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Ron Howard pays tribute to Sir David Frost


Story by Jack Foley

RON Howard, the director of Frost/Nixon, has paid tribute to the late broadcaster Sir David Frost.

The TV veteran died on Sunday, September 1, 2013, at the age of 74 after a suspected heart attack while on board a cruise ship.

Howard reacted to the news of his passing while promoting his latest movie, Rush, at a junket in London, hailing Sir David as “a pioneer” who he greatly admired and enjoyed getting to know.

The director met the broadcaster while putting together Frost/Nixon, the Oscar nominated movie that chronicled how Sir David put together his revealing interviews with former US President Richard Nixon.

He said: “I was sad to hear about Sir David Frost. I really enjoyed getting to know him on Frost/Nixon. It was a pleasure. He was bright, funny, witty and all of those things. But I really admired and respected his entrepreneurial side.

“He was a great personality, he was fast and funny and smart, but he had a kind of an audacity, or a courage, that I really admired, both just in terms of the way he tackled his work, but also what he thought about. He was a pioneer as a producer. I just had a lot of respect and appreciation for him.”

Asked about his impact on British TV, Howard also felt that he paved the way for change on American TV as well, explaining: “When he did those Nixon interviews, he proved the viability of another network. When he came in and did the Nixon interviews and the networks turned him down, and he did it his own way, selling off the stations and bundling them together and yet airing it at the same time… that sent a signal to the world, eventually the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world, that the United States could actually… there were ratings to be had in a fourth network. And that was a gutsy move for me.”

In addition to his career defining Nixon interviews, Sir David’s career spanned journalism, comedy writing and daytime television presenting, including The Frost Report.

In the 60s, he fronted the BBC programme That Was The Week That Was and became known for his often-mimicked catchphrase “hello, good evening and welcome”.

In the ’90s, Sir David presented Through The Keyhole, which he also produced, alongside Loyd Grossman, and in 1993 was knighted, after which he began presenting Breakfast With Frost, a Sunday show on BBC in which he interviewed newsworthy figures.

A statement released by his family said: “His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time. A family funeral will be held in the near future and details of a memorial service will be announced in due course.”

While British Prime Minister David Cameron commented: “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.”