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Thursday, November 19, 1998 Published at 17:57 GMT


Curriculum vitae: Andrew Morton

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Andrew Morton

Chronicler of our age

Female misery

Also known as:
"loathsome creep" (Bob Geldof), "That chap with the funny glasses" (lots of people), "Supe" (members of the royal press corps - because of his 6ft 4ins Clark Kent-esque stature)

Earned the undying envy of his former fellow royal reporters by:
getting what he modestly calls "The Scoop of the Century" - Diana: Her True Story, with its accounts of bulimia, suicide attempts and adultery. Has now been translated into 29 different languages.

Earned the undying envy of reporters everywhere by:
also earning an estimated 3m from the book.

But is a serious historian:
And to prove it, he was invited to write Daniel: His True Story - actually an authorised biography of the Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi.

Hence his latest project:
Monica: Her True Story. Morton is to write Monica Lewinsky's side of the Clinton scandal. Ms Lewinsky agreed to tell all - and not just tales of shopping at Gap and cooking spinach. The details of her relationship with President Clinton will be in the book. In the interests of the objective eye of posterity, of course.

Knows when he's getting too close to a story:
When he met Ms Lewinsky in New York, the two instantly experienced a "strong personal chemistry", his publishers said. Had a good chemistry with Diana too - one reporter remembers Morton saying: "Great eye contact today. She's really going for me today." All cooled in the end, though. Two weeks before her death, he wrote in the Sun: "I now know why Prince Charles spent his time talking to his vegetables, because he knew he would get more sense out of them than the fruit he married."

Renowned for having the best possible taste:
Less than a week after Diana's death, he announced that she had been the source for the book. Also announced he was going to update the book.

Has the courage of his convictions:
Pressed ahead despite being roundly condemned for it, and being accused of betraying his source and profiteering from her death. Said the update was an important historical record."It would have been a crime against history if I hadn't [gone ahead with it]," he said.

Never afraid to tell difficult truths:
When he was accused of making life more difficult for Princes William and Harry, he said: "If they really wanted to understand their mother they would want to read her words."

Does a lot of work for charity:
Offered the proceeds from the updated book to landmine charities, but the leading ones refused it. Martin Bell MP described it as "tainted money", and the Halo Trust's Guy Willoughby said: "Hell would freeze over before we accepted a penny from him - he's profiting from death." The money went to a less well-known landmine charity.

Availability for work:
Managed to speedily clear his commitments for the Lewinsky project. Otherwise always ready for a TV appearance at a moment's notice.

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