Q: Who are your top five interviews?
A: First, Malcolm X. He taught me a lot about my own thinking. He made me concentrate much more on racism in America in the early '60s. He was profound and memorable.
Frank Sinatra: He was vibrant, passionate. He had a little chip on his shoulder, he had a sense of humor, and he could literally put you on stage with him.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Eloquent, a preacher beyond "preacherdom," if there is such a word. He changed the room when he walked in, and he had one of the greatest voices ever.
Mario Cuomo: Consistently passionate, a wonderful sense of humor, bright, an interviewer's dream.
Jane Fonda: Great sense of humor. She has drive, extraordinary compassion and an ability to articulate her positions on various issues.
Q: Who were the toughest nuts to crack?
A: Robert Mitchum. He just one-worded me. He never would elaborate on any answer.
Bob Hope, who would not get into himself. Everything with Hope, whom I liked, was off the top of his head; there was no inner gut feeling. It would be a stretch to find tougher interviews.
There have been many, many tough interviews when I did man-on-the-street or ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Q: What's your single most memorable career moment?
A: Danny Kaye, talking to the mother of a sailor killed in Korea. She called in to my radio show to tell him how much her son loved Danny and how she dusted Danny's picture next her son's picture on her television set every day. Danny sang Deenah to her.
Q: Are you going to retire someday?
A: Retire to what? I wouldn't know what to do with retirement. I love what I do. I still feel just as good. I still like it when the light goes on. I still love meeting people. My curiosity remains endless. And I figure the more I work, the more I push off that big Brooklyn guy in the sky from making the grab.
Q: What if CNN had never come along?
A: CNN happened because I worked in television all my years, as well. In fact, my 50 years in broadcasting include 48 on television. So I wouldn't have been on CNN, but I would have been on local television in Miami, Washington and L.A., if I had moved to L.A. The effect would have been I wouldn't have been known in Tehran.
Q: Youare a master of keeping conversations going. How do you do that?
A: I can't explain it. I'm a who, what, where, when guy. I think I ask short questions. I get to the point. The interviewee knows that I am interested in what he or she has to say. They know that I'm listening to the answer, and I have a sense of pace that is natural.
Q:What is it like being the father of young kids at your age?
A: Having small children at ages 8 and 6 at 73 is the ultimate joy. I feel like I'm born again, not in a religious sense, but very much in a spiritual sense.
Q: How do you feel about your multiple impersonators over the years?
A: Generally flattering, enjoyed it a lot. The best was Norm MacDonald on Saturday Night Live.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
A: I wish I had spent more time with my adult children when they were growing up. Professionally, I don't think I would do a darned thing differently. And I'd hope that my luck stayed the same, because luck is prominent in any successful person's life.
Q: For the record, how many marriages and kids?
A: Six marriages. My children are Andy, who is 50; Larry Jr., 45; Chaia, 39; Chance, 8; and Cannon, 6.
Q: What would be your single bit of advice based on your years in TV and on earth?
A: It's a bit of advice that the late Arthur Godfrey gave to me, which is, "The only secret in this business is there's no secret." Be yourself. If the public likes you, they will like you.
Q: What interviewees have eluded you?
A: Pope John Paul II, Fidel Castro and Prince Charles. The pope was an awful hard nut to crack, but I got a maybe. Prince Charles, we've come close; and Fidel, I'm working hard on now.
Q: Go ahead, anoint your successor.
A: (CNN's) John Roberts. He was a great White House correspondent,
and he's a natural interviewer.
Q: Talk about your trademark suspenders.
A: I buy them, people give them to me, I probably own about 150.
Q: You host Livein Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. That's a lot of flying.
A: I would say 10,000 to 15,000 miles a month.
Q: What's your favorite city for hosting?
A: Los Angeles, where I live. I love it because I'm on at 6 p.m. PT, and I get to have dinner with my family and friends after work.
Q: You had a bypass in '87. What's your favorite meal pre-heart surgery? Post?
A: Before my heart surgery, lamb chops, double baked stuffed potato, salad with lots of blue cheese dressing, lemon meringue pie, coffee with cream. After my heart surgery, broiled well-done swordfish, steamed string beans, half a baked potato, coffee with skim milk, mixed berries. Boring.
Q: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I've needed glasses since I was 7, and we were so poor after my father died that New York City bought my first pair of glasses. We were on relief. Now it's called welfare.