Childhood & Early Life
Sir David Paradine Frost was born in Kent, England, on April 7, 1939 to Reverend Wilfred John "W. J." Paradine Frost and his wife, Mona. He had two older sisters.
An enthusiastic football and cricket player throughout his school years, Frost was even offered a contract to play with the Nottingham Forest Football Club, which he turned down in favour of going to college.
Starting in 1958, he studied at both Gonville’ and Caius College, at Cambridge University, graduating with a degree in English three years later. While there, he was editor of the university’s student paper and a literary magazine called 'Granta'. He became the secretary of the 'Footlights Drama Society'. His editing skills spotlighted his ability to write and speak satirically.
Before enrolling at the university, he studied to become a Methodist local preacher, but he was unable to complete his studies.
Appointed as a trainee at Associated-Rediffusion' after graduation, David Frost also moonlighted in cabaret, at the 'Blue Angel' nightclub in London in the evenings.
Continue Reading Below
Headhunted while he worked at the 'Blue Angel' nightclub, he then moved on to work on the 'BBC' program 'That Was The Week That Was (TW3)', a satirical take on the weekly news, which ran from 1962 to 1963.
Following the success of 'TW3', David Frost hosted multiple programs, the most successful of which was 'The Frost Report', which aired between 1966 to 1967. It was responsible for propelling the careers of actors like John Cleese, Ronnie Barker, and Ronnie Corbett, who acted in the 'Class Sketch', a now-famous comic sketch that featured inside 'The Frost Report'.
He followed up the ‘Frost Report’ with an interview-based show, 'The Frost Programme'. Multiple controversial and well-known figures made it to his show.
During 1969 to 1972, Frost worked for the U.S. and U.K. television simultaneously. He did five TV shows a week, called the 'The David Frost Show' for the U.S. audiences, and three a week for the company he co-founded in 1968, 'London Weekend Television'. He also appeared on an episode of 'This Is Your Life', a British biographical TV documentary series, in January 1972.
In 1970, David Frost gained executive producer status for a movie he co-financed, 'The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer', in which the lead character was loosely based on Frost. He produced other films over the years, including 'The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella' in 1976, and 'Retreat', a drama thriller in 2011.
Frost produced a series of interviews in 1977, with disgraced former US president Richard Nixon, for his company 'London Weekend Television'. These interviews cemented his position as one of the top interviewers of all time. Getting Nixon to take responsibility for his actions in the 'Watergate' scandal, also giving an on-air apology to the American public was seen by many as a major accomplishment for Frost. These interviews even spawned a play, 'Frost/Nixon', that ran in 2006 and 2007, along with a movie of the same name that was released a year later, in 2008.
He is credited as the organiser of the ‘Music for 'UNICEF Concert: A Gift of Song' held at the 1979 'United Nations General Assembly'.
David Frost founded a broadcasting station, 'TV-am', along with other luminaries in the journalistic field, in 1983. It shut shop in 1992.
He authored a book, 'Millionaires, Multimillionaires and Really Rich People', which was published in 1984. The period from 1987 to 2008 also saw Frost host the comedy game show, 'Through The Keyhole'.
Continue Reading Below
After his co-founded station, ‘TV-am’ went off air, Frost hosted 'Breakfast with Frost' on 'ITV', on channel 'BBC', from January 1993 until May 29, 2005.
Frost joined the English version of Qatar-based news network, 'Al Jazeera' in November 2006, with his current affairs programme 'Frost Over The World'. He interviewed multiple famous personalities, including Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, author of the historic Fatwa on Terrorism. This show was succeeded by ‘The Frost Interview’, from 2012.
The 'Australian Broadcasting Corporation' featured a report on Frost, called 'The World According To Frost', where he spoke about his career and his portrayal in the movie 'Frost/Nixon'. It aired in February 2009.
A documentary on the ‘BBC Four’ channel, named 'Frost on Satire' was aired in June 2010, and looked at the history of satire on TV, through Frost's eyes.
Over the years, he has been associated with many charities, including 'Alzheimer's Research Trust', the 'Motor Neurone Disease Association', and 'Wellbeing for (8)Women'. He has also written multiple books, produced eight films, and received many major TV awards.
Awards & Achievement
He was given the 'Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)' in 1970, and knighted for his services to broadcasting and journalism in 1993.
He received various honorary degrees, like the doctoral degree from the 'University of Sussex' (in 1994), and a ' Doctor of Letters' degree from the 'University of Winchester' (in 2009).
In 2005, he got fellowship from the 'British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA)'.
Continue Reading Below
He received a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the 'Emmys', in 2009.
Family & Personal Life
Over the years, David Frost had relationships with various prominent women; he dated British actress Janette Scott in the mid-1960s, he was engaged to American actress, Diahann Carroll, in the early 1970s, and went out with British socialite. Caroline Cushing, from 1972 and 1977. He was also in an on-and-off relationship with American actress Carol Lynley for around 18 years.
His first marriage was to Peter Seller's widow, Lynne Frederick, in 1981. He divorced her the next year.
He went on to wed the daughter of the 17th Duke of Norfolk, Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard, on March 19, 1983. They had three sons Miles, Wilfred, and George. His second son, Wilfred, is an anchor at CNBC.
David Frost died suddenly of a heart attack while on board the ship 'MS Queen Elizabeth' on August 31, 2013. He was due to give a speech there. A postmortem diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a condition in which the walls of the heart thicken without any obvious cause). His oldest son, Miles, died from the same condition in 2015, at the age of 31.
David Frost is the only person to interview every U.S. President who served between 1969 to 2008. He is also the only one to interview all the British Prime Ministers who served during 1964 to 2016.
David Frost had a catchphrase, "Hello, good evening and welcome", which was coined during his time with 'The Frost Programme', and was often mimicked by other anchors in the U.K. and the U.S.
David Frost was saved from drowning by Peter Cook while on his holiday in New York in 1963. Peter Cook frequently expressed regret for saving him, as they had an intense rivalry, with Peter Cook alleging plagiarism by Frost.