Saturday, 10 March 2012

SIMON DEE - Adrian, The Shirtmaker

Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd (born 28th July, 1935, England - died 30th August, 2009) is better known by his stage name Simon Dee. He was a British television interviewer and radio disc jockey who hosted a twice-weekly chat show Dee Time, but after moving from the BBC to London Weekend Television he was dropped and his career never recovered.
In 1967 Dee began his early evening chat show on BBC television, which opened with the announcer, Len Martin (hotfoot from reading the football results on Grandstand), emulating Ed McMahon's introduction to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson ('It's Siiiiimon Dee!') and closed with Dee driving off in a E-type Jaguar through the helter-skelter ramp of the Piccadilly Hotel, Manchester, accompanied by model, Lorna McDonald . The show was remarkably successful, with up to 18 million viewers. Actress Elizabeth Hurley has claimed that he was the model for Austin Powers in the spoof 1960s films of 1997-2002. Dee himself had cameo roles in some films, including The Italian Job (1969) and Doctor in Trouble (1970). He was first imprisoned for debt in March 1968, in Brixton prison where every time he left his cell, the wing would resound to the cry of 'It's Siiiiiimon Dee' from all the other prisoners. On this first internment he was so shocked that, while in the reception area waiting to be assigned to a cell, he swore that he would never get into debt again.
After a bizarre interview with George Lazenby (who had been smoking cannabis and outlined his theories on the assassination of John F. Kennedy at length), the show was not recommissioned. No alternative format for Dee was tried and he disappeared from the airwaves; when he signed on for unemployment benefit at Fulham labour exchange, there was considerable press coverage. Unable to revive his show business career, he eventually took a job as a bus driver; he also had several court appearances and some short jail terms in the 1970's over more unpaid debts.
Sadly, Simon died on Sunday, 30th August, 2009, just weeks after being diagnosed with bone cancer.

My Simon Dee autograph display.

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