Barbara Blaine said her husband died Thursday, The New York Times reported.
King, whom critics often compared to Mark Twain, was a prolific writer on U.S. politics and culture for a number of national magazines, the Times said Saturday. He was particularly adept at skewering those he considered to be dull or self-righteous.
King was born in the small west Texas town of Putnam, which he left shortly after World War II to make training films in New York for the U.S. Army.
The Times said King frequently wrote about his home state, particularly the contradiction of often good-hearted people ingrained with cultural and racial prejudice.
King was nominated for a National Book Award for his 1971 autobiography "Confessions of a White Racist."
He also wrote several plays, including "The Night Hank Williams Died" and "The Kingfish."
His best-known work was the less-serious "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," which was based on a bustling bordello outside La Grange. It was turned into a smash Broadway musical in the 1970s and a film starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton.