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Gossip Gadfly Nigel Dempster Dead

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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BOSS OF GLOSS Dempster, with Tina Brown (Photo: Getty images) Dapper Fleet Streeter, audacious mischief-maker, gossip column forerunner, royal chronicler, witty tippler, and Pekingese owner Nigel Dempster will now be filing from the Great Beyond.

As Posh and Becks invaded the U.S. last week, Britons quietly mourned their late king of gossip, whom papers credited with inventing high-society gossip and being the most famous newspaperman of his generation. Tina Brown referred to him reverently as the "the boss of gloss." The British press toasted a career of scoops while the BBC springboarded off his passing into an examination of the gossip culture he helped create.

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A longtime beneficiary of the road trod by the all-seeing Dempster, Page Six's Richard Johnson tells Radar: "He was senile the last few years and relatively broke. My friend Taki Theodoracopulos paid for his care." Of the writer's legendary wit and humor, Johnson recalls Dempster's book about Christina Onassis, Heiress. "He drew great laughs by introducing Luis Basualdo, the South America gigolo who supposedly earned $100,000 every time he slept with the heiress. He even jokingly accused the laughing Basualdo of her murder."

Dempster was 65.

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