British Journalist Sir David Frost Dies At 74 David Frost was probably best known in the United States for his interviews with former President Richard Nixon in 1977 after Nixon had resigned from office. The interview was taped over the course of four weeks, two hours at a time. Frost died of a suspected heart attack.
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British Journalist Sir David Frost Dies At 74

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British Journalist Sir David Frost Dies At 74

British Journalist Sir David Frost Dies At 74

British Journalist Sir David Frost Dies At 74

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David Frost was probably best known in the United States for his interviews with former President Richard Nixon in 1977 after Nixon had resigned from office. The interview was taped over the course of four weeks, two hours at a time. Frost died of a suspected heart attack.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. We're saying good-bye, this morning, to the man who conducted one of the most famous television interviews in history.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

INSKEEP: That was, of course, former President Richard Nixon shortly after he had resigned from office. He was being interviewed by Sir David Frost, a British journalist whose career would be defined by that 1977 television special. On Saturday, Sir David Frost died from what is suspected to be a heart attack. NPR's Nathan Rott has our remembrance.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: The interview was taped over the course of four weeks, two hours at a time. It would total 29 hours in the end. But it wasn't until the last hours of the last day, that Sir David Frost got what he had wanted.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

ROTT: At the time, Frost's back and forth with Nixon were the most widely watched news interviews in television history. They would later inspire a play and in 2008, Hollywood rendered its own version - the Oscar-nominated movie "Frost/Nixon."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FROST/NIXON")

ROTT: Frost had gambled big on Nixon, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the ex-president to agree to talk. And it paid off. Frost became an international star. But for British television watchers, he was already a bit of a known commodity. The son of a Methodist minister, Frost had found some earlier broadcasting success, using an on-screen charm that disarmed interviewees. And a quick wit that lent itself to satire.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS")

ROTT: "That Was the Week That Was" was a satirical news program that aired on the BBC. Think of it as the 1960's version of the "Daily Show." It helped launch the career of John Cleese and many of the other men that would form the comedy group Monty Python. Frost was the show's anchor.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS")

ROTT: Frost hosted a number of programs and game shows during his 50-year broadcasting career. And though the Nixon interview is the one he's most remembered for, it wasn't the only one where he put an international figure in the hot seat. In a 1969 interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, he let some of their more interesting music help ask his questions.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

ROTT: Frost would interview many iconic figures: Muhammed Ali, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, and Orson Welles. That's just to name a few. But he always said that the Nixon interview was the highlight of his career. And it was a career that he worked until his death. Frost was working for Al Jazeera at the time of his death and was planning a new series, with the BBC. He is survived by his wife and their three sons. Nathan Rott, NPR News.

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