HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — During the pandemic, Larry King Jr., son of famous broadcaster Larry King, decided to launch a new pizza venture with his father at the Club at Cheval in Lutz.
ABC Action News sat down with King Jr. the day before King, 87, passed away. We were profiling King Jr. for the Rebound Tampa Bay to talk golf, pizza, and the future.
"When (the) pandemic hit, my dad and I were sitting around, and he said, 'what are you going to do? Your restaurant is closed. Everything I am hearing is you gotta be delivery, pickup business. That is pizza," and he goes in his voice you know 'if you are going to do pizza, you gotta do Brooklyn,'" King Jr. said.
King Jr. owns the Club at Cheval, an 18-hole golf course helping people and families escape the pandemic through outdoor sports. King Jr. says it has been a big hit with families.
"It's got golf, it's got a restaurant, after school programs," King Jr. said. "We are seeing 25-30% growth, which is great. You know they talked about the Tiger effect in golf in the 90s golf's never been able to get back to that, the pandemic has brought that back, and then a couple of weeks ago, I think it was well promoted Tiger is out there with his son his 11-year-old kid is doing that our after school golf has taken off golf is in a resurgence right now yeah."
King Jr. said his dad was working on shooting commercials for the pizza venture and coming up with fun ways to launch the product. The pizza boxes' design has not been released but will likely have King's image on it and the iconic suspenders and microphone forever linked to the famed broadcaster. King Jr. said the pizza business isn't just a way to help his business rebound from the pandemic but also help others.
"We are actually going to be announcing with every pizza that we do once we go, a portion of the proceeds are going to go to Feeding Tampa Bay," King Jr. said. "We know they've really needed help. They are really under the gun, so we are in lockstep with them to help them out."
Hours after King passed on Jan. 23, King's family said, "the world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us, he was 'dad.'
He was the man who lovingly obsessed over our daily schedules and our well-being and who took immense pride in our accomplishment s— large, small, or imagined. And, through it all, we knew without a doubt in the world that he loved us more than life itself. He was an amazing father, and he was fiercely loyal to those lucky enough to call him a friend. We will miss him every single day of our lives," Larry King, Jr., Change King, and Cannon King.
According to a family statement given to ABC Action News, King "was cleared of covid and released from the hospital for 24 hours before he expired. Sepsis [infection] and respiratory issues will be listed as the cause of death on his death when it is released in the coming weeks."
Kings Pizza is set to open later this month.
Here is the Rebound Rundown:
- Kings pizza is still in the development phase— but King Jr. still plans to launch later this month.
- A portion of all of the proceeds will go to Feeding Tampa Bay.
- The family tells ABC Action News King was released from the hospital after receiving treatment for COVID-19 — but died from a secondary infection that caused sepsis and respiratory failure.