King was born to Circuit Judge Alta King and Donna Collins King of Adamsville. He was elected President of the student body at Phillips High School, where he graduated in 1940, and later took the same office at the University of Alabama. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting at Alabama in 1948 and then graduated from the university's School of Law in 1951. He interrupted his studies to serve in the U. S. Army, and was deployed to the Pacific theater of World War II from 1943 to 1946, after which he returned to private practice.
From 1952 to 1953 King served as an assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. In 1954 he became Chief Administrative Assistant to U. S. Representative George Huddleston Jr. He returned to Birmingham in 1961 to run for Mayor of Birmingham.
King ran as a moderate against Art Hanes, who was closely associated with Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor. He campaigned on economic issues and was considered a moderate on race issues who would seek to defuse the standoff between white segregationists and blacks seeking civil rights. Local industry did not appreciate his dim view of the city's business landscape, but he did win the endorsement of The Birmingham News. He lost the 1961 Birmingham mayoral election 21,133 to 17,385. He ran unsuccessfully again in the special election of 1963, finishing behind Albert Boutwell and Connor.
From 1962 to 1994, King served as Alabaster's city attorney. In 1971 he was elected to the Alabama Senate, where he served a four year term. He sponsored legislation requiring health insurance for teachers, funding for school construction and for the development of UAB. In 1984 he was appointed by Bill Baxley to a committee to rewrite the rules of the Alabama Senate.
King was a member and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Birmingham, having transferred his membership from Huffman Baptist Church. He was also active with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Northeast Branch YMCA, Birmingham Brotherhood Association, East End Optimist Club and East End Rotary Club.
King died in January 2007. He was survived by sons, Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tom King Jr, and attorney David King. Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church of Birmingham.