Larry L. King, 83, a writer and playwright whose magazine article about a campaign to close down a popular bordello became a hit Tony Award-nominated musical

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

and a movie, died Thursday.

His wife, Barbara Blaine, said Mr. King died at a Washington retirement home after battling emphysema.

Mr. King wrote two musicals, five plays, 14 books, a few screenplays, and hundreds of magazine articles, for which he won an O. Henry Award in 2001.

His books include None But a Blockhead about the act of writing, and a children's book, called Because of Lozo Brown, about the fears children have of meeting others. Collections of his essays were also published.

His Confessions of a White Racist - he called it "a gratuitous admission of guilt on behalf of all white racists past and present, malignant and benign" - was a finalist for a National Book Award. He won an Emmy for his 1982 television documentary for CBS, The Best Little Statehouse in Texas. He taught at Princeton and was a fellow at Duke.

Mr. King came to Washington in 1954 to work for a newly elected congressman from El Paso.

He said President John F. Kennedy's assassination caused him to reevaluate his life. He quit politics and headed to New York.

Mr. King has three grown children by his first wife. His second wife died in 1972. He also had two grown children with Blaine, his third wife. - AP