Sir David Frost, veteran British broadcast journalist, dies after suspected heart attack

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Sir David Paradine FrostOBE (7 April 1939 – 31 August 2013) was an English journalist, comedian, writer, media personality and daytime TV game show host. He spent two decades as host of Through the Keyhole, as well as conducting serious interviews with various political figures, among them The Nixon Interviews. Since 2012 he had hosted the weekly programme The Frost Interview. From 2006-2012 he hosted the weekly programme Frost Over the World on Al Jazeera English. He died from a heart attack on 31st August 2013, aged 74, whilst on board the ship Queen Elizabeth, on which he had been engaged as a speaker for Cunard’s renowned on board ‘Insights’ programme.

Frost was instrumental in starting up two important ITV franchises: London Weekend Television in July 1968 and as one of the ‘Famous Five’ who launched TV-am in February 1983. Both new stations had plans that were considered highbrow and both suffered launch problems with low audience ratings and financial difficulties that led to outside parties taking large stakes in the companies and significant changes in business strategy before stability was achieved.

On 20 and 21 July 1969, during the British television Apollo 11 coverage, he presented David Frost’s Moon Party for LWT, a ten-hour discussion and entertainment marathon from LWT’s Wembley Studios, on the night Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Two of his guests on this programme were British historian A.J.P. Taylor and entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr.

Frost started the production company David Paradine Productions, and was also part of a consortium with Richard Branson that failed to acquire three ITV franchises under the CPV-TV name. Frost’s longest television association was with the daytime panel show Through the Keyhole. The programme, produced by his David Paradine Productions company, ran on various channels from 1987 until 2008, with Frost acting as host throughout. To younger generations, Frost was chiefly known for his role on this show, alongside Loyd Grossman.

Frost was the only person to have interviewed eight British prime ministers serving between 1964 and 2010 (Harold WilsonEdward HeathJames CallaghanMargaret ThatcherJohn MajorTony BlairGordon Brown and David Cameron) and the seven US presidents in office between 1969 and 2008 (Richard NixonGerald FordJimmy CarterRonald ReaganGeorge H. W. BushBill Clinton and George W. Bush). He was also the last person to interview Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.

He was a patron and former vice-president of the Motor Neurone Disease Association charity, as well as being a patron of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, the Hearing Trust, East Anglia‘s Children’s Hospices, the Home Farm Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

After having been in television for 40 years, Frost was worth £200 million. This valuation includes the assets of his main British company and subsidiaries, plus homes in London and the country.

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