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Story pick: The art of the Larry King takedown

Larry King announced this week that he is hanging up his suspenders after 25 years behind the mic at CNN. Sad for his fans, perhaps, but a great opportunity to take another look at the genre known as the Larry King Profile, among the best of which was written by the Washington Post's David Finkel in 1991.

"This is a true story" is Finkel's first sentence, after which he recounts King charming a Philadelphia audience with memories of growing up in Brooklyn. King's best story that night stars Sandy Koufax, the Brooklyn Dodger pitcher with whom he claimed to have been friends as a teenager. It's an intricately woven yarn and the audience eats up.

Only one problem, as Finkel discovered when he called Koufax: King's anecdote is untrue. Koufax never knew King as a kid, a fact the reader learns early in the piece. What doesn't come until the climax, after readers learn of King's path from anonymity to (at that point) six wives and stardom, is Finkel confronting King with the truth. Great stuff. Check it out here.

By Marc Fisher  | July 1, 2010; 7:38 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  | Tags:  CNN and Larry King, David Finkel, Larry King, Larry King Live, Larry King bio, Larry King profile, Larry King takedown  
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