Sir David Paradine Frost OBE was born in Tenterden, Kent on 7th April 1939, the son of Methodist minister Wilfred Paradine Frost and his wife, Mona. He attended Gillingham and Wellingborough Grammar Schools, and from 1958 read English at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. While there, he edited Granta and became secretary of the Footlights.
After graduating from Cambridge, he became a trainee at Associated-Rediffusion Television, whilst also appearing in cabaret at the Blue Angel nightclub in London. His stage performances led BBC producer Ned Sherrin to offer him the job of presenting the new satirical programme That Was the Week That Was. The programme was a runaway success until the BBC brought it to a close in 1963. However, Sir David revived the sketch show format to great acclaim in The Frost Report in 1966, launching the careers of John Cleese, Ronnie Corbett, and Ronnie Barker, and winning the Golden Rose of Montreux in 1967. At the same time, he began to conduct interviews for The Frost Programme on Associated-Rediffusion, including the classic encounter with Emil Savundra.
Sir David was a businessman as well as a performer. He founded his own company, David Paradine Productions, in 1966, and in 1967 he spearheaded the consortium which won the ITV franchise for London and began broadcasting as LWT in 1968.
Whilst broadcasting from Friday to Sunday on LWT, he also signed to present an American interview show three nights a week from New York. From then on, he would work on both sides of the Atlantic.
He interviewed every British prime minister from Harold Wilson to David Cameron, and seven US presidents, of which the most famous encounter was with Richard Nixon. In 1977, The Nixon Interviews achieved the highest ever audience for a news interview. Later, his American interview show, Talking with David Frost, aired coast to coast for twelve years.
Amid this hectic schedule, he was also well known for his diverse and spectacular social life. The undoubted peak of this was when he married Lady Carina Fitzalan Howard in 1983. They had three sons: Miles, Wilfred, and George.
In 1982, he led the winning bid for the ITV breakfast franchise, and his Sunday morning show on TVam became a byword for breaking political news. After TVam lost the franchise, he continued broadcasting on the BBC in Breakfast with Frost, which ran for 500 editions until 2005, before launching his international news programme, Frost Over the World, with Al Jazeera.
His range – from comedy to politics, television drama, and film – was unique and extraordinary, and is unlikely to be equalled.