Sir Michael Parkinson, the legendary British chat show host who has championed countless musicians, has prostate cancer.
The 78-year-old broadcaster, who is affectionately known in his homeland as “Parky,” was diagnosed with the disease in May following a routine health check last year.
Parkinson is undergoing radiotherapy and he’s confident of beating the disease.
"When you are told you have something like cancer, it is a shock. But the cancer specialist said: 'I will assure you, you will not die of this.' "I am concerned about it, of course,” he says, “but I am not frightened of it."
For 25 years, Parkinson’s talk show was a "must-see" staple on British TV and its seemingly endless conveyor belt of top celebrities ensured high-ratings. Over time, he’s interviewed almost every big name in the music biz, from members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Tina Turner and Robbie Williams.
In 1998, Parkinson became a Gold Badge recipient – an award that pays tribute to people judged to have made a special and lasting contribution to the U.K.'s entertainment industry. Parkinson was awarded the CBE for services to broadcasting in 2000. And in 2005, he was honored with the Music Industry Trusts’ Award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a distinctive and lasting contribution to the U.K. music industry. On the night, Parkinson was declared as “the musicians’ champion.”
Originally a print journalist, Parkinson became a producer at the commercial British TV channel Granada in the late 1960s. He became the archetypal chat show presenter via a weekly program for BBC1 which began in 1971 and ran on Saturday nights for 361 editions until 1982. His “Parkinson” show continued from 1998 until his retirement in 2007. The following year, he was Knighted for services to broadcasting.