Paul Gambaccini born 2 April 1949
New Yorker Paul Matthew Gambaccini is a radio and television presenter in the United Kingdom.
He studied at Dartmouth College, where he also worked in radio, and at University College, Oxford. He became publicly known in Britain as a disc jockey presenting American music on BBC Radio 1 starting in 1973 until late 1986. After that, he was heard on Southern Sound Radio every Saturday lunchtime, then on London Independent Radio. He came back to Radio 1 in 1991, presenting various documentaries for the network and also holiday cover for people like Nicky Campbell and Bob Harris.
At the same time in 1992, Gambo was also one of the original presenters on the UK's Classical music station Classic FM, where he presented the weekly Classical CD Chart. He left the network for BBC Radio 3 in 1995, but even though he increased the station's audience, it was claimed his style was not welcomed by the station's listeners, and he returned to Classic FM in 1997. In addition to this, in 1998, he joined BBC Radio 2, where he created his current weekly America's Greatest Hits show. At the same time, in 2002, he quit Classic FM, to present a weekly chart show on London's Jazz FM until 2004. He was also a contributor to the London station LBC when it was taken over by Chrysalis.
He has worked widely in British radio and television, generating content mainly related to music, films, and the arts. He narrated the BBC Radio adaptation of Espedair Street, the Iain Banks novel. He co-authored The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles.
In 1982 he helped to launch the career of the pop group Kajagoogoo. He came out as a gay man during the 1980s and has been a high-profile fundraiser and supporter for gay-related charities. In 1995, he was named Philanthropist of the Year by the National Charity Fundraisers, for his work on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust. He received the Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio award from the Radio Academy in 1996. He has presented the Ivor Novello Awards for 11 years.
Gambaccini has been a fan of comic books from an early age. He had fan letters printed in editions of titles such as Justice League of America from the 1960s, and still retains an interest in comics fandom to the present day. A recurring character in The Flash, Paul Gambi, was based on his physical appearance and slightly modified name. Gambi was a tailor who produced the colourful costumes worn by the villains who fought The Flash. Gambaccini regularly visits comic conventions, including the Comics Festival, now called the Comic Expo. For a brief period in the 1990s he co-owned a comic shop in London with Jonathan Ross in the same location as the original Forbidden Planet shop.
In 2000 he also co-wrote a musical about a comic book superhero called The Ultimate Man.
Gambaccini now presents his weekly America's Greatest Hits show on BBC Radio 2 and contributes to various publications. He lives in the Southbank area of London.
In 1995, he was named Philanthropist of the Year by the National Charity Fundraisers for his work on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust. He is patron of the London Gay Symphony Orchestra. In 2010, he won an episode of celebrity Mastermind, with his chosen charity benefactor being Stonewall.
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