Stan Lee Once Told Larry King That He Doesn’t ‘Fear Death’

Keya Morgan and producer-writer Stan Lee attend the Los Angeles Global Premiere for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War on April 23, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Charley Gallay / Getty Images

In the aftermath of the downbeat news of Marvel Comics co-founder Stan Lee’s passing, there has been a massive outpouring of love for the creator from his friends and colleagues over social media. Among those was talk show host Larry King, who had previously conducted several high-profile interviews with Lee over the years, according to a report from E! Online.

Posting on Instagram, King wrote, “We lost a real-life superhero today. Stan Lee was a visionary, who elevated imaginations across the globe. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with him. Rest peacefully, Stan.”

In every interview that King conducted with Lee, death was a theme, including an appearance on King’s Hulu show Larry King Now from 2014 that saw King ask Lee directly about whether he feared to die.

Lee responded to King’s question by replying, “I don’t fear death. I’m curious. I can’t imagine what it could be like, because I personally feel when you die, that’s the end. It’s the machine that the engine is off. But how can there be nothing forever? You know what I mean? I can’t believe it.”

Lee jokingly ended his answer by saying, “I almost can’t wait to find out—but I’m not in a big rush!”

When Lee returned to the show in 2015, the topic returned to the conversation after a question regarding immortality by a fan. Lee’s response to the question regarding whether he would be a hero or villain if he was immortal was, “If immortality existed, would I choose be immortal or would I rather be a superhero or a supervillain? Of course, I’d rather be a superhero than a supervillain. I don’t think I’d want to be immortal unless it went for everybody. I wouldn’t want to be alive while all my friends and relatives were dying…but if everybody could be immortal, I think that’d be fun!”

This allowed King to return to the question of whether Lee had any fears about dying, to which Lee responded by making clear that he had no fears at all.

Expanding on his answer, Lee said, “The one thing I can’t understand, I can’t grasp my head around, is I feel when you die, there’s just nothing; it’s like when you’re asleep and you’re dreaming. But, I can’t imagine nothingness lasting forever. That is the thing that I cannot get.”

Lee revealed that he had never had any qualms about death, in part due to his teenage job as an obituary writer for people that were still living. Lee would spend his job writing long obituaries for celebrities and other successful people who were still alive for immediate publication, granting him the realization that if he could live a life that would warrant an early obituary, his life would have been a success.