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Journalist who became ‘Mr Showbiz’ dies aged 89

A journalist who started out on his local newspaper and went on to become a well-known tabloid showbiz reporter has died at the age of 89.

David Lewin began his career as a reporter on the Hampstead and Highgate Express straight from school, and went on to become famous for his in-depth interviews with Hollywood stars such as Liz Taylor, Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.

His career saw him write for the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Mail, and he spent four decades jetting across the Atlantic to report the big entertainment stories.

He later became editor of the Cinema and TV magazine, now Screen International.

Retired Ham and High editor Gerald Isaaman recalled David’s honesty and integrity, and remembered a time he slipped up as a trainee reporter and got found out.

David had gone to a church meeting and reported that ‘nothing happened’ when it turned out the church hall had burnt down.

Said Gerald: “David had skipped the event perhaps thinking he was destined for much bigger things.

“And indeed he was, the glamorous world of interviewing the stars earning him their respect and justified recognition as a formidable journalist.”

“In the days before reporters used phone hacking to achieve exclusives, he gained the confidence of Hollywood and British stars, film directors and writers to produce interviews that stand the tough test of time and honesty.

“In that sense, he was among the last of a classic breed of pure reporters who wanted to inform as well as fascinate.”

David, who died in his sleep on 19 February, moved to West London in his twilight years after the death of his wife Betty.

He is survived by two sons, Nicholas and Guy.

Ruth Gorb, a close friend and a former gardening columnist for the Ham & High, said: “You name it they were his friends, he was at the centre of everything. He was Mr Showbiz in the 1970s he really was.

“He wasn’t glamorous, he was very down to earth, extremely funny with a wealth of stories.”

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  • March 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Church hall burnt down? Something very similar happened to Peter Sellers’ local newspaper am-dram critic in the1962 movie Only Two Can Play. In the film he ducks out of going to a boring play and submits a made-up review only to discover that the theatre burnt down shortly after the curtain went up. Small world!
    Sad to hear of David Lewin’s death. He was a great tabloid interviewer who operated during a golden age.

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