Larry King to interview Edwin Edwards
When talk show legend Larry King sits down with Louisiana legend and former Gov. Edwin Edwards on Sunday, it will be the second time the two have gone one-on-one.
“I had him years ago on my old national radio show,” King said from Los Angeles in a recent interview. “God, must have been many, many years ago. It’s been ages.”
King, most well known for his nightly interview show on CNN, “Larry King Live,” which ran from 1985 to 2010, said he’ll probably get in about a half-hour of preparation before going on stage at the LSU Union Theater with Edwards.
“I’ll have an outline, general background. I don’t do specific questions in advance. I don’t plan where the interview’s going,” King said. “I get the known facts in my head: how long he was governor, what happened to him when he went to jail, getting out of jail, marriage, a child, basic accomplishments.
“Basically, I hate to ask a question that I know the answer to. That’s been a rule in my life. And number two, I never learned anything when I was talking, so I try to ask short questions and I listen to the answer, and I do a lot of follow-ups. Good interviewing is good listening,” he said.
King has done several of these live appearances, at colleges, the Kennedy Center, and most recently at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Los Angeles, where he interviewed Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, in front of about 1,500 conference attendees.
This won’t be King’s first job in Louisiana.
“I lived in Louisiana, with the opening of Louisiana Downs in Bossier City (in 1974),” King recalled. “I was between jobs in Miami and a friend of mine got me a job doing public relations, and I did some track announcing. Had a good time. I used to like to drive down to Cajun country, go to Evangeline, Delta Downs, the Fairgrounds. I had a lot of fun in Louisiana.”
King and his entourage will arrive in New Orleans on Saturday, and drive to Baton Rouge on Sunday.
“I plan to spend some time at the school. I’ve never spent any time at LSU. I’ve watched the team play over the years. I’m looking forward to that. I like talking to students. It’s always a kick.”
And while a second visit with the colorful former governor will no doubt be interesting, it’s just another of thousands of interviews King has conducted.
The one interview that has eluded King for years is former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
“We tried. I went down to Havana a couple years ago and met with some officials there. Nothing’s happened yet, but he’s still alive, and I’m still alive.”
Since leaving CNN, King hosts “Larry King Now,” a talk-oriented daily web series on the subscription service Hulu.
“We have a great time with it,” he said. “We have our own company, Ora TV, and Hulu distributes our product, and RT, the Russian Network, distributes it, and we’re going into Europe and Canada, as of Monday.
“It’s very different. It’s a half hour instead of an hour, it’s more casual, it’s taped and played the next day and I’m used to live.
“It’s amazing what the Internet has become and Hulu’s very happy with it.”
Off the air, one of King’s pastimes is tweeting.
“I dictate my tweets. Jerry Seinfeld said I invented the tweet, with my old USA Today column, where I just did random thoughts, and now that’s an international thing. I have 2.6 million followers.”
King, who’ll turn 80 in November, said he thought he’d retired at 77, after his final “Larry King Live.”
“They tell me 80 is the new 65,” he said, laughing. “I thought I could retire. I had a funny line the other day. Someone said I’m past the age of retirement.”
And what would King like his obituary to read?
“The headline should be: Oldest man that ever lived passed away today.”