- Magnús Magnússon
name = Magnús Magnússon
birth_date = birth date|1929|10|12|df=y
death_date = death date and age|2007|1|7|1929|10|12|df=y
Balmore, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
known_for = Mastermind
presenter, translation work
occupation = Television presenter,
journalist, translatorand writer
Magnús Magnússon KBE (IPA2|ˈmaknus ˈmaknuˌsɔn,
October 12 1929– January 7 2007) was an Icelandic television presenter, journalist, translatorand writer. He was born in Icelandbut lived in Scotlandfor nearly all of his life, although he never took British citizenship. He came to fame as presenter of the BBCtelevision quiz programme "Mastermind", which he hosted for 25 years.
Magnússon was born in
Reykjavíkbut grew up in Edinburgh, where his father, Sigursteinn Magnússon, was the Icelandic consul. Under Icelandic naming conventions, his name would have been Magnús Sigursteinsson (Magnús, son of Sigursteinn), but his family adopted British naming conventions and used his father's patronymic. He was schooled at the Edinburgh Academy.
After graduating from
Jesus College, Oxford, Magnússon became a reporter with the "Scottish Daily Express" and " The Scotsman". He went freelance in 1967, then joined the BBC, presenting programmes on historyand archeologyas well as appearing in news programmes. He was Lord Rector of Edinburgh Universityfrom 1975 to 1978, and later became Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.
Magnússon presented the long-running quiz show "Mastermind" from 1972 to 1997. The popularity of the show made him one of the best-known faces of the
BBC. His famous catchphrase, which the current presenter John Humphryshas continued to use, was "I've started so I'll finish".
Magnússon translated a variety of books from modern Icelandic and Old Norse into English. Among these are several works by
Halldór Laxness, the Nobel prize-winning novelist from Iceland, and a number of Norse sagaswhich he co-translated (with Hermann Pálsson) for the Penguin Classics series: " Njal's Saga" (1960), "The Vinland Sagas" (1965), "King Harald's Saga" (1966) and " Laxdaela Saga" (1969). Magnússon was also the author of a popular history of the Vikingera, called "The Vikings" (revised edition, 2000).
Awards & Charity positions
Magnússon was awarded an honorary knighthood (Knight Commander of the
Order of the British Empire) in 1989, and was elected President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birdsfor a five-year period, at their 94th AGM in October 1995, succeeding Max Nicholson. He also became the founder Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritageupon its inception in 1992.
In 2002 he became Chancellor of
Glasgow Caledonian University.
In the early years of the 21st century, Magnússon also wrote for the "
New Statesman."cite web |url= http://www.newstatesman.com/writers/magnus_magnusson |title= Articles by Magnus Magnusson |format= html|work= New Statesman|quote= ]
October 12 2006, his 77th birthday, Magnússon was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Magnússon mordantly noted that "this has to be one of my worst birthdays ever". His condition meant he was forced to cancel a string of public appearances. He died on January 7 2007. [cite news
title =Magnusson faces cancer treatment
accessdate = ] [cite news
title =TV's Magnus Magnusson dies at 77
accessdate = ] [cite news
title =Obituary: Magnus Magnusson
accessdate = ]
Magnússon was married to Mamie Baird.
Magnússon's eldest son, "Siggi", died in a traffic accident in 1973. His eldest daughter,
Sally Magnusson, is a television presenter, mainly in Scotland, although in the 1980s she worked for BBC South EastNews. She is also a regular presenter of " Songs of Praise". Jón, another offspring, is a television comedy producer. Daughter Margaret is a television executive and Anna Magnussonis a senior Scottish radio producer and broadcaster on religious affairs.
Magnússon was noted as being one of the very few television presenters to keep their private address and phone number listed in the public telephone directory. He was also noted as a keen supporter of
Manchester United F.C.
*"Fakers, Forgers and Phoneys: Famous Scams and Scamps" (2005), ISBN 978-1845961909
*"Scotland: The Story of a Nation" (2000), ISBN 978-0006531913
*"The Vikings" (1980), ISBN 978-0752426990
*"Iceland Saga" (2005), ISBN 978-0752433424
*"Lindisfarne" (2004), ISBN 978-0752432274
*"Keeping Your Words: An Anthology of Quotations" (2005), ISBN 978-0340862643
*"Scotland Since Prehistory: Natural Change and Human Impact" (1993), ISBN 978-1898218036
*"I've Started So I'll Finish" (1998), ISBN 978-0751525854
*"Viking Expansion Westwards" (1973), ISBN 978-0809835294
*"BC The Archaeology of the Bible Lands" (1977), ISBN 978-0671240103
*"The Clacken and the Slate" (1974), ISBN 0-00-411170-2
*imdb name|id=0536392|name=Magnús Magnússon
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3561915.stm Obituary on the BBC website]
* [http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/famousperson/magnusson/2561580 Magnús Magnús - Tribute]
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Magnusson, Magnus
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Icelandic television host
DATE OF BIRTH=
October 12, 1929
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
January 7, 2007
PLACE OF DEATH=
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