A working class hero is something to be
Having worked with a host of big names, from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to O.J. Simpson, Simon Cowell, Jade Goody and, currently, Imogen Thomas, he is one of the best-known PR men in the world, famous for breaking some of the biggest stories in newspaper history – and also for successfully suppressing ones that were ready to dominate the headlines. But behind the high level jousting with the hardened bootboys of the British media (and the decent types too), Max Clifford is a remarkeably straightforward and down to earth working class character, who – as it turns out – loves the life he lives.
Olaf Tyaransen, 15 Jun 2011
Are they friends as well?
Nah. Well, sometimes. Simon (Cowell) and I are quite good friends. I’ve got good friends involved in the hospices and serious things.
How about someone like Jade Goody?
Jade was lovely. I was only looking after Jade for a year. She came to me about a year before she died when she was the most unpopular woman in Britian, just about, after Big Brother and all that racist business. But because I knew her slightly, and Shilpa Shetty was one of my clients and I knew that Jade wasn’t a racist, I was happy to take her on. I told her we could change this if she followed my lead, and she did. And tragically cancer came along, but I think in that year… when she died she had a funeral which was probably the biggest thing since Princess Diana. Thousands and thousands of people from all over Britian cheering her and crying and whatever. It was a worldwide thing. And also in terms of cervical cancer, she achieved a lot. She also put everything in place for her little boys, so that they would have the security and the education that she never had. It was an amazing year, a very tragic year, but also a triumphant year because she achieved so many of the things she wanted, in such a short space of time. And the legacy of Jade Goody, in terms of cervical cancer, she achieved what the medical profession and the politicians couldn’t achieve in ten years. In three or four months, she achieved what they couldn’t, all over the world. We were very close. She actually was at one stage in the same room at The Royal Marsden [Hospital] where my wife died a few years ago. So it was a very emotional time, and I had a tremendous amount of admiration for her personally. She was a lovely girl.
Are you an emotional type generally?
No, not at all.
When was the last time you cried?
[Pauses] When my wife died. That was eight
That happened very suddenly, didn’t it?
Yeah, it was all very quick, about six months or something. I have my moments. I’m a patron for children’s hospices and I go there and see the
You do have a soft side, then.
I don’t think that’s soft. Look, there’s nothing hard about me. Never has been. But I don’t cry a lot. I laugh a lot, when I’m with friends. I have some very good friends, nothing to do with the business or anything like that.
Are they old friends?
Yeah, some of them from school days. Some of them lads I played football and water polo with. Some I just got to know over the last ten, fifteen years. But none of them in the business.