Historical records matching Nigel Dempster
About Nigel Dempster
Dempster was a British journalist, author, broadcaster and diarist. Best known for his celebrity gossip columns in newspapers, his work appeared in the Daily Express and Daily Mail and also in Private Eye magazine.
Nigel Richard Patton Dempster (1 November 1941 in Calcutta, India — 12 July 2007 in Ham, Surrey) was a British journalist, author, broadcaster and diarist. Best known for his celebrity gossip columns in newspapers, his work appeared in the Daily Express and Daily Mail and also in Private Eye magazine. At his death, the editor of the Daily Mail Paul Dacre was reported as saying: "His scoops were the stuff of legend and his zest for life inexhaustible".
The son of an Australian mining engineer, who was fifty when Dempster was born, and an English mother, he was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset. After gaining three O-levels, he was ultimately expelled at 16 for being a "disruptive influence" after several misdemeanours.
Dempster married, in 1971 (divorced 1974), Countess Emma Magdalen de Bendern, a daughter of Count John Gerard de Bendern and the former Lady Patricia Sybil Douglas. He married Lady Camilla Osborne in 1977 (divorced 2002). She was the former wife of Robert John Brownlow Harris and was the daughter of John Osborne, 11th Duke of Leeds and his second wife, Audrey Young, a painter. By his second marriage, Dempster had a stepdaughter, Emily Kate Godolphin Harris (born 1972), and a daughter, Louisa Beatrix Dempster (born 1979).
On 29 May 2004 Dempster converted to Roman Catholicism at the Brompton Oratory in London. He had been taking lessons for seven months prior to this and was a regular member of the congregation. Dempster died on the 12 July 2007. According to his biographer, Tim Willis: "At his funeral, the priest declared that Dempster might have to spend a million years in purgatory — and paused just long enough to shock the congregation, before adding that, in eternity, a million years would pass in the snap of a finger."
[Daily telegraph:Was Nigel Dempster our Proust? By A N Wilson12:01AM BST 22 Oct 2007:]
Auberon Waugh, who labelled Dempster the Greatest Living Englishman, spoke of him in private as "a lost soul, who knows he is lost". This was 20 years before Nigel's illness, but it showed Waugh's percipience. He had intuited the spiritual journey which would end at the Brompton Oratory.
I found Dempster a wonderfully entertaining figure, both on the page and in person. He was Proust without the literary genius: his amused preoccupation with the rich and the aristocracy, of whose genealogies and sins he had an encyclopaedic and obsessive knowledge, was based on love-hate.