Frank Sinatra, 1988
The Chairman of the Board spoke with King in 1988. "A good question can open up doors in my mind that I would never think of discussing with anybody," Sinatra told King. And, keeping the anchor on his toes, Sinatra added: "It's important, actually, that the interviewer does his homework." The legend also exposed a glimmer of self-doubt, revealing to King, "I tremble every time I take the step and I walk out of the wing onto the stage."
Marlon Brando, 1994
In 1994, King visited Brando at his home in Los Angeles' Coldwater Canyon for a rare interview. They laughed, they sang…they kissed. Brando horsed around with his interviewer, pinching his nose as he cut to a commercial break, blotting King's forehead with a tissue, and, after serenading him, smacking him square on the lips.
Tammy Faye Messner, 2007
Famed televangelist and Christian singer Tammy Faye Bakker Messner gave her final interview to King in 2007 at the age of 65, appearing on the show a mere ghost of her former self. She described her battle with colon and lung cancer, saying she could no longer swallow food and admitted to weighing only 65 pounds. A day after the interview, she died. Messner told King that her death was imminent, but said, "I know for sure, I'm positive," that she was going to heaven.
O.J. Simpson Car Chase, 1994
As King began his broadcast on June 17, 1994, producers told him through his earpiece: "We've got a report to pick up the car. Go to the car." For the next two and a half hours, King anchored the chase that riveted America—footage of the police in pursuit of Simpson's white Bronco. King learned that Simpson had a gun to his head in the car. Later, the anchor spoke with Detective Tom Lange of the Los Angeles Police Department, who had called Simpson on his cell phone during the chase. "Let me get to my house," Simpson told Lange during the call, which was aired during the broadcast. "I'll give you me, I'll give you my whole body." He added, "All I did was love Nicole," and "I'm the one who deserves to get hurt." Lange begged Simpson to throw his gun out the window, telling him, "You're scaring everybody."
NAFTA Debate, 1993
We may associate Al Gore with global warming, documentaries, and divorces now, but back in 1993 he was a vice president who needed to prove himself in a debate against Ross Perot. Both Perot and Gore agreed to go on King's show and debate the merits of NAFTA. King later recounted a call the next day from then President Clinton, who said the free trade agreement would not have passed without the show. More than 16.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the historic debate.
Deep Throat, 2006
For 33 years, Mark Felt kept a secret that the entire country wanted to know—who is Deep Throat? The former FBI associate director opened up to King in 2006 about the pivotal role he played bringing down Richard Nixon as the Watergate whistleblower. Asked if he enjoyed his nickname, Felt responded, "I'm proud of everything Deep Throat did." King revealed the inner core of Deep Throat as a self-assured man who had no regrets.
Jerry Seinfeld, 2007
"Do you know who I am?" the famed comic asked the host on national television. King brought out a side of Jerry Seinfeld few had seen, after provoking the comedian by asking if his hit show had been canceled. Was he simply asking a question, or slipping in his interview techniques? Whatever the case, King's inquiry greatly irritated Seinfeld, who went to commercial break by asking for a résumé for King to read.
Carrie Prejean, 2009
"It's a confidential agreement, Larry," did not satisfy King when he repeatedly asked controversial beauty queen Carrie Prejean to disclose the reason behind her settlement with the Miss California USA pageant. When King tried to diffuse the situation by taking a viewer call, which turned out to be about gay marriage, Carrie took off her microphone, sat on the set, and threatened to leave the show.
Paris Hilton, 2007
Freshly sprung from the joint, Paris Hilton gave her first post-jail interview to King. Hilton described the media circus that surrounded her first moments out of jail as "pandemonium." King asked Hilton if she was taught a lesson in jail, to which she responded, "God does make everything happen for a reason. It gave me a time out in life to find out what is important and find out who I am."