Saturday, December 22, 2012

Texan author Larry King is no more

Pakistan News & Features Services

Lawrence Leo King, more famous as Larry King, was a famed journalist, author, essayist and playwright. He expired at the age of 83 on December 21. According to reports he died after battling emphysema at Chevy Chase House, a retirement home in Washington where he had been living the past six months. 

He was born on January 1, 1929, in the town of Putnam in West Texas. He grew up mostly on a rural farm until his family moved to Midland, where he went to high school. 

His father, Clyde Clayton King, was a farmer and a blacksmith and the subject of ‘The Old Man’ known to be one of his son’s best-known essays.

Larry King had left the high school prior to graduation to join the Army just after World War II and served most of his stint in the New York area making training films. Upon return he got his first writing job at The Hobbs Daily Flare, a New Mexico newspaper, and later briefly attended Texas Technological College, now Texas Tech University, in Lubbock. 

In the mid-1950s he had moved to Washington as an aide to a Texas congressman, J T Rutherford. Later he joined the staff of another Texas representative, Jim Wright, the future speaker of the House. He left in 1964 to become a full-time writer. 

He was granted a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard for the 1969-70 academic year. He wrote about it for Harper’s in an essay called ‘Blowing My Mind at Harvard.’ 

‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ was made into a 1982 film starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, and a sequel to the stage musical, ‘The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public’ appeared briefly on Broadway in 1994. 

His books included ‘None But a Blockhead’ about the act of writing, and a children's book called ‘Because of Lozo Brown’ about the fears children have of meeting others. Collections of his essays were also published, including ‘The Old Man and Lesser Mortals’ which began as an article about his father. He won an Emmy for his 1982 television documentary for CBS ‘The Best Little Statehouse in Texas’ while He taught at Princeton and was a fellow at Duke.

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