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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Columnist Dempster dies aged 65
Nigel Dempster
Nigel Dempster began his career as a society reporter in the 1960s
British journalist and former gossip columnist Nigel Dempster has died at the age of 65 after a long illness.

He was an author, broadcaster and Daily Mail diary writer.

The newspaper's editor, Paul Dacre, said Mr Dempster was "a treasured friend and a brilliant colleague" whose "scoops were the stuff of legend".

Mr Dempster had a daughter, Louisa Beatrix and a stepdaughter, Emily Kate Godolphin Harris, from his second marriage to Lady Camilla Osborne.

In 2005, he was named as one of the 40 most influential journalists of the previous four decades in a poll for media magazine Press Gazette.

His scoops were the stuff of legend and his zest for life inexhaustible
Paul Dacre,
Daily Mail editor

He was credited with creating the modern newspaper gossip column.

Mr Dacre said: "Nigel was... one of the best diary writers Fleet Street has ever known.

"His scoops were the stuff of legend and his zest for life inexhaustible.

"He liked nothing more than to deflate the egos of the idle rich and puncture the pomposity of the powerful.

"It made him one of the most talked-about figures Fleet Street has ever seen. We will all miss him."

Mr Dempster began his career in the 1960s when he teamed up with his friend, the photographer Lord Lichfield, to cover the premier social events of the time.

He worked first for the Daily Express and then the Daily Mail, which he joined in 1971.

He was given his own diary page by the late Sir David English, who edited the Mail for 20 years.

Princess Margaret

During his career, Mr Dempster was credited with breaking a number of big royal stories including the news of Prince Andrew's engagement to Sarah Ferguson.

He also wrote a number of books, mostly behind-closed-doors accounts of the Royal Family, including one on the life of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret.

Mr Dempster was married twice, first to Countess Emma Magdalen de Bendern, a daughter of Count John Gerard de Bendern.

His second marriage was in 1977 to Lady Osborne, daughter of the 11th Duke of Leeds.


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