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Thread: David Frost Dead at 74

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    Default David Frost Dead at 74

    David Frost dead: TV personality who famously interviewed President Nixon passes away aboard Queen Elizabeth cruise ship

    The 74-year-old Frost, who died of a heart attack, spent more than 50 years as a television star. 'My heart goes out to David Frost's family. He could be — and certainly was with me — both a friend and a fearsome interviewer, British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted.

    By David Hinckley / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013, 7:32 AM
    Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013, 12:32 PM


    David Frost with former President Nixon in 1977.

    Sir David Frost, a British television icon who was best known in the States for three intense hours he spent with Richard Nixon, died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 74.
    A family statement said he had been giving a speech aboard the Cunard liner the Queen Elizabeth II when he collapsed.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron, one of eight prime ministers Frost interviewed over his career, called the broadcaster “a friend and a fearsome interviewer.”
    He was the only person to have interviewed all six British prime ministers serving between 1964 and 2007 and the seven U.S. presidents in office between 1969 and 2008. Outside world affairs, his roster included Orson Welles, Muhammad Ali and Clint Eastwood.
    Frost began his British television career in comedy, working with Monty Python cast members and on the satirical review, “That Was the Week That Was.”
    He gradually began doing serious interviews and moved into U.S. television with “The David Frost Program” in 1969.
    That show was modestly successful for three years and he was hosting a syndicated reality-style show in 1977 when he outbid CBS for the most coveted interview of the decade: with disgraced former President Nixon, who had resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.
    Nixon, who despised the media, had done no in-depth interviews since leaving office. Faced with mounting legal fees, however, he saw an approved interview as a way to make money and begin repairing his reputation.

    Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

    Frost arrives for the European premiere of 'Fire in Babylon' in London in 2011.

    Frost paid him $600,000 plus 20% of the syndication profits.
    Nixon, who had had a brief relatively cordial interview with Frost in 1968, saw him as a soft interviewer through whom Nixon could make a sympathetic case.
    Eventually 28 hours and 45 minutes of conversations were edited into four 90-minute programs.
    The highlight came during an unscripted moment.
    Nixon had acknowledged mistakes, but Frost pressed him to admit wrongdoing and acknowledge abuse of power. "Unless you say it,” Frost said, “you're going to be haunted for the rest of your life.”
    "That was totally off-the-cuff," Frost later said. "That was totally ad-lib. In fact, I threw my clipboard down just to indicate that it was not prepared in any way. ... I just knew at that moment that Richard Nixon was more vulnerable than he'd ever be in his life. And I knew I had to get it right."
    After more pressing, Nixon relented. "I let the American people down and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life," he said.
    The interviews were a ratings smash. The first one drew 45 million viewers, still a record for a political interview.
    David Farrell/Getty Images

    Frost, who died on Saturday night, in 1968.

    Critical and public consensus was that Frost asked tough questions and Nixon still sounded guilty.
    Frost was often seen on American TV after the Nixon special, but his profile gradually dropped. When he was hired in 1989 as the original anchor of “Inside Edition,” he was replaced after three weeks by Bill O’Reilly.
    He remained prominent on British TV, eventually hosting the interview show, “Breakfast With Frost,” and the light reality show, “Through the Keyhole.” In 2006 he began doing public affairs shows for Al Jazeera.
    Born in Kent, the son of a minister, he was educated at Cambridge. He moved in high political and media circles throughout his life and was linked with a number of famous women, including Diahann Carroll.
    In 1983 he married Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, daughter of the 17th Duke of Norfolk. He was knighted in 1993.
    He is survived by his wife and their three sons.

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  2. #2


    Grew up watching Frost. Through the Keyhole was an excellent show that even as kids we loved. He exuded British cool that endeared him to everyone, even the Irish. I didn't even know about the Nixon interview until the movie was coming out. Top guy.


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