Sir David Frost, OBE, during an interview with Donald Rumsfeld
|Born||David Paradine Frost
7 April 1939
Tenterden, Kent, England
|Occupation||Television presenter, journalist, comedian, writer|
|Known for||That Was The Week That Was, Breakfast with Frost, Frost On Sunday (TV-am)|
|Spouse(s)||Lynne Frederick (1981–1982)
Lady Carina Fitzalan-Howard (1983–present)
Sir David Paradine Frost, OBE (born 7 April 1939) is a British journalist, comedian, writer and media personality, best known as a pioneer of political satire on television and for his serious interviews with various political figures, the most notable being Richard Nixon. Since 2006, he has hosted the weekly programme Frost Over the World on Al Jazeera English. He was portrayed by actor Michael Sheen opposite Frank Langella's Richard Nixon in the 2006 Peter Morgan stage play Frost/Nixon, and in Ron Howard's subsequent 2008 film adaptation.
David Frost was born at Tenterden, Kent, the son of a Methodist minister, the Rev. W.J. Paradine Frost. In his youth he started training as a Methodist Local Preacher, which he did not complete. He attended Barnsole Road Primary School in Gillingham, Kent, then Gillingham Grammar School and finally Wellingborough Grammar School. He subsequently won a place at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a degree in English. He had turned down a contract with Nottingham Forest Football Club to attend university.
At Cambridge, he edited a student newspaper, Varsity, and a literary magazine, Granta. He was also secretary of the famous Footlights Drama Society, which included actors such as Peter Cook and John Bird.
Frost was chosen by writer and producer Ned Sherrin to host a pioneering satirical programme called That Was The Week That Was, alias TW3. This caught the wave of the satire boom in 1960s Britain and became a popular programme. Since most of the jokes and sketches were stolen wholesale from the works of people such as Peter Cook, John Fortune, John Bird, and Eleanor Bron, Frost was dubbed "The Bubonic Plagiarist." TW3 was the last piece of scheduled programming broadcast by the BBC on a Saturday, and regularly overran its time slot.
By the second series, it was followed by repeats of The Third Man, starring Michael Rennie. Frost took note of this, and at the end of each edition of TW3 would reveal the plot featuring the key twists and turns of each episode so that there would be very little point in watching the programme. After three weeks, the BBC took note; The Third Man was taken off the air and TW3 got its full hour back.
After a pilot episode on 10 November 1963, a 30-minute American version of TW3 featuring Frost ran on NBC from 10 January 1964 to May 1965. In 1985, David Frost produced and hosted a television special in the same format, That Was the Year That Was, on NBC.
Frost fronted a number of programmes following the success of TW3, including its immediate successor, Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, which he co-chaired with Willie Rushton and P. J. Kavanagh. More notable was The Frost Report, 1966 and 1967, which launched the television careers of John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. He signed for Rediffusion, the ITV weekday contractor in London, to produce a "heavier" interview-based show called The Frost Programme. Guests included Sir Oswald Mosley and Rhodesian premier Ian Smith. His memorable dressing-down of insurance fraudster Emil Savundra was generally regarded as the first example of "trial by television" in the UK.
In 1963 a tribute to the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy on That Was the Week That Was had seen Frost's fame spread to the United States. His 1970 TV special Frost on America featured guests such as Jack Benny and Tennessee Williams.
From 1969 to 1972, Frost kept his London shows and fronted The David Frost Show on the Group W (U.S. Westinghouse Corporation) television stations in the United States. In 1977, he met US President Richard Nixon in a series of interviews for American television.
That same year Frost was the executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated The Slipper and the Rose. Frost was an organiser of the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. Ten years later, Frost was hired as the anchor of the new American tabloid news program Inside Edition. However, he was dismissed after only three weeks, and future Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was recruited in his stead.
During the 1990s, he presented the panel game Through the Keyhole, which featured a long running partnership with Loyd Grossman. After transferring from ITV, his Sunday morning interview programme Breakfast with Frost ran on the BBC from January 1993 until 29 May 2005. The programme originally began in this format on TV-am in September 1983 as Frost on Sunday until the station lost its franchise at the end of 1992. Later it transferred briefly to BSB before moving to the BBC.
As of November 2006, he works for Al Jazeera English, presenting a live weekly hour-long current affairs programme, Frost Over the World, which started when the network launched in November 2006. The programme has regularly made headlines with interviewees such as Tony Blair, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Benazir Bhutto and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. The programme is produced by the former Question Time editor and Independent on Sunday journalist Charlie Courtauld.
Frost was instrumental in starting up two important ITV franchises: London Weekend Television in July 1968 and as one of the Famous Five who launched TV-am in February 1983. Ironically, both had plans that were considered highbrow and both suffered launch problems with low audience ratings and financial difficulties that led to outside parties taking large stakes in the companies and significant changes in business strategy before stability was achieved.
On 20 and 21 July 1969, during the British television Apollo 11 coverage, he presented David Frost's Moon Party for LWT, a ten-hour discussion and entertainment marathon from LWT's Wembley Studios, on the night Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Two of his guests on this programme were British historian A.J.P. Taylor and Sammy Davis, Jr. Taylor was skeptical about the proceedings and believed that the moon landing was actually a mock-up being broadcast from a Hollywood studio. Frost started a production company called David Paradine Productions and was also part of a consortium with Richard Branson, which failed to acquire three ITV franchises under the CPV-TV name.
Frost is the only person to have interviewed all seven British prime ministers serving between 1964 and 2009 (Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown) and the seven US presidents in office between 1969 and 2008 (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush). He was also the last person to interview Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.
He is a patron and former vice-president of the Motor Neurone Disease Association charity, as well as being a patron of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, the Hearing Trust,East Anglia's Children's Hospices, the Home Farm Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
After having been in television for 40 years, Frost is worth £200 million. This valuation includes the assets of his main British company and subsidiaries, plus homes in London and the country.
On 21 October 2009 Frost was presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Winchester.
In 2009 Frost received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Emmies.
Originally a play by Peter Morgan that was developed from a series of interviews, Frost/Nixon was presented both in London and on Broadway. The play was adapted into a motion picture, starring Michael Sheen as David Frost, Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, directed by Ron Howard, and released in 2008. The film was nominated for five Golden Globe awards: Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score,  as well as five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.
In February 2009, Sir David Frost was featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC-TV) international affairs programme "Foreign Correspondent" in a report titled "The World According To Frost", reflecting on his long career and portrayal in the feature film Frost/Nixon.
He is married to Lady Carina née Fitzalan Howard (born 20 February 1952), a daughter of the 17th Duke of Norfolk, and has 3 sons. He was previously married (1981–1982) to Lynne Frederick, widow of Peter Sellers. He was also engaged to American actress Diahann Carroll in the early 1970s.