Mentored Larry King?
King has been in the interviewing business for over
40 years. He hosts CNN's Larry King Live, the only worldwide
phone-in television talk show, as well as the network's
highest rated program, Larry King Weekend, and a series
of specials for Turner Network Television. In addition,
he has written more than ten books.
I was a child, all I wanted to do was be on the radio,
and there were two great radio broadcasters who influenced
me and whom I admired. Arthur Godfrey was a wonderful
broadcaster who exemplified great values--he was a risk
taker, had a great personality, and above all, he was
always himself. Red Barber was a Dodger announcer whom
I not only listened to as a child, but also tried to
imitate. I can remember pretending to be him when I
was about ten years old, doing imaginary sports broadcasts
by myself. I later met and worked with both of these
men, which was like living out a dream.
of these men had an enormous influence on my career
as a radio broadcaster, for they taught me several important
lessons. From them, I learned to be myself, and to take
risks. They showed me that in our profession, the only
secret is that there is no secret, and that above all
I should trust my instincts. They gave me simple advice--to
be the best I could be...
individual who had an enormous influence on me was Edward
Bennett Williams, a genius in the courtroom and a wonderful
friend and adviser. Just being in his presence had a
strong effect on me. Above all, he explained truthfulness
and taught me that it was no shame to show one's feelings.
is one moment I shared with Edward that has stayed with
me for the past ten years. I was walking with him down
Connecticut Avenue two weeks before he died of cancer,
and he knew he was going to die. He was cheering me
up, telling me what a great career I had, and what a
wonderful life. I asked him, "Aren't you scared?"
was a devout Catholic, had always gone to church regularly
and he replied that if this life was all there was,
then it didn't make any sense, and everything was just
one big cosmic joke. Why do anything, he asked. Why
work? In his mind, there had to be something greater
than our life on earth, and he accepted this calmly.
This concept was much more logical to him than the idea
that there was nothing. I'm agnostic, and his words
had a tremendous impact on me. I can still hear his
voice, saying those words.
men had a collective impact on me, teaching me several
important lessons through their examples or their friendship.
They taught me to never be afraid to take a risk, never
cop out on my values, never lie to a friend, and, above
all, that all things will pass. I am a commentator,
not a brain surgeon. I do not save people's lives. Knowing
that I am not more important than anyone else, that
I go on the air at nine o'clock and then off again at
ten really puts things in perspective. This kind of
awareness is important to anyone who has risen to prominence
in their chosen career, for falling down can be much
harder than rising up.
from The Person Who Changed My Life: Prominent Americans
Recall Their Mentors by
Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Editor, with foreword by Sen. Hillary