December 16, 2002
Sitting in the guest seat on Dr. Phil isn’t so easy for Larry King. “The hardest thing I have about being interviewed is the desire I have to ask the questions,” he says.
Larry Zeiger hit the airwaves in 1957. As he sat down in front of the radio microphone for the first time, the station manager renamed him Larry King. Forty-five years later at the age of 68, he still has no plans to retire.
But even Larry King, who’s married for his fifth time and is now the father of 2- and 3-year-old boys (“without Viagra!”), can use a dose of Dr. Phil’s advice.
Dr. Phil: Have you ever been intimidated by anybody that you had sitting in the chair?
Larry King: Only once. It lasted for 10 seconds, and it’s because it was Frank Sinatra, and he didn’t do interviews. It was my radio show.
Dr. Phil: What went through your mind when you made the decision to have children at 65 years of age?
Larry King: First, I was marrying a Mormon girl. And Mormons like to have children. And she had a son … and she wanted more children. We discussed this during the engagement period. I’m an agnostic, so the kids will be raised Mormon. If I were a devout Jew, I doubt that the marriage would have worked, because we would have argued over how they were going to be raised… But what I knew is that she made me feel young, she was young, the kids would be young, and maybe it’s a little bit of ego that you’ll leave them something else… If you’ve seen my wife, there’ll be another guy! At her age and the way she looks, she will have no problem remarrying.
Dr. Phil: What’s it like to live with you? How would Shawn answer that question? What do you guys fight about? What do you talk about?
Larry King: We don’t fight except about one thing and that’s the clock. I’m a clockhead. I always know what time it is, I look at my watch 400 times a day. That must be from the broadcast career. I have worked in broadcasting for 45 years, and 95 to 97 percent of the time, I’ve worked live. I like live broadcasting… I like immediacy. The insurance agent can come in five minutes late. I can’t be late. So I’ve become a clockhead. My wife is the opposite of a clockhead. I’ve bought her three watches since we’ve been married. They’re pieces of jewelry. I bought them for a purpose! I love her madly, but time is incidental… Maybe you can help me! … It is the only conflict in our marriage.
Dr. Phil: What do you do when you get angry?
Larry King: Sometimes I get frustrated and I let it out. I’ll get angry for like two minutes. It never lasts long, and I never hold a grudge. I will not say the next day, ‘I’m still mad at you.’ I’m angry for five minutes. And sometimes it will lead into where I better walk out of the room.
Dr. Phil: What makes you angry?
Larry King: Lateness. And sometimes incompetence.
Dr. Phil: If you were going to write in, saying ‘Dr. Phil, I want to talk to you about something I need to straighten out in my life,’ what would it be?
Larry King: How can I best deal with my promptness and lateness around me? How can I best deal when emotions flair? Because they don’t last long, basically I’m even keeled, and most of the time I try to be funny, and I think I’m loving, but how do I deal with those upsetting times?
Dr. Phil’s Advice:
You may not have thought about it this way, but when you’re angry, that’s the time in your life that you’re playing the victim the most. Obviously you’re offended because you’ve been transgressed against, you’ve been hurt, you’ve been attacked in some way. Do you feel like a victim when you’re angry? … You understand of course, when you’re angry, that’s also the time that you are the absolute weakest in your life. Because you’ve taken on the victim role.
Dr. Phil: If somebody said there’s no more television after tomorrow, who would you want on your last show?
Larry King: You’d be right up there, but I’ve done you before, so it’d be someone I hadn’t done, and it would be this pope. He’s a playwright, a poet, raised among Jews, is Polish living in Rome, has been shot, kissed the person who shot him, traveled more than any other pope in history, very, very conservative in areas of the church, very very liberal in areas of social politics … speaks five languages, my God.