Sir Michael Parkinson has passed away at the age of 88. Sir Michael's talk show career reaches back more than 50 years and spanned interviews with some of the biggest stars in the world. His show, Parkinson, commenced in 1971 and has never been bettered and never will be. He was also a journalist, writer and radio presenter.
“When people ask me who I most enjoyed interviewing, I’m unable to give them an answer”, said Sir Michael. If they ask me who was the most remarkable man I ever met, I answer without hesitation – Muhammad Ali. “I interviewed him four times – I lost on every occasion.” Their verbal sparring sessions provided some of the show’s most memorable encounters and boosted ratings by millions each time .“I’m not going to argue with you,” Sir Michael told him during one animated discussion. You’re not as dumb as you look,” Ali replied.
Paul McCartney fulfilled a 25-year-old promise when he appeared on Parkinson 1n 1999. The TV presenter agreed to be pictured on the cover of the 1973 Wings album Band On The Run if the Beatles star returned the favour by being a guest on his chat show. Sir Paul said: “I owed him one. It’s been a long time coming but this is it.”
Landing the interview was a coup – it was the former Beatle’s first major TV appearance since the death of his wife Linda the previous year.
There were also same fabulous interviews with Sir Billy Connolly who was a very good friend of Sir Michael's, Fred Astaire, Orson Welles and Sir Alec Guinness. Rod Hull & Emu in 1976 and Meg Ryan in 2003 were also memorable for their own reasons. Sir Michael regretted never having interviewed Frank Sinatra and Sir Don Bradman.
In a golden age for the artistic world Sir Michael brought these people to the living-rooms of the country in an era long before social media became the bridge to the lives of the brilliant, rich and famous.
R.I.P. Sir Michael Parkinson