Simon Dee, who died on August 30 aged 74, was arguably British television's first superstar; he invented the persona of the trendy talk show host and became a cultural icon in the 1960s, watched weekly by up to 18 million viewers before his precipitate fall from favour in 1970.
As Britain's best-known fallen star, Dee occupied an unenviable niche in the history of celebrity: "Simon Dee Syndrome" was said to describe those who were better known for losing their grip on fame than for what they did to earn it in the first place.
Yet during his three short years in the public glare, Dee lived the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll dream, hosting the most popular programme on television, having affairs with Hollywood actresses, befriending the Beatles, stepping out with Princess Margaret and making (and spending) prodigious amounts of money. As postwar television came of age, and the era of colour dawned, Dee was undoubtedly the medium's hottest ticket.
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