Celebrities

Michael Parkinson’s son says famous dad’s far from how he appears on TV ‘Rough edges’

Michael Parkinson admits he ‘locked away’ grief for his father

Michael Parkinson Jr, 53, shared with Express.co.uk that members of the public often assume he is “lucky” for having a famous father, who has met all manner of celebrities and achieved a series of accolades. However, the TV director admitted that Sir Micheal Parkinson is not what he “portrays” on TV, as he has “rough edges” like any other human being. 

You have to bite your tongue

Michael Parkinson Jr

Michael Jr said: “The funniest thing about fame is when you get approached by people, and they say, ‘Aren’t you lucky to have a father like him? What a lovely man he is!’

“And I kind of think, ‘Yes, he is a lovely man, but all you’re seeing is what he portrays on the screen.’

“He’s a human as well, therefore he has rough edges like we all have. 

“You kind of have to bite your tongue a bit and go, ‘Well he ain’t always like that,’” he added.

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Michael Jr admitted that it was interesting to see what fame is like, as it can be a “double edged sword”.

It comes as Sir Michael revealed that there was a “deeply unhappy” period in his marriage to his wife of over 60 years, Mary Ann Parkinson.

The chat show legend told how he began to increasingly rely upon alcohol during the beginning of his career, when he was working in Fleet Street.

However, after Mary said he had become “ugly” when he drank, the star decided it was time to quit alcohol altogether for the sake of his family.

He recalled: “I decided to quit drinking when my wife turned to me and said, ‘The problem with you is when you drink you can become ugly’, so I stopped.

“I was not far short of being a chronic alcoholic,” he added.

The small screen star turned to booze after going through difficulties in his life.

He continued: “It was an episode in my life when I was deeply unhappy, and I took to drink. 

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“Not the first or the last to do that. But I was delighted in the end that it was so easy for me to give up, it proved I was not an alcoholic.”

Michael was also inspired to quit drinking after thinking about those who had become “tragically involved” with alcohol, including his friend George Best.

He told RTE: “George wasn’t the only example. I grew up in Fleet Street, in television at a time when heavy drinking was not frowned upon – well, it was frowned upon, but it was there all the time.

“Several of my friends in both print journalism and television were fairly heavy drinkers.

“I didn’t want to end up… I pulled out at the right time and I must say that when I pulled out, I had in mind people I knew who had become tragically involved with the booze.

“The killer, as far as I was concerned, psychiatrists can make of this what they want, but I might remember it as being the thing that stopped me, was Mary my wife.”

Michael and Mary married back in 1959 after meeting in Yorkshire.

They have three children, Andrew, Nicholas and Michael Jr, who were born in 1960, 1964, and August 1967 respectively, along with eight grandchildren. 

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