I was shattered to hear on a bright Sunday morning yesterday of the untimely death of my good friend David Frost, at the relatively young age of seventy-four.
In many ways I considered him a soul mate, whose company I cherished ever since we met in the early 1970s. This led to our collaboration with the Sherman brothers in Hollywood to make the film The Slipper and the Rose, which David and I co-produced in 1975.
Alas, most of the people involved in the film at the time are no longer with us.
The latest casualty was Bryan Forbes, the brilliant director of the film who died a few months ago. The shock of his loss is still fresh in my mind, for he was a charming friend whose company was a real treat.
But David, who was robust and full of zest for life, did not betray any signs of ill health; on the contrary, he was still as active as ever, interviewing people on Al Jazeera’s English television channel. His sudden passing away as a result of a heart-attack is therefore hard to accept.
David was a loyal friend whose worldwide success never infringed on his relationships with people, and he was always available when one needed him.
We often bumped into each other at airports, when he would cheerfully greet me at the top of his voice, unfazed by the multitude of passengers around, calling me ‘Sweet Prince’ – an affectionate expression I am unlikely to forget, despite my embarrassment at the time of being so called in a public arena.
David was endowed with a prodigious memory for names. He would remember the names of your children, having met them only once. The same applied to the wives of his friends.
He never spoke ill of anyone, he worked extremely hard – and had a wonderful sense of humour. He was a caring family man, a good host, treated everyone with great affability, and made you feel the equal of any celebrity in his presence. That was the most amazing thing about him.
On top of all these qualities, he had a natural warmth, oozed an abundance of bonhomie, was at ease with people from all walks of life, and was certainly a great communicator.
I shall miss him, miss the resonance of his voice over the telephone and our occasional breakfast rendezvous at the Wolseley in Piccadilly.
In the sad days ahead, while mourning his death, I wish him a safe and comfortable journey to heaven – where I am sure he will be welcomed with open arms. My only other consolation, knowing David the way I do, is that it will not take him long before he embarks on a series of interviews with the saints – even, perhaps, the angels – and eventually find a heavenly means to send us the labour of his new work.
I shall no doubt be restless, waiting to receive his first dispatch from beyond.