Larry King leaving TV show

Larry King in his signature braces

Larry King in his signature braces

American television presenter Larry King has announced he will be calling it a day this autumn.

The 76 year old, who has been a star interviewer for CNN for a quarter of a century, told his followers on Twitter that “it’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” He is famed for wearing red braces while on air.

He said his departure would give him more time for his wife and children, although added that he would still present special programmes and remain “part of the CNN family”.

Mr King has been married seven times, but after filing for divorce in April he and his current wife have reconciled.

The son of Russian Jews, Lawrence Harvey Zeiger grew up in Brooklyn and shot to fame first with a radio career and then as the host of late night chat show Larry King Live. The show airs five nights a week.

With more than 40,000 interviews to his name, he has questioned personalities including Tony Blair, Bill Gates and Lady Gaga, and has quizzed every president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.

In 1987 he had quintuple bypass heart surgery, and in 2007 he underwent an operation to remove a blockage of an artery.

Mr King is seen as something of a national treasure in America, but ratings have been sliding as audiences switch to younger rivals with more intrusive styles of questioning.

He said: “I'm looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring.”

Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan has previously denied that he would replace Mr King.

King's interview style was plain-spoken and critics would suggest occasionally ill-prepared, but he was good at making his guests feel comfortable.

Jon Klein, the US president of CNN, described he broadcaster as a “living, breathing Hall of Famer who is still doing the work".

Larry King Live recently entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest-running show with the same presenter in the same time slot.

Last updated: 1:09pm, October 12 2010