Larry L. King, a famed writer and Tony Award-nominated playwright, dies Thursday at age 83.
King became famous for a magazine article he wrote about efforts to close down a bordello in Texas. This became the basis for the Tony Award-nominated musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which itself became a movie starring Burt Reynolds.
His wife, Barbara Blaine, noted that Larry L. King died in a retirement home after battling emphysema. Even when he was sick, King maintained his upbeat personalty, she noted.
“One of the things that I will always remember about Larry is that he remained funny all the way through this illness,” she said.
Larry L. King, who wrote two musicals, give plays, 14 books, and hundreds of magazine articles, had a “good ol’ boy” vernacular similar to Southern authors like Roy Blount, The Associated Press reported.
King started as a newspaper reporter but soon went to Washington, where he moved in 1954 to work for a newly elected Congressman from El Paso. He planned on staying for a few years and then go back to a newspaper, but ended up staying in politics and working as an aide for 10 years. He later wrote a book based on his experiences, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator.
But the assassination of John F. Kennedy caused Larry L. King to re-evaluate his life, causing him to quit politics and move to New York to teach and write books. There he also found work as a freelancer for magazines.
King was remembered for having a big personality and big ability to drink, the Washington Post noted.
“His certain knowledge of his origins informs his point of view and his prose style,” New York Times book critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote in a review of King’s 1971 memoir, Confessions of a White Racist. “And this confidence in his roots is what makes Mr. King’s writing so alive, dramatic, warm, and funny.”
As Larry L. King dies, he likely makes things a little easier on the television and radio host with whom he shared a name. The Washington Post noted that the writer was often confused with the other Larry King when making dinner reservations, and one Washington restaurant solved the problem by asking them when they reserved a table to identify themselves as either “Larry King ‘Radio’ ” or “Larry King ‘Whorehouse.’ ”