TELL IT TO THE KING by Larry with Peter Occhiogrosso King


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Succulent, spirited gossip from the 30-year Fries of the top banana of radio and cable-TV interviewers. A brief, not too sentimental note about a recent heart attack at age 53 (which axed his three-pack-a-day cigarette habit but not his 16-hour workday) leads King into the often comic heart of this episodic memoir: brief reports on meets, both on and off the air, with the famous. There's Jimmy Swaggart trying to convert King ("" 'I love the Jews,' he said. . .'Christ was Jewish--you gave us our leader. Larry, take that one step'""): porn star Marilyn Chambers offering to make love to King during a short radio news-break (King accepts, but can't perform); gangster Meyer Lansky tugging on King's sleeve at a Miami Beach restaurant to ask ""in his classic New York Jewish accent, 'Ya makin' a dollar?' ""; Jimmy Breslin caught during a phone-in by a high-school boy calling to berate him for welching on a promise to attend a high, school graduation; Robert McNamara telling King about how, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, JFK noticed a sexy new secretary: ""Kennedy leaned over to McNamara. 'Bob, I want her name and her number,' he said. 'We may avoid war here tonight' ""; and so on. Hundreds of close-focus anecdotes sorted into chapters on comics, actors, politicians, athletes, cops and robbers, writers, and clergy; but what gives King's tales their edge are his frank asides on those he's met. Of Judith Krantz, for instance: ""Judith thinks she's a terrific writer, and you can't convince her otherwise. They all think they are. Not one will admit they've got a great formula and have the public snowed pretty well."" Or baseball's Tommy Lasorda, ""who has made a business out of his own celebrity. He has never picked up a check in his life that I know of."" And. . .so on. Little depth but enormous range, and told by an expert raconteur: grade-A chow for celebrity hounds.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1988
Publisher: Putnam