On Larry King’s last show, Katie Couric’s poem leaves a mark


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Larry King‘s last ‘Larry King Live’ show was a nonstop promenade of high-profile names and faces Thursday, including a current and a former president, a gaggle of news anchors and the like, King’s wife and kids, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declaring it ‘Larry King Day.’ Tony Bennett serenaded the host with ‘The Best Is Yet to Come.’ King himself even thanked ‘the suits at the top.’

But the standout, perhaps, was Katie Couric. Who wrote a poem. For Larry.

And read it, out loud.

All of it.

On purpose.

The text of the poem -- ‘filled with love’ from Couric and senior ‘LKL’ producer Wendy Walker, and delivered after President Obama‘s appearance and before former President Clinton‘s adieu and policy speech -- follows. Let’s just say, Clement Clark Moore and Dr. Seuss needn’t worry.

What are we to do without our top talker? Here’s an ode filled with love from me and Miss Walker. As you hang up your suspenders on your dressing room door, I speak for us all when I say we want more. More of the show that we instantly loved, for 25 years couldn’t get enough of. Your unique take on politics, culture and crime, never cutting off guests -- except for Barbara [Walters] -- always giving them time. You made NAFTA exciting, and that’s hard to do. And you scored Paris Hilton’s post-jail interview. Sinatra, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Bacall. So many stars, I just can’t name them all. From Heather Mills’ leg to Ross Perot’s twang, you always cajole, not harass or harangue. But there were moments when your guests had a cow. Seinfeld wasn’t canceled, Larry, but I guess you know that by now. Mike Tyson KO’d without throwing a punch. And you got Miss California’s sash in a bunch. You went gaga for Gaga, Sharon Stone, Janet Jackson. Alas, it was Brando who gave you some action. Eight presidents joined you, from Nixon to Obama, and you brought us each moment of O.J.’s long drama. Some startling shows I’ll never forget. Tammy Faye’s eyes, Ted Haggart’s regret. Your guests made us cry, made us laugh, made us think. Wynonna Judd told you about a God wink. I hadn’t heard that before, so I looked the phrase up. It’s a miracle, blessing, an overfilled cup. That’s what you are. And as old blue eyes might say, the best is yet to come, Larry. You did it your way. Congratulations, Larry.

Fortunately, Dr. Phil stopped by after the poem, just in case emotional counseling was needed.

Go nuts and share your favorite -- and least favorite -- moments from the last ‘Larry King Live,’ in comments.

For the record, 11:45 a.m.: In an earlier version of this post, Couric’s poem mentioned ‘Barbra,’ the first name of Barbra Streisand. Couric was in fact referring to King having cut off Barbara Walters.


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-- Christie D’Zurilla

Left photo: Katie Couric on Dec. 7. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters

Right photo: Larry King on Feb. 11, 2009. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press