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Veteran British DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile dies

By Bryony Jones, CNN
October 29, 2011 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Veteran British radio DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile cut a distinctive figure, with cigar, tracksuit and chunky jewelry.
Veteran British radio DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile cut a distinctive figure, with cigar, tracksuit and chunky jewelry.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jimmy Savile entertained generations of British children on TV and radio
  • Best known for 'Top of the Pops' and 'Jim'll Fix It'
  • 'Jim'll Fix It' saw him grant wishes of children who wrote in to show
  • Colorful character famous for chunky jewelry, tracksuits and cigars

CNN (CNN) -- Veteran DJ and TV personality Jimmy Savile, who entertained generations of British children on television and radio, has died at the age of 84.

Savile was one of the most recognizable figures in British showbiz from the 1960s to the 1980s, presenting shows on BBC TV and radio.

He was the first host of the BBC's hugely popular "Top of the Pops" music show, and his own program, "Jim'll Fix It," ran for almost 20 years.

The show saw him helping to grant the wishes of hundreds of children, "fixing it" for them to take part in episodes of their favorite TV shows, sing with chart-topping bands, and meet their heroes.

In the most famous "fix," he arranged for an entire Cub Scout troop to eat their lunch on a roller-coaster as it sped around its track -- with predictably messy results.

At the height of its popularity, the BBC says, "Jim'll Fix It" attracted up to 20,000 letters a week.

A colorful character, Savile was as well known for his bright tracksuits, chunky jewelry and cigars as he was for his catchphrases: "Now then, now then," and "How's about that then?" which were much copied by impressionists.

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, said he was "very sad" to hear of Savile's death.

"From 'Top of the Pops' to 'Jim'll Fix It,' Jimmy's unique style entertained generations of BBC audiences. Like millions of viewers and listeners, we shall miss him greatly."

Savile was also well known for his fund-raising efforts, and ran several marathons for charity. He was awarded a knighthood for his charitable work.

Savile's body was found at his home in Leeds, northern England, on Saturday. Police were called to the scene, but said they were not treating his death as suspicious.

UK media reports said he had recently been hospitalized suffering from pneumonia.

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