‘Parky’ to be added to airport’s ‘Wall of Fame’
Friday 30th September 2016: Shannon Airport is about to add another famous name to its ‘Wall of Fame’ after one of the world’s most famous TV chat show hosts, Sir Michael Parkinson, touched down ahead of an appearance tonight at the Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick.
The photograph of arguably Britain’s greatest ever chat show host taken at Shannon today will be mounted on the wall of fame with over 60 other famous Shannon passengers that flew in and out of the airport across the decades. Others whose image taken at the airport also made the Wall of Fame include a number of Sir Michael’s 2,000 plus interviewees, including, Mohammed Ali , Gene Kelly, Nelson Mandela, Marlon Brando, Bob Hope, Richard Burton and Mick Jagger.
Sir Michael, who arrived at the airport shortly after 10a.m., was given a tour of the Shannon ‘Wall of Fame’ in the airport’s transit lounge and, as he explored the permanent exhibition, recalled interviewing some of the world-famous people captured in it. The permanent exhibition was unveiled last year to celebrate the airport’s 70th anniversary and Mr Parkinson’s photograph will be added over the coming weeks.
Asked about his most favourite interviewee Parkinson said, “Ali without a doubt.” The charismatic UK TV presenter said that he interviewed Ali on four occasions and lost on points on just about every occasion. Referring to his last interview with Ali he said that that he was struck and saddened by the dramatic change in him, Ali was suffering from Parkinson’s disease at the time.
Conversely, the famous Meg Ryan interview of 2007 but also the hilarious ‘Emu’ interview of the 1970s when he was attacked by the puppet bird were his most difficult.
On his favourite Irish interviewees he said the late Val Doonican, whom he described as a very intelligent man. “He told a story about his father which I will never forget,” Doonican told about his father retreating to the shed at the bottom of the garden to die,” he recalled.
Asked about the person he most regretted not interviewing he said, “That would be Sinatra,” he declared.
In more recent years Parky, as he is fondly referred to by his legions of fans, has interviewed celebrities like, David and Victoria Beckham, Simon Cowell, Bette Midler, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, and Cameron Dias.
Sir Michael’s photo will now adorn the walls of Shannon Airport near to his friend, the late Mohammed Ali, whose great grandfather was from Co. Clare.