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Renowned British talk show host Michael Parkinson dies at age 88

Parkinson’s career included interviews with celebrities such as Muhammed Ali, David Bowie and John Lennon

Chat show host Michael Parkinson poses for pictures after he was awarded the Most excellent order of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham Palace November 24, 2000.
Chat show host Michael Parkinson poses for pictures after he was awarded the Most excellent order of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham Palace November 24, 2000.Reuters Photographer (REUTERS)

Michael Parkinson, a renowned broadcaster widely considered Britain’s talk show king has died at age 88.

His family said in a statement to the BBC on Thursday that Parkinson died “peacefully at home last night” after a brief illness.

Parkinson’s career included interviews with celebrities such as Muhammed Ali, David Bowie and John Lennon. His talk show, which was called “Parkinson,” first aired on the BBC in June 1971 and enjoyed a successful run until 1982. In 1998, the show was revived on the BBC and proved an instant hit. It then switched to commercial rival ITV in 2004 and ran until 2007.

Parkinson, who was commonly known as Parky, was knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and said of the accolade, “I never expected to be knighted — I thought there was more chance of me turning into a Martian really.”

The celebrities he interviewed also included Fred Astaire, Jimmy Cagney and Orson Welles.

In 2013, he spoke openly about being diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine health check.

He had three sons with his wife Mary, whom he married in 1959.

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