Freeloader Lives Like a King, for a Night

CNN Throws 50th Anniversary Party for Larry King

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The Event: Larry King's 50 Years on the Air Anniversary Party, hosted by CNN
The Date: April 18, 2007
The Venue: Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
The Crowd: A veritable who's who of the New York media elite -- Barbara Walters, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, Lou Dobbs, Mario Cuomo, Ron Howard, Joy Behar and the man of the hour, Larry King
The Food: Hors d'oeuvres befitting a King -- caviar and foie gras on crackers, plus a tasty beef wrapped in truffle oil and an unidentifiable crunchy substance. For the main course, leg of lamb, pesto pasta and a substantial amount of sushi to meet all culinary tastes
The Drinks: Red and white wine flowed freely, though a few guests were spotted with champagne in their bejeweled hands.
Larry King
Larry King

You know it's going to be a good party when the first people you see upon entering are Larry King, his youthful wife and an unidentifiable Lohan. Kinda makes you wish you had Page Six on speed dial. But then again, we're sure they sent their own representative.

The Lohan in question, by the way, turned out to be Lindsay's mom Dina. Her wavy blonde locks and extremely similar face threw us off, but a body showing evidence of nourishment and a voice that sounded nothing like a lit cigarette were the eventual giveaways.

The list of attendees mirrored the parade of famous faces that have sat across from Larry over his long, long career. Over the next hour, the sightings started racking up big time. Within a 45-second period, Freeloader passed Joan Rivers to our left (catlike makeup aside, doesn't look as plastic as she does on TV), Donald Trump to our right (the hair doesn't look any better in person) and the MVP of "The View" gals, Barbara Walters. Ms. Walters was impeccable in the flesh, and just as approachable as she appears on "The View." That said, Freeloader chickened out from thanking her for creating the subgenre of TV interviews we like to call "Walters weepies."

There were a few notable absences from a few of CNN's superstar anchors, but within reason -- Anderson Cooper was on assignment covering the Virginia Tech shootings, while Christiane Amanpour was likely on a canoe in the Mediterranean with a camera and a microphone, paddling her way to her next big story.

We did get a word with Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor, who told a truly amazing story about when he first saw Larry King on the air. Given that it was years before his 12-year tenure as governor (and therefore a bit before Freeloader's time) we mostly smiled and nodded as the endlessly engaging Mr. Cuomo regaled us with his enchanting tales of the New York media days of yore.

Shortly thereafter, the King himself said a few words of thanks to the room, acknowledging the impressive amount of uber-talented people on hand that night and how he never imagined he'd be speaking to such a group on Park Avenue 50 years into a career in broadcasting. He then shared the true story of how he went from Larry Zeiger to Larry King on May 1, 1957 (he got the moniker from a catalog after being told his real surname was too ethnic and not very memorable).

But after finishing with a not-so-bad joke about strangers on a train (Freeloader's gonna save that one for the old memory bank), Mr. King excused himself for the evening, thanking his friends and family one last time. After all, even a party in his own honor couldn't stop him from going on the air.

As for Freeloader, we lingered for another half hour or so, repeating our attempts to speak to another host of "The View" -- this time the radiant Joy Behar -- but found no easy in with her. While it would've been fun to get in a nice, juicy Rosie O'Donnell soundbite, we settled for lingering over the sushi and wine instead.

Just then, Freeloader spotted Ron Howard by the food table. Joy Behar sightings, we figured, are a dime a dozen in New York, but Opie lasts forever.
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