Kindred Spirits in the World of Talk: APB CEO Robert Walker Remembers His Over 40 Year Friendship with Larry King
25 Jan 2021
One was from Brooklyn. The other from the Bronx. Both grew up as diehard Brooklyn Dodgers fans, eventually leaving New York as their beloved team had. At the height of their respective careers, both were described as “kings”: Larry King was the “king of talk,” and Robert Walker, “the king of talkies” (as Newsweek described the “lecture industry” in a feature on Walker). When the news of Larry King’s death reached the world, millions mourned, remembering the legendary broadcaster. But for Walker, the CEO and founder of APB, who represented King from the mid-1970s until his death, it was a passing of tremendous personal significance.
“Larry and I bonded immediately because of our common backgrounds growing up in New York,” says Walker. The two began working together in the mid-1970s, when Walker headed the #1 speakers bureau in the world and King was years away from becoming a household name. “I was already representing Larry when Bob Woolf, a powerhouse sports agent/manager that respected my eye for talent, asked me to fly to DC with him to meet with Larry. We had a great dinner. On the plane back to Boston, Bob asked me, ‘So, should I represent him?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Absolutely! This guy’s going places!” Woolf soon signed King, managed his rise in radio, and eventually, negotiated the deal with CNN for Larry King Live. The rest is broadcasting history.
For years, King’s relationship with APB sent him to speaking dates and appearances around the world. “I booked him all over Europe, South America, Israel and the Middle East,” says Walker. “He was much in demand in the former Soviet Union, doing dates in Moscow, Ukraine…even Kazakhstan. Larry loved getting out of the studio and connecting with in-person audiences. Sometimes, I was lucky enough to travel with him." In 2017, when Walker booked celebrity guests for Kuwaiti TV’s award-winning “People with Power” series, he recommended his friend, Larry, who was the only guest to appear for two seasons of the show.
Even through the pandemic, Walker continued working with King on virtual speaking dates and appearances. “There was no stopping Larry from working and never a thought of him ever slowing down. Larry loved meeting and talking with people,” Walker continued. “His death is such a profound loss.” Reflecting on their over 40 year relationship in a business where commitment and loyalty are rare, the speaking industry giant’s voice filled with emotion. “He became a part of our APB family. That’s what it’s like when you work with someone for that long. You’re not just business associates. You’re truly family.”
In honor of Larry King’s memory, APB has made a donation to the American Heart Association.