Finally, here are four 1972 articles about Larry King and me

Many of you know that I dated Larry King in the 1950s when we were both young broadcasters in Florida. Decades later, while divorced with two toddlers in 1971 and struggling to survive, I heard his plea for doughnuts and coffee, and dropped in on him at the studio. He didn't remember me, but he was funny and the guests were interesting. I found myself captivated by the music, comedy, and guests in a during a very difficult time of my life. Larry made me laugh, and I came to while away the hours as his unpaid "screener" -- the person who talks to the callers before they go on the air to get their names and suggested topics.

Then, it was a December night in 1971 when Larry was arrested for a failed financial deal. If you are curious, here's the link with his photo that day:

Larry's marital and financial dealings are well documented on the Internet at Wikipedia. I have added some of my own knowledge, as have others. It took Larry years to reestablish his career, and I never saw or heard from him again.

Meanwhile, I was chosen to substitute for Larry while the WIOD program manager, Elliot "Biggie" Nevins, searched for a male replacement.

From the archives of the Miami newspapers in 1972, I have assembled more information to back up my story for the sake of accuracy. I wish it had been otherwise, but Larry King's misfortunes were responsible for me becoming one of the first female radio talk show hosts with a full-time daily show, working first in Miami, and then in Boston, Massachusetts on WEEI and WMEX.

Miami Daily News 1972.jpg

Questions anyone?

Brief explanation for the name differences. I was born Ellen Kimball. At UCLA in 1959, I met this handsome dark-haired stranger from New York City (via the Free State of Danzig, now Poland). His name was Peter R. We were both enrolled in the Theater Arts Department. I was attracted to him because he was cute, but then he tried to cheat off my Hamlet exam! (Absolutely true.) I had a bicycle and lived at an all-girl dormitory, Twin Pines, on Hilgard Avenue. Peter seduced me with his off-campus boys'- only apartment, an older car, a deep baritone voice and the cute way he rolled up his pack of cigarettes in his T-shirt sleeve.

I left UCLA under difficult circumstances after a year, and Peter was inducted into the Army. He kept writing to me during a most troubling time of my life. I still have all the letters. After his stint in Korea as a SP-4 in communications, we met up again in New York City's Time Square, right under the Bond sign. We dated and decided to marry in December 1963.

Now, his legal name was just two letters shy of the word RAINBOW. We had a loving relationship (not perfect... whose is?)and some good jobs in media. Along the way, we raised a cute Cocker Spaniel "Buffy" and two beautiful children.

In 1970, Peter decided to alter his life course and it no longer included me. (From August 1970, the quote still burns in my ears. "I don't love you any more.")

Our divorce was final on his birthday in March 1971. A few weeks later, he remarried an attractive divorced Jewish lady with mental and musical gifts, a fellow New Yorker, fabulous cook, all among her many other positive attributes. Peter helped her raise her two children and they both retrained as psychological counselors. I also met and married my current husband in 1973, and took on his three older children whose mother had died suddenly of cancer at age 34.

Later, when I became too ill physically and mentally to carry on as a full-time mother, my ex-husband and his wife took on the responsibility of the two children until each one graduated from high school. I was the non-custodial parent, and we paid child support during this time. I was one of the first women in the Framingham (Middlesex County), Massachusetts, to do so.

Regrettably, Peter R. passed away from cancer in December 2006. I loved him for the better part of eleven years and still mourn his death today from those deadly cigarettes.

So, one night, when I was screening calls for Larry, some Floridian said, "Ellen RAinBOW, what a lovely name!"

Later, when I was hired as the first female talk show host with a daily call in program in Boston, the general manager thought RAINBOW was too hippie and requested that I go back to my thoroughly English maiden name, Kimball, chosen by my Russian born grandfather a few years after he arrived at Ellis Island...

January 29, 2009