Sir Michael Parkinson was one of the most admired figures on British television, with a seven-decade career.
The talk show presenter died on August 17 at the age of 88 following a “short illness,” surrounded by family and friends.
His television career was recognised by his contemporaries in the business and enjoyed by millions of fans.
After working for the Manchester Guardian, the journalist began his television career in the 1960s at the BBC and Granada, where he worked on current affairs shows. From 1969 to 1971, he hosted the film review show Cinema for Granada before commencing his career-making discussion show Parkinson on the BBC.
He interviewed a slew of celebrities till 1982, and then again from 1998 until 2007. Clint Eastwood, David Bowie, Helen Mirren, Muhammad Ali, Sir Tony Blair, Naomi Campbell, and Sir Paul McCartney are among his notable visitors.
Many viewers remember his infamous 2003 sit down with actress Meg Ryan who came across as prickly throughout and gave one-word answers. The American star went on to describe Sir Michael as being like ‘a disapproving dad.’
Reflecting on one of the biggest moments of his career, Sir Michael said of their meeting in 2017: ‘We were both in a fairly grim mood. I don’t know what happened, I just took against her.
‘There was another way to handle that actually and extract more fun than I got.’
He later told Radio Times in 2021 of the awkward interaction: ‘I wish I hadn’t lost my temper with Meg Ryan. I wish I’d dealt with it in a more courteous manner.’
Before retiring in 2007, he estimated that he had interviewed approximately 2000 celebrities.
‘I think you must learn how to interview, but the reason why some people are better than others is about a capacity they might have for settling people.
‘I think it’s about body language; it’s about convincing people they should be comfortable with you,’ he said of his disarming technique.
The broadcaster has stepped aside from public life in recent years after having to relearn how to walk after spinal surgery in 2017.
Sir Michael underwent surgery to repair two ruptured discs and told the Sunday Mirror, ‘I’ve been ill for the last five years.
‘I’ve overcome prostate cancer, but it’s been a difficult period of my life. And my spinal operation has involved a long and unpleasant recovery.
‘But in many ways what gets me through is the thought of not becoming redundant. I don’t want to be on the waste heap – and that more than anything else is the best motivation for anyone growing old.’
He told Sydney Morning Herald about his chats over the years that how an interview turns out is completely up to fate.
He stated in 2013 that he had prostate cancer and had undergone treatment.
He told The Sun at the time: ‘My wife Mary has been a tremendous support and while she has been, of course, very upset, she can see how I have approached this. Once she realised I wouldn’t let it affect me, Mary was fine.’
Six years later, he abruptly cancelled a public engagement at the Jersey Festival of Words owing to a “minor” health problem.
He married wife Mary in 1959 and the couple have three sons.
Source My Celebrity Life.