The suspenders are coming.
Larry King, the host of “Larry King Live,” has accepted Bradley’s offer to speak at the December commencement ceremony.
“It’s wonderful that Larry King has agreed to speak to our graduates and their family and friends in December,” said University President Joanne Glasser. “He has been a key observer of history for a half-century, and I expect his unique insights will be of great value to our commencement audience.”
King’s journey to the Hilltop isn’t the usual one, where a committee selects and invites a speaker. Instead, it was something of a coincidence.
Over the summer, Glasser was in Chicago visiting with alumni, including Charley Steiner, who is now the radio voice for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Steiner invited Glasser to the Cubs/Dodgers game, where they ran into his good friend, Larry King. Glasser was introduced to King, and she brought up the idea of his coming to campus.
“Bringing Larry King to Bradley follows our tradition of bringing influential, interesting and nationally recognized figures to our commencement ceremonies,” Glasser said.
King’s show debuted on CNN in the summer of 1985, and is the first world-wide phone-in talk show. The program was converted from a radio format.
“Live” has hosted national figures ranging from celebrities to politicians.
The show is televised live each weeknight and features phone calls and e-mails from viewers across the globe. King was also the first to create a radio/TV talk show when he began simulcasting “Larry King Live” on Mutual/Westwood One radio stations nationwide.
The host, infamous for his trade-mark suspenders and thick glasses, has interviewed more than 40,000 people over the last half century, including exclusive interviews with every United States President since Gerald Ford.
Those interviews include an exclusive with ousted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who went on the show to start a media blitz last January while state legislators were holding a trial to decide whether or not to impeach him.
“Not only can I not bring witness … they are not required to prove a case up,” the Democrat told King on the Jan. 26 broadcast, which would be echoed many times in the weeks that followed.
“Live” is also famous for hosting long periods of live broadcasts after major events, including 20 consecutive nights after Hurricane Katrina, 29 consecutive nights after the Iraq invasion and 37 consecutive nights during the 2000 Florida recounts. During each of those events, King hosted hundreds of speakers relevant to issue, including George W. and Laura Bush and Al and Tipper Gore during the Florida recounts.
For students who aren’t familiar with his show, he’s also made cameo appearances in more than 20 movies, including “Ghostbusters” and “Shrek 2.”
King, 75, has won an Emmy Award, two Peabody Awards and 10 Cable ACE Awards.
The TV legend follows U.S. Rep Aaron Schock, who spoke last May, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald who spoke last December and Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner David Broder, who spoke in May 2008.