David Frost, the British broadcasting titan whose career spanned comedy writing, hosting television programs and interviewing various public figures — including a series of memorable conversations with former President Richard Nixon — died August 31, 2013, while traveling on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth, on which he was scheduled to deliver a speech. He was 74.
According to news reports, the cause was a heart attack.
Born in Kent, England, Frost studied at Cambridge University, where he became secretary of the renowned performance troupe the Footlights Club, and met several future comedy greats, including Peter Cook, Graham Chapman and John Bird.
He began his television career at ITV, and later moved to the BBC, where he became host a send-up of the news called That Was The Week That Was. The show's writing staff included John Cleese, John Betjeman and Dennis Potter.
Next came a sketch comedy program, The Frost Report, where he worked with Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. The show had a strong influence on British comedy, including Monty Python's Flying Circus, which came together shortly afterward.
Returning to ITV, and veering from comedy, Frost fronted The Frost Programme, which was devoted to in-depth interviews with celebrities, politicians and other public figures. He also began working in America, where his projects included the The David Frost Show.
His interviews with Nixon, in 1977, were watched by an estimated 45 million people. In the course of the conversations, Nixon apologized for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Decades later, the interviews years inspired Frost/Nixon, a play by Peter Morgan that became a 2008 feature film with Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon.
In the years that followed, Frost continued to work in television, primarily as a producer and host of specials and documentaries.
He launched a Sunday-morning show, Breakfast with Frost, in 1993, and in 2006 he joined the Al-Jazeera network when it began its English-language division.
Frost's many distinctions included a knighthood, which was bestowed in 1993.