David Attenborough is popularly known as a mandarin in the broadcast media and a naturalist cum conservationist. He is also a husband and a father. He was married to late Elizabeth Oriel and with her had two children, Robert and Susan. David’s love for nature drove him to become a naturalist and a wildlife documentary producer.
Some of his famous documentaries on natural history include Life On Earth, David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef, Frozen Planet, Nature’s Great Event and so on. He built his career in the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) London, where he served zealously and made several landmark achievements.
Biography: How Old Is David Attenborough?
David Attenborough was born Sir David Frederick Attenborough in Isleworth, Middlesex, London. He is the second child of Academia Frederick Attenborough and Mary Cregg. He was born on the 8th of May 1926. He is a brother to Richard Attenborough, a producer and director at BBC and John Attenborough, a top executive at an Italian car company. However, both of his brothers are now late.
He grew up on the campus of the University College of Leicester, which his father headed as its principal. He attended Wygeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester for his basic education and as a result of his love for and dedication to nature, he got a scholarship to study at Clare College, Cambridge. There, he studied zoology and geology and upon graduation was called to serve in the Royal Navy. His hopes that his call to the Navy will pave a way for him to see the world were dashed as he was posted to a ship in North Wales.
As a young child, David was already fascinated by nature. At the age of 7, he had collected and assembled bird eggs, fossils, stones, and natural specimen to have his own “museum” to the admiration of many. At 11, when he found out that the zoology department of the campus where he lived needed newts, he offered to supply them through his father which he eventually did.
A notable experience that bolstered David’s interest in nature was a 1963 lecture by Grey Owl at De Montfort Hall, Leicester. The lecture was centered on the conservation of nature and how mankind was endangering the ecosystem. It was reported that the theme of that lecture remains an essential credo of David to this day.
The zoologist turned Navy officer later found himself as an editor soon after he left the Navy. David was in charge of editing children science textbooks for a publishing firm, however, a short while after, David no longer found satisfaction in this job. As a result, decided to apply for a job as a radio top producer and he was rejected but the set back became a breakthrough as his CV attracted the attention of the head of Talks (factual broadcasting) department of the BBC television service, Mary Adams.
Adams offered David a three months training course in her department and in 1952, David fully joined the BBC. At the onset, David declined to appear in front of the camera due to his notion that he had big teeth. He, therefore, concentrated more behind the camera and became a producer at the Talks department. His early productions included programmes such as Animal, Vegetable, and Minerals? and Song Hunter.
David Attenborough’s association with natural history programmes began soon after his early non-fictional films. His first nature related programme, produced and presented by him was a three series documentary called Animal Patterns. Through this programme, David met Jack Luster, the creator of the Reptile House. Together they decided to make a series about an animal collecting expedition, which gave birth to the programme Zoo quest. It was first broadcasted in 1954 with David as a presenter.
He went from producer to head his own department and later became controller still working with the BBC. As controller, he archived a lot for the corporation and made changes that improved the company’s overall performance. One of such changes was the instituting of a variety of programmes on BBC 2 that defined the channel’s identity for decades.
In 1969, David Attenborough was promoted to Director of Programmes. This came with loftier responsibilities as it put him in charge of the output of both BBC channels.
Despite his success recorded in the BBC, he resigned in the year 1973 to return to full-time programme-making of natural history documentary. After his retirement, David became a freelancer broadcaster and produced a lot of documentaries and series around the world on natural history and wildlife. Some of which include: Life on Earth, Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives, The First Eden, Attenborough’s Journey, First Life among so many others.
Recently, he featured as one of the presenters of BBC Radio 4’s Tweet Of The Day which it began on September 2014. More recently in 2018, David became the narrator of a five-part series called Dynasties and is scheduled to narrate another eight-part documentary series titled Our Planet in 2019.
Awards and Recognitions
David Attenborough’s contribution to broadcasting and nature filmmaking has brought him international recognition. This recognition has led to various prestigious awards, honorary titles as well as styles and honors. He was once described as the greatest broadcaster of our time. He has also been a source of inspiration and has influenced a generation of nature and wildlife filmmakers.
Among a variety of awards he has won the BAFTA Desmond Davis award (1970), Royal Geographical Society Cherry Kearton Medal and Award (1972), Command Of The Order of The British Empire (CBE) for services to nature conservation in the 1974 Birthday Honours BAFTA fellowship (1980) Kew International Media (1996) and so on.
The media personality has had an amazing and illustrious career in broadcasting since the early 1900’s; therefore it comes as no surprise that he is worth much. David Attenborough is worth a whopping sum of £35 million.
Who is David Attenborough’s Wife? Kids
David married Elizabeth Jane Ebsworth Oriel in 1950. They were married for 47 years until she died of a brain haemorrhage in 1997. Elizebeth was from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales and little is known about their love life and marriage. The only sure fact is that she had two children for David – Susan and Robert.
Little is also known about the dates of birth or childhood of their children, only that both Susan and Robert are presently in their 50’s. Robert is a senior lecturer who teaches bioanthropology in the school of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra, while Susan was once the headmistress of a primary school.
In an interview with Louise Theroux, David admitted that his only regret was not being around to see his children grow due to his many travels.