He was the king of all Saiyans and the father of Vegeta & Tarble. He was also the commanding hero of the Saiyan Army, and led his people to victory in the Saiyan-Tuffle War, in which the planet was renamed in his honor. After his people were annexed by Frieza's Planet Trade Organization, he had no choice but to pledge allegiance, but kept power over his people.
King Vegeta became an important figure at the time when the Tuffles and the Saiyans lived together on Planet Plant. In Age 720, he alone was smart enough to rally and lead his people against the Tuffles in a conflict that raged for ten long years; this event was the Saiyan-Tuffle war. After the war's end in Age 730, the planet was renamed Planet Vegeta in his honor.
Some time after, the Saiyans became space-farers, and eventually came under the dominance of Frieza. Though reluctantly, King Vegeta pledged his allegiance to Frieza, knowing the Saiyans were not powerful enough to defeat him. The Saiyans worked under Frieza for several years. In Age 731, he is married to an unnamed female Saiyan who becomes his Queen and presumably the woman who eventually bore his sons. King Vegeta and his unnamed mate bore his first child in Age 732, Prince Vegeta. The young prince would later be given to Frieza under unknown circumstances, although King Vegeta intended to rebel before he would ever let Frieza gain his son. As revealed in Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, King Vegeta and his unknown queen had a second son named Tarble, who lacked the fighting spirit of a Saiyan, and thus was sent away from Planet Vegeta as an infant.
King Vegeta is seen used as a stepping stone for Beerus the Destroyer while he was eating during a feast in King Vegeta's palace. Prince Vegeta, who is just a child at that time, sees this and tries to help his father, but is paralyzed by Beerus' glare. In Dragon Ball Super, it was further explained to that King Vegeta was being mistreated because he gave Beerus the second most comfortable pillow in the universe and kept the first best for his own. While eating breakfast after a wake up from a 39-year long nap, Beerus asks his attendant Whis if Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta while he was asleep, and he says the Saiyans and Frieza were very evil and that King Vegeta was stingy. Whis confirms that he has, and not a trace of the planet remains. Beerus is glad to hear this, as he did not care much for the people on that planet, particularly King Vegeta. Years later, Prince Vegeta recalls the event he saw when he encounters Beerus on Earth, at Bulma's birthday party.
In Age 737, shortly before attempting to openly rebel against Frieza, King Vegeta orders newborn Broly to be executed due to his extremely high power level of 10,000, as this amount of power was seen as a possible threat to the royal Saiyan family. The father of Broly, Paragus, attempts to change King Vegeta's mind, but was blasted with an Execution Beam and thrown into a dump along with his son.
Later that day, prior to Frieza's attack on Planet Vegeta, King Vegeta realized that Frieza had no further use for the Saiyans and no longer needed them around. He decides to rebel against Frieza's oppression, as well as retrieve Prince Vegeta, and mounts an assault with his royal guard on Frieza's capital ship.
When he arrives in Frieza's chamber room, due to his elite guards being too fear-struck to attempt to aid him, King Vegeta ends up facing Frieza alone. Zarbon and Dodoria bear witness as Frieza dodges his punch with ease and effortlessly kills the Saiyan King with a single punch to the jaw. The Saiyan elites that followed are also killed by Frieza. Shortly thereafter, Frieza launches his final assault and destroys Planet Vegeta and the entire remaining population of the Saiyan race.
Twenty five years later, while fellow Saiyan Goku (Kakarot) is battling Frieza on Namek and losing, King Vegeta appears before him in a vision along with Vegeta and Bardock, urging Goku not to give up and put an end to Frieza for the Saiyan race.
A year later, Frieza is sliced into pieces and blown to dust by King Vegeta's grandson, Future Trunks. However, he was resurrected 14 years later and Frieza was nearly defeated by his son Vegeta before finally being killed by Goku.
- Execution Beam – A purple beam of energy King Vegeta used on a Saiyan messenger after the said soldier told him that they have to wait for three days to invade planet Tazba for Frieza's organization due to how long it is going to take until the planet experiences its Full Moon. He also uses it on Paragus in Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan.
- Super Energy Wave Volley – King Vegeta releases a rapid barrage of purple energy blasts at his opponent, causing a massive accumulation of damage. He uses this only in Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
- Orga Blaster – King Vegeta rushes toward the opponent and smacks them aside. He then takes the opponent by their head, knees them in the face, and punches them in the same place. The final part of this attack involves King Vegeta using a large purple energy wave to blast his opponent away. He used the finishing blast against an army of Frieza's soldiers whilst invading Frieza's ship to rescue his son, Vegeta.
- Explosive Wave – King Vegeta used it while on an unnamed planet with his elite. It is also one of hisBlast 1 in his base and Great Ape forms in Budokai Tenkaichi 3. From what was seen of it, it was apparently powerful enough to not only destroy the planet he was on, but also the surrounding planets as well.
- King of Saiyans – One of King Vegeta's Blast 1 in Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
- Power Ball – The natural Saiyan ability to make an artificial moon to make use for transforming into a Great Ape.
- Chou Makouhou – Great Ape King Vegeta releases a massive wave of energy from his mouth. He seen using it during a flashback of the Saiyan-Tuffle war in Dragon Ball GT.
- Chou Makouhou Barrage – Great Ape King Vegeta releases a rapid flurry version of Chou Makouhou. It is his Ultimate Blast in Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
- Super Explosive Wave – King Vegeta releases a gigantic energy wave that deals far greater damage than the basic Explosive Wave. It is one of his Blast 2 in his Great Ape form in Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
- Super Galick Gun – King Vegeta does use this technique in his Great Ape form in the Budokai Tenkaichiseries. He fires it with one hand, in a similar fashion to the blast he uses to end Orga Blaster rush.
- Howl – One of Great Ape King Vegeta's Blast 1 in Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
In Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku, the doctors working on Bardock after his injury sustained on Planet Kanassa state that Bardock's power level is nearing 10,000 and is expected to pass up King Vegeta in a short time. In Dragon Ball Z, while he was facing Frieza on Namek, Vegeta remarked that, as a child, he was already more powerful than his father King Vegeta.