Australian author and TV personality Clive James. Picture: Darryl Gregory
Australian author and TV personality Clive James. Picture: Darryl Gregory

Aussie broadcaster Clive James dead at 80

Australian author and TV personality Clive James has died at the age of 80.

The poet, critic and star of Britain's The Clive James Show, who was known for his dry humour and insightful reviews, died at his home in Cambridge on Sunday, a statement from his agent said.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease almost 10 years ago and endured his "ever-multiplying illnesses with patience and good humour", it added.

"A private funeral attended by family and close friends took place in the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge on Wednesday 27th November," it said.

"He endured his ever-multiplying illnesses with patience and good humour, knowing until the last moment that he had experienced more than his fair share of this 'great, good world'."

 

James was known for his dry humour and insightful reviews.
James was known for his dry humour and insightful reviews.

As a parting reminder of his larrikin wit, James penned his own obituary and published it on his website, telling journalists it would be "cheaper than anything most newspapers are likely to have in the freezer".

"I will keep updating it until they carry me to the slab, during which journey I will try to give details of my final medication," he wrote.

James first revealed the news of his illness in May 2011, when he had already been ill for 15 months.

The next year he declared: "I am a man who is approaching his terminus". But he coninued to write and broadcast until almost the very end.

TRIBUTES FOR 'BRILLIANTLY FUNNY MAN'

British writer and comedian Stephen Fry paid tribute to James on Twitter, writing that he was one of his "heroes" growing up.

Broadcaster Richard Coles also described him as the "best telly critic that ever there was".

 

 

 

 

 

James was born in Sydney in 1939 and moved to England in 1961, where he became a literary critic and later a prominent television reviewer.

"He wrote and presented countless studio series and specials, as well as pioneering the 'postcard' format of travel programmes, which are still in syndication all over the world," James wrote in his obituary.

"But despite the temptations and distractions of media celebrity, he always maintained his literary activity as a critic, author, poet and lyricist."

 

Clive James, TV Presenter and author. 7 October 1994. Entertainment
Clive James, TV Presenter and author. 7 October 1994. Entertainment

James says he spent most of the spring and summer of 2019 writing and editing.

"He was grateful to the staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital [in Cambridge] for their care and kindness, which unexpectedly allowed him so much extra time," his agent said.

"His family would like to thank the nurses of the Arthur Rank Hospice at Home team for their help in his last days, which allowed him to die peacefully and at home, surrounded by his family and his books."

James married scholar Prue Shaw in 1968 and together they had two daughters, Claerwen and Lucinda.

He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992 and was awarded a Special Award for lifetime achievement by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in 2015.

He penned his own obituary before he died.
He penned his own obituary before he died.


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