Sir David Frost, the veteran television host, author and producer, has died at the age of 74 following a heart attack.
The only person to have interviewed the last seven presidents of the US and the last six prime ministers of the UK, Frost died aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner where he was giving a speech, his family said.
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The vessel had left the English port of Southampton on Saturday for a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean.
Sir David was most famous for his interviews with Richard Nixon in 1977, during which the former US president apologised for the Watergate scandal when his Republican party staff bugged the opposition Democrats’ offices.
They achieved the largest audience for a news interview in history.
His professionalism, his charm, and his great sense of humour will be very missed. Our thoughts are with Sir David's family at this sad time.
Sir David worked with Al Jazeera English since its launch seven years ago, first with the Frost Over The World programme, and most recently with The Frost Interview show.
“With his characteristic incisive, engaging, and unique interviewing style his shows hosted some of the most important and interesting names in recent history,” Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, commented.
“His conversations with his guests elicited both news lines, and a unique insight into their lives,” Anstey added.
“Sir David’s own place in history will be marked through his extraordinary work: his journalism, his questions, and his conversations through the last five decades. His professionalism, his charm, and his great sense of humour will be very missed. Our thoughts are with Sir David’s family at this sad time.”
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, also paid tribute to him.
“My heart goes out to David Frost’s family. He could be – and certainly was with me – both a friend and a fearsome interviewer,” Cameron said on Twitter.
‘The perfect interview’
In 2012 Sir David launched “The Frost Interviews”, a series of intimate hour-long sessions, going back to his roots of “Nixon-style” interviews of depth with leading personalities, after years of shorter studio-based conversations.
Charlie Courtauld, who worked as the series editor of Frost Over the World, paid tribute to Sir David on his manner of delivering the perfect interview.
“What was remarkable about Sir David was his ability to put any interviewee at ease – from the most high and mighty to an ordinary person in the street. He found interest in anybody. Whoever he was interviewing would realise that Sir David was genuinely interested in them and their lives. He was very much a people person,” Courtauld said.
Richard Brock, executive producer of the Frost Interviews, said: “David was a wonderful broadcaster, a professional in every way, and also a great friend. He had a great outlook on life, a terrific sense of humour and will be greatly missed.”
Sir David had been awarded many major television awards during his illustrious career.
He was knighted by the British Queen in1993 and honoured by the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in 1998 and by the Museum of Broadcasting in New York in 1999.
In 2005, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship. And in 2009 in New York he received the International Emmy Founders Award.