Michael Parkinson died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones – family

Michael Parkinson Died Peacefully At Home Surrounded By Loved Ones – Family
Sir Michael became a familiar face on both the BBC and ITV because of his intimate celebrity interviews, most notably on the BBC show Parkinson.
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By Laura Harding and Kerri-Ann Roper, PA

Celebrated chat show host Michael Parkinson has died peacefully at home at the age of 88 surrounded by loved ones, his family has said.

The British TV star host interviewed some of Hollywood’s biggest names throughout his illustrious career – with names such as Jimmy Cagney, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergmann on the list.


A statement from Parkinson's family said: “After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family.


“The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve.”

The director-general of the BBC paid tribute to Parkinson, saying in a statement: “Michael was the king of the chat show and he defined the format for all the presenters and shows that followed.

“He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th century and did so in a way that enthralled the public. Michael was not only brilliant at asking questions, he was also a wonderful listener.

“Michael was truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed.”


With fashion designer Mary Quant, assisted by hair stylist Vidal Sassoon in 1972
With fashion designer Mary Quant, assisted by hair stylist Vidal Sassoon in 1972. Photo: PA.

Parkinson became a familiar face on both the BBC and ITV because of his intimate celebrity interviews, most notably on the BBC show Parkinson.

Parkinson first aired on the BBC on June 19th 1971, and enjoyed a successful run until 1982. In 1998, the chat show was revived on the BBC and proved an instant hit.


It switched from the BBC to ITV1 in 2004 and ran until 2007 – the same year Parkinson retired from his Sunday morning Radio 2 programme.

His career saw him welcome the likes of boxer Muhammad Ali, sporting star David Beckham and Rod Hull – with puppet Emu – on to his chat shows during a long and distinguished career.

During the hundreds of episodes of his talk show, he also interviewed stars including David Bowie, John Lennon and Celine Dion.

Headline making interviews throughout his career included those with actresses Helen Mirren and US star Meg Ryan.


Sir Michael Parkinson receives his knighthood from the Queen
Sir Michael Parkinson receives his knighthood from the Queen. Photo: PA.

He famously introduced stage and screen star Dame Helen as the “sex queen” of the Royal Shakespeare Company during their 1975 chat show encounter, and asked if her “equipment” hindered her being recognised as a serious actress.

In 2003, his interview with Ryan made headlines following a frosty one-on-one with the Hollywood actress while she was promoting the poorly received erotic thriller In The Cut.

Ryan sat stony-faced for the sit-down, delivering one-word answers after allegedly being rude to her fellow guests on the show, the fashion double act Trinny and Susannah.

Before his TV career, he started life as an only child, growing up in a council house in the coalmining English village of Cudworth in Yorkshire.

As a teenager, his father, a miner, took him down the pit to put him off working there.

When his dreams of playing cricket for Yorkshire were dashed, he left school aged 16 and began working at a local paper, later joining the Manchester Guardian and then the Daily Express.

His first TV job was as a producer at Granada, and he later moved to Thames TV, before landing his chat show Parkinson at the BBC.

He had a short-lived term at TV-am as part of the original presenting line-up alongside the likes of Angela Rippon and David Frost, and appeared on the shows Give Us A Clue, one-off drama Ghostwatch and Going For A Song.

BFI LUMINOUS Gala – London
Michael and Mary Parkinson. Photo: Ian West/PA.

Parkinson brought down the curtain on more than 30 years of his chat show at the end of 2007 with a final show featuring Beckham, Michael Caine, David Attenborough, Judi Dench, Dame Edna Everage, Billy Connolly, Peter Kay and Jamie Cullum in a two-hour special.

Speaking on the final show, he said: “Over the years it has been a privilege to meet some of the most intelligent and interesting people. It has always been a great joy and I shall miss it.”

As well as his television career, he was a respected radio broadcaster, having hosted Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 as well as his own sports shows on Five Live. He was also an award-winning sports writer, having been a lifelong cricket fan.

Yorkshire Cricket Club will host a minute’s silence in memory of Parkinson ahead of today’s play at York.

His close friend, and current Yorkshire managing director of cricket, Darren Gough, said: “He was a Barnsley boy, like myself, and it was an absolute pleasure to know him and his family.

“We are all devastated here at Yorkshire and thoughts of everyone at the Club are with Sir Michael’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Parkinson played for the Yorkshire reserves with a young Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Dickie Bird.

He received an honorary doctorate in 2008, alongside cricket umpire and his good friend Bird, at the Barnsley campus of Huddersfield University.


In 2013, he spoke openly about being diagnosed with prostate cancer following a routine health check.

He had three sons with wife Mary, who he married in 1959.

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