and I didn't know what the h*** I said wrong," King said.
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He loved asking "dumb" questions.
The legendary interviewer ultimately chalked up the whole experience to "a little stupidity" on his part. However, it seems like the moment stuck with him. "That was in my stupid days," he said, "but that I remember from 63 years ago."
Although the slip-up was a long time ago, it doesn't seem too far off from something that would have happened during a King interview in his later years since he notoriously loved "dumb" questions.
In fact, in 2016, he told the Los Angeles Times that a friend once told him the "secret of [his] success" was asking dumb questions. "By dumb, he means, 'Help me. I don't understand. Why? Why did you do that?'" King explained of his approach, which was often to ask obvious or naive questions.
For more from your favorite talk show hosts, check out Jon Stewart Said This Was the Worst Daily Show Guest Ever.
He also didn't prepare for interviews.
The misguided question King asked the priest could have been avoided had he done a little research beforehand. However, the award-winning host also didn't do interview prep. "I shun too much preparation. I don't want to know the answer to a question I'm going to ask. I like to be surprised," he told the Los Angeles Times.
He added that he often couldn't prepare because he didn't know who was coming on his show since most guests were booked by the suggestion of his producers.
For another host's most notorious interview, check out The Worst Late Night Guest Conan O'Brien Ever Had.
And he never turned a guest down.
Although the producers would recommend some outlandish guests, King was always game to sit down for a discussion. "I've never turned down a show because of my curiosity; it's insatiable. Now, when I'm sitting down to interview a soap opera star, I might not be looking forward to it as much as if it were a major political figure. But once the light goes on, my curiosity kicks in, and I'm in the moment. It's a kind of escape," King told the Los Angeles Times.
And for another CNN host who would turn a guest down, check out The One Guest Anderson Cooper Banned From His Show.