David Frost Biography

Talk Show Host (1939–2013)
David Frost was an English media personality best known for his 1977 interviews with President Richard Nixon, which were adapted for a play and the critically acclaimed film Frost/Nixon. Frost hosted several television programs in the United States and Britain.


David Frost was a British journalist and media personality known for hosting several television programs including That Was the Week That Was (1962-1963), The Frost Report (1966-1967), The David Frost Show (1969-1972) and Frost on Sunday (1983-1992). His series of interviews with President Richard Nixon in 1977 formed the basis for the 2006 play Frost/Nixon and Ron Howard's 2008 Academy Award-nominated film adaptation. He died of a suspected heart attack in August 2013 while giving a speech aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

Early Life

David Paradine Frost was born on April 7, 1939 in Tenterden, England to Mona and W.J. Paradine Frost. His father was a Methodist minister, and early in his life Frost studied to become a preacher, but he did not complete his training. Instead he attended Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a degree in English.

While at Cambridge, Frost showed many talents as editor of the student newspaper and the literary magazine, a member of the Footlights Drama Society and a skilled football and cricket player. His athletic accomplishments earned him an offer to play with the football team Nottingham Forest F.C., but instead Frost decided to follow a career in television.

Television Career

In 1962, Frost became the host of This Was the Week That Was, or TW3 as it became known in Britain. The comedy show, which took a satirical look at the news, is considered the precursor to American television hits including Weekend Update on Saturday Night Life, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Although TW3 only aired for two seasons in Britain, the show had a run on American television with Frost as host from 1964 to 1965.

He continued on television in the sketch comedy show The Frost Report (1966-1967), The David Frost Show (1969-1972), Frost on Sunday (1983-1992), a long-running BBC show called Breakfast with Frost (1993-2005) and the game show Through the Keyhole (1987-2008). During his career, Frost's sign-on - "Hello, good evening and welcome - became his well-known catchphrase. He also became known for his ability to alternate between hosting satirical comedy shows, celebrity game shows and conducting serious interviews with notable public figures.

Nixon Interviews

Although already a popular television personality in Britain, Frost became internationally famous for his historic television interviews with Richard Nixon in 1977. The world watched as Frost went face-to-face with the ex-president three years after the Watergate scandal. In an ad-libbed comment, Frost famously pressed Nixon to admit his mistakes telling him in the interview that "unless you say it, you're going to be haunted for the rest of your life."

Nixon responded: “I let the American people down and I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life." 

Frost's dramatic Nixon interviews inspired the 2006 play Frost/Nixon by British playwright Peter Morgan. Actor Michael Sheen played Frost and Frank Langella played Nixon. The play, which premiered on Broadway in 2007, was also adapted into a 2008 Academy Award-nominated movie, directed by Ron Howard.

Although perhaps his most famous interview, Nixon wasn't Frost's only historic one-on-one. He was the only person to interview all six British prime ministers, serving between 1964 and 2007, and seven U.S. presidents in office between 1969 and 2008, as well as countless sports figures like Muhammad Ali and Hollywood celebrities such as Orson Welles and Clint Eastwood.

Later Career & Death

In 1993, Frost was knighted for his notable career in television. In 2006, the legendary broadcaster began working for Al Jazeera English interviewing political figures such as President George Bush and Tony Blair and celebrities including George Clooney. In July 2013, he launched The Frost Program on Al Jazeera with astronaut Buzz Aldrin as his first interview.

In his personal life, Frost had many relationships with high-profile women over the years including British actress Janette Scott and American actresses Diahann Carroll and Carol Lynley. In 1984, he married Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, daughter to the 17th Duke of Norfolk. The couple had three sons.

On August 31st, 2013, while giving a speech aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, the veteran broadcaster died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 74. British Prime Minister David Cameron said of Frost: "Sir David was an extraordinary man – with charm, wit, talent, intelligence and warmth in equal measure. He made a huge impact on television and politics."

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