Friday 23 February 2018

Sir David Frost

Pioneering journalist and broadcaster whose fame often equalled that of his interviewees, writes Michael Leapman

David Frost with his first wife Lynne Frederick
David Frost with his first wife Lynne Frederick
LIMELIGHT: David Frost talks with former President Richard Nixon in this 1977 photo prior to the taping of his interview.

Michael Leapman

In the world of entertainment and the media, early promise does not always herald a lifetime of achievement.

Yet David Frost, who died last weekend aged 74, having burst into the nation's consciousness as a satirist in his early twenties, was still in the public eye nearly half a century later. Not only was he talented in a variety of fields, but he proved adept in managing his affairs so that he remained in the limelight and in demand: an entrepreneur whose defining skill was the successful marketing of himself. He died of a heart attack on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship, where he was giving a speech.

While still in his twenties he hosted lavish parties, invitations to which were sought by leading figures in the arts and public life. Knighted in 1993, he had been awarded the OBE 23 years earlier, aged only 31, for his services to television. By the mid-1970s he had amassed seven major international industry awards, a number that would double before the end of his career.

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