Alabama News Network’s Chief Photographer Remembers Being on “Larry King Live”
While millions of fans of legendary TV interviewer Larry King are saddened to hear of his death this weekend, there is a special connection to King for one member of the Alabama News Network news team.
Alabama News Network Chief Photographer Bill Gill was a guest on “Larry King Live” on CNN in 1994. Gill was a news photographer for a TV station in Birmingham at the time.
The reason for the interview was that Gill was injured during ongoing racial tensions in Wedowee, Alabama, that started when the principal of the local high school canceled the annual prom because he didn’t want interracial couples to attend. That stance led to violence, a fire at the school and Gill’s injuries when he was pushed as he was recording video for a news story.
When the racial problem intensified, it grabbed national headlines and soon, Gill was invited to share his story with King.
“The first thing Mr. King did, he acknowledged the fact and apologized for what had taken place to me in Wedowee, one of the first persons of a very professional notoriety that actually extended a true sincere apology,” Gill remembers.
“He was very cordial, very professional. He made you feel like your story was the number one story and he did the best job in actually presenting and getting those stories out there,” Gill said.
King died Saturday at the age of 87 after a half-century in broadcasting that included interviews with presidents, movie stars and everyday people. No cause of death was given, but a spokesperson said this month he had been hospitalized with COVID-19.
King was a fixture on CNN from 1985 through 2010.