Broadcasting legend Alistair Cooke has died, less than a month after he recorded his final “Letter from America”, BBC radio said this morning. He was 95. Details of the death of the BBC’s longest-serving foreign correspondent were not immediately disclosed, but it was known that Cooke, who lived in New York, was suffering from heart disease and arthritis. It was on doctor’s orders that he aired his last “Letter from America” on March 6 on the BBC’s domestic and World Service radio services, ending a series that ran for 58 years. Cooke was also a household name among Americans, both as host of the cultural programmes “Omnibus” and Masterpiece Theatre,” and for his history series “Alistair Cooke’s America”.
Mark Byford, BBC Acting Director General, said: “Alistair Cooke was one of the greatest broadcasters ever in the history of the BBC - an outstanding commentator of the 20th Century. His insight, wisdom and unique ability to craft words enabled millions of listeners in the UK and around the world to understand the texture of the United States and its people. All of us at the BBC are saddened today.”