The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported, Thursday, that British talk show legend Michael Parkinson has died at the age of 88. He has interviewed some of the world’s biggest stars, including Muhammad Ali, Elton John, Madonna, and Helen Mirren, on his long-running talk show.
“After a short period of illness, Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family,” the BBC quoted a family statement as saying. “The family asks that they be given privacy and time to grieve.”
The first BBC Television Parkinson’s Show began in 1971 with American jazz singer Marion Montgomery becoming its first guest. After 11 years, Parkinson and his show returned to the UK Public Broadcasting Corporation in 1998. According to the BBC, the popular host once estimated that he had interviewed more than 2,000 guests.
The BBC’s director-general, Tim Davie, said of Parkinson’s: “Michael was the chat-show king and he defined the format for all the presenters and programs that followed.” “He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th century and did it in a way that wowed the audience.”
Davey concluded: “Not only was Michael brilliant at asking questions, but he was also a great listener. Michael was truly one of a kind, and an amazing broadcaster and journalist who will be sorely missed.”
Born in 1935 in Cudworth, South Yorkshire, England, Parkinson was also known for his love of cricket.
After two years in the British Army, Parkinson became a journalist, first for the Manchester Guardian, then for the London Daily Express. He later moved into television as a current affairs host and reporter for the Granada Television Company and the BBC before eventually becoming a talk show host.
Last year, Parkinson made a rare public appearance, visiting the Wimbledon tennis tournament with his wife, Mary.
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