Sir David Frost, the British broadcasting icon has died from a heart attack while on the cruise ship Queen Elisabeth, he was 74 years-old. His family made the announcement in a formal statement that said: “His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time. A family funeral will be held in the near future and details of a memorial service will be announced in due course.”
Sir David was on the ship to give a speech. Tributes to the legendary British broadcaster have already started flooding in. The British Prime Minister David Cameron got onto his Twitter account to tweet: “My heart goes out to David Frost’s family. He could be – and certainly was with me – both a friend and a fearsome interviewer.”
After his initial tweet, he added two more. He tweeted: “Sir David was an extraordinary man – with charm, wit, talent, intelligence and warmth in equal measure. He made a huge impact on television and politics. The Nixon interviews were among the great broadcast moments – but there were many other brilliant interviews.”
Sir David Frost had a career that spanned half a century. He was a journalist, television personality, and a political comedian. Frost started his television broadcasting career on the political satire program That Was the Week That Was. The show aired in Britain on the BBC from the mid 1960s. The program, also known as TW3, was wildly popular with British audiences at a time when satire was booming.
He went on to host The Frost Report which aired from 1966 to 1967. The show launched the comic careers of some of Britain’s best known and loved comedians and comic actors. One of whom was John Cleese who would go on to do Fawlty Towers and Monty Python’s Flying Circus and become world famous.
Sir David Paradine Frost was born on April 7, 1939 in Tenterden, Kent. His father was a Methodist minister. Frost started training for the Methodist ministry while still in school, but he went on to graduate from Cambridge with a degree in English. His first job was as a trainee for Anglia television.
While he was at Cambridge he worked as the editor of the college student paper and Granta, a magazine. He was the secretary for the Footlights Drama Society.
Sir David Frost interviewed the world’s famous and infamous, it was his interview with Richard Nixon that stood out in his career as a broadcast journalist and it inspired an Academy Award nominated film.
Frost’s dying from a heart attack on the Queen Elisabeth cruise ship has saddened the television and political world. He was a broadcasting icon who will be sorely missed, not only by those who knew him, but by fans of his work as well. He had a superb wit and had few peers in the business as he was truly one of a kind.
Other tributes to Sir David included one from another television luminary Esther Rantzen. She said: “I think fellow interviewers have always been awestruck by David Frost’s capacity to illicit memorable, sometimes historically significant quotes from all the movers and shakers or our time – presidents, prime ministers, A list celebrities – but for all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him socially, it is his kindness, generosity, loyalty and humour that we will miss so much.”
The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls also got on his Twitter account to tweet: “Very sorry to hear of the sudden death of Sir David Frost – he was such a friendly man, but also a brilliantly beguiling interviewer.”
Stephen Fry, who also attended Cambridge University, went on his Twitter account to express his shock and sadness. He tweeted: “Oh heavens, David Frost dead? No!! I only spoke to him on Friday and he sounded so well. Excited about a house move, full of plans … how sad.”
Sir David Frost died on Saturday night on the Queen Elisabeth cruise ship where he was due to give a speech. The iconic broadcaster had a heart attack at the age of 74. Tributes continue to pour in for his well known and much loved journalist and personality. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends in the moment of loss.
By Michael Smith