Profile of the Chat Show Host and Documentary Filmmaker
There is not much that can be said in a 21-minute profile of anyone. THE UNFORGETTABLE RUSSELL HARTY looked at the life of the chat-show host and documentary filmmaker, who began his career by becoming an educator at Giggleswick School in Yorkshire. After a happy 8-year sojourn there, he broke into television as presenter of London Weekend's AQUARIUS before being given his own chat-show RUSSELL HARTY PLUS.
His style was very different from fellow chat-show host Sir Michael Parkinson. Whereas Parky was very much in awe of his guests, Harty was sometimes mischievous, sometimes skittish, on other occasions highly sympathetic. He could draw information out of guests - for example, the often reticent Sir Dirk Bogarde - that other hosts found impossible to achieve. Occasionally things went spectacularly wrong - as, for instance, when the singer and model Grace Jones attacked him during a live show. For the most part Harty remained firmly in control, although he concealed his authority beneath an amiable facade.
Throughout his life he was devoted to his mother Myrtle. She died in the late Eighties, just before the tabloid newspapers revealed Harty's homosexuality to the public. Despite the often savage - and untruthful - allegations about his private life, Harty had a long-term relationship with a younger singer/ songwriter.
After having filmed a documentary series HARTY'S GRAND TOUR, he caught Hepatitis B and died soon afterwards at the age of only fifty-three. Still in the prime of life, he had nonetheless achieved a lot in a very short time. Those fortunate enough to watch his regular television appearances will never forget him.
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