EXPIRED: 08/29/09 – Simon Dee, 74, a role model for Austin Powers, Dee was a wild TV host who hung with the Beatles and royalty alike. When fame went to his head he quickly found himself unemployed, even losing a potential job as a bus driver when recognized.
Dee was one of the first disc jockeys to join the BBC’s new Radio One after starting his career on the pirate station Radio Caroline in 1964.
His Saturday evening “Dee Time” program was one of the most popular television shows of the late 1960s with a peak audience of 15 million. And from 1967-69 his show captured the spirit of the “swinging sixties,” with closing credits showing Dee driving off with a miniskirted female companion in an E-type Jaguar sports car.
He also presented the “Top of the Pops” music program and had cameo film roles in “The Italian Job” in 1969 and “Doctor in Trouble” in 1970.
But then Dee’s star waned after he moved to commercial rival London Weekend Television following a dispute over pay, and he virtually disappeared from the airwaves. Out of work, he was forced to seek unemployment benefits, spent time in jail for unpaid debts and even became a bus driver.
Although his time in the limelight was short, his image endured into the late 1990s, and actress Elizabeth Hurley said Hollywood based the spoof 1960s spy Austin Powers partly on Dee’s flamboyant character.
His daughter said that Dee’s bone cancer had been diagnosed only weeks ago and could not be treated. He left behind three ex-wives, four children, and four grandchildren