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Don Short - 1932-2023

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 26 / 5 / 2023

Don Short - 1932-2023

Don Short, who died at the age of 90 on 3rd May, was arguably the UK's top music and show business reporter. Anyone who read the popular papers in the 1960s and 1970s will have followed his never-ending scoops in ‘The Daily Mirror’ when that paper was the country's bestseller, read by five million people each day. As a young trainee reporter towards the end of that time on the same newspaper, I can well recall the respect all had for Don Short. When journalists on rival papers wondered whether to check on yet another huge scoop from Short, the words of one of Fleet Street's most distinguished editors would ring in their ears, “If Don Short says it's true, then it is true!” Of course there was no social media back then, no mobile phones or internet. As a reporter following a story, you had to be there. If you wanted to write authentically about film stars, stage actors or rock musicians, you had to get to know them. Music and showbiz was not yet ruled by the PR and marketing machinery that controls so much nowadays. At that time, there was constant international travel for journalists, nights away –often at the best hotels. ‘The Daily Mirror’ and ‘The Sun’ would each have two planes on permanent standby at Gatwick Airport for use at any time. The profitability of successful newspapers was immense, as was their influence and power. As Don Short recalled in his excellent 2020 memoir, ‘The Beatles and Beyond’, those were exciting days. The book was a treasure trove of anecdote and gossip with an amazing roll call of showbiz and music royalty. Short knew everyone – The Beatles, The Stones, Elvis, Cliff, Clapton, Bowie, Adam Faith, Olivia Newton-John, Val Doonican, Tom Jones plus the most famous stars of stage and screen - like Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Zsa Zsa Gabor, John Wayne, Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland....so many of them. Short was the journalist who actually coined the phrase ‘Beatlemania’ and he was also the person who first broke the story of the band's break-up in 1970 with his banner headline, ‘Paul Quits The Beatles’. Short relished all his times mixing with the world of celebrity, both in film and music, back in the very different era of the 1960s and 1970s. Later he ran his own literary agency and syndication company working closely with ‘The Daily Mirror’, ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Times’. He also ghost-wrote many memoirs including those of Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Christine Keeler and the socialite Lady Docker, known as Naughty Norah - plus he wrote the authorised biography of Engelbert Humperdinck. Don Short is survived by his wife, the former Wendy Foster, who he married in 1955, and their two daughters and a son.

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Don Short - 1932-2023

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Nick Dent-Robinson pays tribute to pioneering music and show business reporter Don Short, who has died aged 90.


The Beatles And Beyond (2020)
Don Short - The Beatles And Beyond
In 'Raging Pages' guest writer Nick Dent-Robinson finds fascinating 60's and 70's show business reporter and journalist Don Short's new memoir, 'The Beatles and Beyond'.

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