Piers Morgan: highlights of an inexplicably glittering career

Dec 20, 2011
Tim Edwards

From Bizarre to CNN via marriage to Celia Walden, the former tabloid editor who always comes up trumps

PIERS MORGAN will go before the Leveson inquiry into media ethics today, but unlike fellow former tabloid journalists such as Alastair Campbell, he won't be attending in person. Instead, Morgan, formerly editor of the Daily Mirror, and now host of a prime time talk show on CNN, will appear via videolink from the United States.

Here are a few little nuggets you might not know about Piers Morgan - or may have conveniently forgotten.

1. Before the drama earlier this year which saw the closure of the News of the World, tabloid editors weren't fired nearly as often as readers might thing. Yet Morgan managed to get himself sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 after he published faked photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.

2. Piers Morgan ran two national newspapers, the Daily Mirror and the News of the World, and ended up taking over the Larry King slot at CNN. Yet his credentials were questionable: he was writing showbiz gossip for the Sun's Bizarre column when, at the tender age of 28, Rupert Murdoch gave him the News of the World to edit. Piers was the first in a line of Bizarre alumni to go on to edit red tops. Others are Andy Coulson, who lost his job at the NotW over phone hacking. and Dominic Mohan, who still edits the Sun.

3. To the shock of journalists - among them her father, the former Tory minister and long-time Daily Telegraph writer George Walden - Morgan became involved with Celia Walden.  When news of their romance became public, Celia reportedly said: "Eventually, it seemed easier to go out with him than not." They married in 2010 and announced the birth of their first child last month.

4. Nobody quite believed it when the news was leaked that Morgan would be taking over from the respected veteran Larry King at CNN. To Brits he was a tabloid editor who had resigned in disgrace. To Americans, he was a panellist on the Simon Cowell reality show America's Got Talent. A year on, CNN seems largely vindicated, with Morgan managing to increase his ratings by nine per cent and reach a younger audience than King.

5. In 2006, Morgan wrote a story for the Daily Mail in which he described an incident when he was editor of the Daily Mirror: "At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul [McCartney] had left for Heather [Mills] on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang We Can Work It Out into the answerphone." Media watchers will be interested to hear him expand further on this anecdote at the Leveson Inquiry today.

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