British TV and radio presenter Simon Dee dies at age 74

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Former British television and radio presenter Simon Dee (real name Cyril Henty-Dodd) died of bone marrow cancer today. Dee's diagnosis of cancer came only weeks ago, but was already in an untreatable stage. He was 74 years old.

Dee was a well known British star of the 1960s, until he was fired from London Weekend Television in 1970. He has been cited as the first example of a television superstar, and the term "Simon Dee Syndrome" has come to be used to describe those who are better known for their fall from fame, than for their rise to it.

Dee's career began on the pirate radio station Radio Caroline in 1964, before he was given a job on the BBC Light Programme in 1964. He later moved to the newly-launched Radio 1, and migrated to television to present occasional episodes of Top of the Pops on television.

Dee was then given his own television talk show, Dee Time. He also appeared occasionally on Radio Luxembourg and in cameo roles in films during this period. He moved to ITV's London Weekend Television after a salary dispute with the BBC, in 1970, but was fired after only a few months. His career never recovered. He was later sent to prison for failure to pay his rates and drifted into relative obscurity.

Dee left is survived by his three ex-wives, four children, and four grandchildren.


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