No announcement yet.

TV’s Magnus Magnusson dies at 77

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    TV’s Magnus Magnusson dies at 77

    The former presenter of BBC TV's Mastermind programme, Magnus Magnusson, has died at the age of 77.

    Mr Magnusson, who was born in Iceland, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October last year.

    He came to Scotland at the age of one and spent his life working as a journalist, writer and broadcaster.

    Mr Magnusson, who is survived by a wife and four children, was known for his catchphrase "I've started so I'll finish" on the long-running quiz show. <!- E SF ->

    His family said he died peacefully at his home near Glasgow on Sunday evening in the presence of his wife Mamie and children Sally, Margaret, Anna and Jon. His elder son Siggy died in 1973.

    In a statement, his children said: "Magnus was the most generous, steadfast, loving and loved of husbands and fathers. He taught each of us how to live, and in the last few weeks he has taught us how to die. He did both with infinite grace."

    Mr Magnusson joined the BBC in 1964 as a presenter on the Tonight programme before going on to host Mastermind for 25 years from 1972.

    BBC director general Mark Thompson led tributes to one of the most familiar faces on British television.

    "For millions of viewers of viewers Magnus Magnusson was one of the defining faces and voices of the BBC," said Mr Thompson.

    "To the contestants of Mastermind, he was a tough but always fair questionmaster, but behind this screen persona there was a family man of tremendous warmth and humanity.

    "All our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time, and everyone at the BBC will share their tremendous sense of loss."

    Honorary knighthood

    Mastermind's current presenter, John Humphrys said: "You can't waltz into the programme as the new boy, like I was, and after a few years say 'oh it's my programme'. The fact is it will always be Magnus Magnusson's Mastermind."

    One of that show's most famous winners, Fred Housego, said Mr Magnusson's serious on-screen persona was deceptive.

    "He was a delight. He had a rich sense of humour. He loved what he did and we stayed friends for many years on and off camera. What a joy," he said.

    In 2004 Mr Magnusson had to undergo emergency abdominal surgery after reportedly suffering a ruptured stomach abscess.

    He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989 and had served as chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University since 2002.<!- E BO ->

    <DIV =mva> He loved what he did and we stayed friends for many years and off camera. What a joy <BR clear=all></DIV></DIV>
    <DIV =mva>
    <DIV>Fred Housego
    Mastermind winner</DIV></DIV>


    Obituary: Magnus Magnusson

    Magnus Magnusson, who has died aged 77, had a long and successful career as a journalist, author and broadcaster before launching Mastermind.

    That programme was to become inextricably linked to his name and the phrase: "I've started, so I'll finish."

    Magnus Magnusson was born in Iceland in 1929, and moved to Scotland as a baby when his father was appointed European manager of the Icelandic Co-Op. His father subsequently became Iceland's consul-general in Scotland, and the family settled there.

    Magnus Magnusson was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Jesus College, Oxford, before joining the Scottish Daily Express as a reporter.

    He rose to become the paper's assistant editor and went on to join to The Scotsman, where he was also assistant editor. At the same time, he began to take on occasional work on radio and television.

    After joining the BBC, as a presenter on the Tonight programme in 1964, Magnus Magnusson fronted many other programmes, mainly associated with his interest in history, archaeology and the environment.

    They included Chronicle, The Archaeology of the Bible Lands, Vikings! and Birds for All Seasons.

    His interest in ornithology went back to his schooldays, when, at 14, he won a gold medal from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for an essay on the mating habits of the blackbird.

    More than 40 years later he was to become president of that society.

    He presented his first Mastermind programme in 1972, and went on to host it for 25 years.

    Its millions of viewers were fascinated by the programme's doom-laden signature tune, the contestants' black chair, facing Magnus Magnusson.

    But it is perhaps the presenter's decisive words: "I've started, so I'll finish" that will be most remembered.

    Those appearing on the programme chose an eclectic range of specialist subject, from "London's sewer system" to "the life cycle of the honey bee".

    Such was the popularity of the show that it returned to the BBC in 2002 for a celebrity special and 2003 saw the first full new series with a new quizmaster John Humphrys.

    Magnus Magnusson was a prolific author, with books on the Vikings, archaeology, Ireland and Scotland and translations of early Icelandic literature.

    He never took British nationality but his enthusiasm for his adopted country was recognised with his appointment as chairman of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland and the Scottish National Heritage Agency.

    His work for Scotland brought him an honorary knighthood in 1989 and, in 2002, he became Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.

    He is survived by his wife Mamie, to whom he was married for 52 years, and his four surviving children, Sally, Margaret, Anna and Jon. His elder son Siggy died in 1973.

    Magnus Magnusson's daughter, Sally, became a television celebrity in her own right, presenting, among others, Breakfast Time and Songs of Praise.


      He always seemed to be a man of great dignity. RIP



        Originally posted by Point
        He always seemed to be a man of great dignity. RIP

        Id agree with that.


          I liked Magnus. R.I.P.