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Alistair Cooke's America
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Alistair Cooke enjoyed an extraordinary life in print, radio and television. Born in Manchester in 1908 and educated at Cambridge, Yale and Harvard, he was the BBC's film critic from 1934 to 1937. He then returned to America and became a US citizen in 1941. Cooke was the Guardian's Senior Correspondent in New York for twenty-five years and the host of groundbreaking cultural programmes on American TV and of the BBC series America, which was a huge hit and led to the international bestselling book Alistair Cooke's America (deemed so valuable that copies were put in every US public library). Cooke was made an honorary KBE in 1973 for his outstanding contribution to Anglo-American mutual understanding, and received many other awards including the Peabody Award, the Dimbleby Award, four Emmy Awards and the Benjamin Franklin Award. He had a passion for films, jazz and golf, and was a talented pianist. Alistair Cooke was, however, best known at home and abroad for his weekly BBC broadcast 'Letter from America', which reported on fifty-eight years of US life, was heard over five continents and totalled 2,869 broadcasts before his retirement in February 2004. He wrote many of these scripts in his New York apartment overlooking Central Park, where he brought up his family and lived with his wife Jane White until his death on 30 March 2004.

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