“There’s never been anybody like him,” she said, “and there will never be anybody like him from now on.”
King, a longtime CNN host and icon in the news industry, died Saturday at age 87 in Los Angeles.
The broadcasting legend became a household name because of his interviewing style, and ability to have seemingly meaningful conversations with celebrities, world leaders and everyday people.
“He had such a rapport with people,” Grace recalled. “I don’t know if anyone could measure up to his style of interview. He set the bar for many, many other people.”
“He wanted to go out with a clean slate in his mind and ask the interviewee questions off the top of his head, questions like anyone who met that person on the street would want to know,” she continued.
Grace attributes her career in part to her relationship with King, who she first met in 1997 after she was asked to come onto his show, following the launch of the legal commentary show “Cochran & Grace.”
Grace continued to appear on “Larry King Live” for years before landing her own decade-long show in 2005, “Nancy Grace” on HLN, which is owned by CNN.
“Without Larry’s help, my career may not have been possible,” Grace told Fox News on Saturday. “For a girl that grew up on a red dirt road in the middle of Georgia, even meeting Larry King, much less having his support to launch my own program, was just unthinkable.”
“I tried to tell him over the years how much I appreciated him, but I don’t know that I ever had the words to tell him how much he meant to me,” she said.
Grace remembered King as a “genuine” person, whose character came through — both on and off camera.
“He was so gracious to people he knew, people he didn’t know, the waiter, the waitress – he was that way to everybody. The same way he was on the air when he would interview people, was the way he would speak to people in real life,” she said.
“In a world where it’s all about the sound bite, Larry wasn’t like that. He wanted to hear the whole story, and I learned that from him,” she continued.
King was a journalistic icon in not only the vast number of interviews he conducted, including every sitting U.S. president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama, but his casual manner that enabled the interviewee to open up.
King’s Q&A style transformed the perception of journalistic interviews, by allowing the interviewee to be the subject of importance, rather than the host – a style that Grace says has been lost in today’s media.
“In our TV culture now, it’s who speaks the loudest. It was not like that on the Larry King show at all, everybody got their say,” she added, noting that he would sit three feet from the interviewee and look right into their eyes the entire interview.
“He was really listening,” Grace said.
“I have a horrible, horrible habit of getting excited during an interview or a Q&A and jumping in,” Grace told Fox News laughing. “Larry hated that. And he was right.”
“Because he wanted to hear every last word a person had to say and he did not want me cutting anybody off, so I had to try and stop myself,” she added remembering fondly.
“He was a great, great man.”
Grace is set to launch a tribute to King on Fox Nation on Monday that will look at King’s life through the lens of his friends and previous coworkers who worked on his program.