Beloved British Television Host Sir Michael Parkinson Dead At 88

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Beloved television host Sir Michael Parkinson died Wednesday at the age of 88, according to a statement from his family.

The veteran broadcaster was a staple of every Brit’s upbringing, having held a career in television for seven decades, the BBC reported Thursday. He died at home in the company of his family after suffering a brief illness, the statement said.

Nature documentary icon Sir David Attenborough was one of the first to share a tribute to Parkinson, saying the host “always wanted the interviewee to shine.” And that he did.

“With Michael, it was always friendly, always thorough, always intelligent, always a pleasure to do it, and I think that came over no matter who is [sic] interviewee was,” Attenborough continued, according to the BBC.

Being interviewed by Parkinson was the pinnacle of career-making PR for Brits. Not only did he focus on British talent, but Parkinson often reached out across the pond to build bridges between the U.S. and U.K. entertainment industry by hosting famous American guests on his show.

“The genius of Parky was that unlike most people (and most of his guests, me included) he was always 100% himself. On camera and off. ‘Authentic’ is the word I suppose,” actor Stephen Fry said of being interviewed by Parkinson. (RELATED: Sacha Baron Cohen Announces His Return As Ali G)

His show ran from 1971 through 1982, before being brought back in 1998. It is estimated Parkinson interviewed more than 2,000 guests throughout his career, including the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John and arguably the most awkward interview in history with Meg Ryan.

Parkinson will be enormously missed. Watch some of his highlights here: