Icelandic host of Mastermind dies Skip to content

Icelandic host of Mastermind dies

Icelandic-born Magnús Magnússon, who used to be the presenter of BBC’s Mastermind television program, died of cancer at the age of 77 on Sunday evening.

Magnússon’s family said he had been surrounded by with his wife and four children at the time of his death and had passed away peacefully. His children said he had been a loving father who had taught them all “how to live and to die with grace.” The BBC reports.

The broadcaster, journalist and writer died at his home near Glasgow in Scotland. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last October. Magnússon was born in Iceland but moved to Scotland at the age of one.

BBC director general Mark Thomson described Magnússon as “one of the defining faces and voices of the BBC.” To the contestants of Mastermind Magnússon was a “tough but always fair questionmaster,” Thomson said.

Magnússon joined the BBC in 1964 as the presenter of the Tonight program. In 1972 he went on to host Mastermind and did so for 25 years. He was known for his catchphrase: “I’ve started so I’ll finish.”

Magnússon was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989 and had served as chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University since 2002.

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