Sir Jimmy Savile OBE KCSG was an English DJ, television presenter, media personality and charity fundraiser who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death in 2011. Savile made a name for himself as the host of BBC shows such as “Jim’ll Fix It” (1975–1994) and “Top of The Pops” (1964–1984). Jimmy released the single “Ahab the Arab” in 1962, and he published the books “As it Happens” (1974) and “God’ll Fix It” (1979).
Savile was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (1972), a Knight Bachelor (1990), and a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (1990). Although he was renowned for fundraising and supporting numerous charities, he was actually one of the most prolific sexual offenders in Britain.
Just one year after Jimmy’s death, hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse and rape came to light. Netflix released the two-part documentary “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story” in April 2022.
Jimmy Savile was born James Wilson Vincent Savile on October 31, 1926, in Burley, Leeds, England. Jimmy grew up in a Roman Catholic household during the Great Depression with mother Agnes, father Vincent (an insurance agent and bookmaker’s clerk), and older siblings Mary, John, Vincent, Joan, Marjory, and Christina. Savile attended St Anne’s Roman Catholic School, and after dropping out of school at age 14, he took a job at an office. During World War II, 18-year-old Jimmy was conscripted to work in coal mines as a Bevin Boy, and his spine was injured during a shot-firer’s explosion, resulting in Savile spending three years wearing a steel corset. He later found work as a scrap metal dealer. In the early ’40s, Jimmy began playing records at dance halls, and he claimed to be the world’s first DJ, saying that no one used two turntables and a microphone before he did it at the 1947 Grand Records Ball. He was also an athlete, and he told “The Guardian” in 2000, “I’ve done over 300 professional bike races, 212 marathons and 107 pro fights. No wrestler wanted to go back home and say a long-haired disc jockey had put him down. So from start to finish I got a good hiding. I’ve broken every bone in my body. I loved it.” In the ’50s and ’60s, Savile managed Manchester’s Plaza Ballroom, Leeds’ Mecca Locarno ballroom, and Essex’s Palais dance hall. While living in Essex, an executive from Decca Records discovered him.
From 1958 to 1968, Savile was a DJ at Radio Luxembourg, and by the end of his time there, six million people were listening to his Saturday program. He joined Radio 1 in 1968 and hosted “Savile’s Travels” on Sundays. He also hosted “Jimmy Savile’s Old Record Club” and “Speakeasy” before moving to the BBC World Service in 1987. There, Jimmy hosted “The Vintage Chart Show” until 1989, then he hosted programs on various U.K. radio stations until 1997. He first appeared on television in 1960, as the host of the music show “Young at Heart,” which aired on Tyne Tees Television. On January 1st, 1964, he began hosting the new BBC music chart series “Top of the Pops,” and he stayed in the role until 1984, then returned for shows on December 31, 1988, October 19, 2001, September 19, 2003, and July 30, 2006. Savile co-hosted the New Musical Express Poll Winners’ Concert with Pete Murray in the early ’60s, and he hosted the BBC/ZDF program “Pop Go the Sixties” in 1969.
Jimmy promoted road safety in public information films such as “Clunk Click Every Trip,” which led to his own chat/variety show, “Clunk, Click,” in 1973. From 1975 to 1994, he hosted “Jim’ll Fix It,” and in 1977, he was honored by the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association for his “wholesome family entertainment.” Savile was the subject of Thames Television’s “This Is Your Life” in January 1970 and December 1990, and he was featured in the Louis Theroux documentary series “When Louis Met…” in April 2000. In the documentary, Theroux brought up rumors of paedophilia, and Savile responded, “We live in a very funny world. And it’s easier for me, as a single man, to say ’I don’t like children,’ because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.” In 2007, he revived “Jim’ll Fix It,” starring in “Jim’ll Fix It Strikes Again,” and in 2012, it was alleged that he had sexually abused some of the children who had participated in the original series.
It is believed that Savile raised around £40 million for charity during his lifetime for organizations such as the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and St Francis Ward. He volunteered at Broadmoor Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary, and in 2012, it was reported that patients of Broadmoor Hospital and Stoke Mandeville Hospital had accused him of sexual abuse. At both of those hospitals, Jimmy had his own room, and he had a set of keys to the Broadmoor hospital wards. Savile founded the charities Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust and Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust, but they both shut down in 2012 during the sexual abuse scandal after distributing their funds to other non-profit organizations. Jimmy was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Mensa, and he was appointed a life member of the British Gypsy Council. He was a lifelong bachelor who lived with his mother, and after her death in 1972, he kept her bedroom exactly the way it was while she was alive and had her clothing dry cleaned once a year.
Sexual Abuse Allegations
Allegations of child abuse were occasionally made against Savile during his life, but they were not widely publicized until after he died. In 2012, the chairman of the charity Children in Need, Sir Roger Jones, stated that he had banned Jimmy, who he referred to as “creepy,” from working with the charity in the early 2000s. After Savile’s death, the BBC program “Newsnight” began investigating reports that he had committed sexual assault, and victims alleged that Jimmy had abused them at the BBC, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and at a school for girls. The show also discovered that Savile had been investigated by Surrey Police for allegations of abuse, and they planned to air their report about Jimmy on December 7, 2011, but it was withdrawn before it went to air. In October 2012, ITV aired the documentary “The Other Side of Jimmy Savile,” which featured the allegations of several women who said that Savile had raped or molested them in the ’60s and ’70s. The airing of the documentary led to more reports surfacing, and within a month, 14 U.K. police forces were pursuing an astounding 400 lines of inquiry. The following month, police announced that 450 victims had come forward with allegations against Savile and that “82% were female and 80% were children or young people.” A former nurse at Broadmoor Hospital alleged that Jimmy engaged in necrophilia in the Leeds General Infirmary mortuary and that the mortician (reportedly his best friend) gave him “regular unsupervised access” to the mortuary.
Health and Death
In August 1997, Jimmy underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery, an operation that he’d needed for several years. On October 29, 2011, Savile was found dead at his Leeds home at the age of 84. He had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia, and his nephew, Roger Foster, stated that Jimmy had “passed away quietly in his sleep during the night.” The day before Savile’s funeral, approximately 4,000 people paid tribute at Leeds’ Queen Hotel, where his “satin gold coffin [was] on display next to the last cigar he ever smoked and his two ’This Is Your Life’ books.” His funeral was held at Leeds Cathedral on November 9th, and he was laid to rest at Scarborough’s Woodlands Cemetery with his coffin surrounded by concrete “as a security measure.” In July 2012, some of Jimmy’s possessions were auctioned off, and the proceeds were donated to charity. His Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible sold for £130,000. Savile’s estate was estimated to be worth around £4 million, and National Westminster Bank froze the estate because of the possibility that some of his accusers might make claims for damages. After several expenses were charged to Jimmy’s estate, about £3.3 million was left to compensate his victims.
Awards and Honours
Jimmy received the Cross of Merit of the Order pro merito Melitensi and was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists during his lifetime. Some of his honours were withdrawn due to the sexual abuse allegations, such as his honorary doctorates from the University of Leeds and University of Bedfordshire. In 2005, Savile was appointed a Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough, and the honour was revoked in 2012. A statue of Jimmy at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre and a memorial plaque on his former Scarborough home were removed, and Savile’s Hall at Leeds’ Royal Armouries Museum was renamed New Dock Hall. Several of the honours bestowed on Jimmy automatically ceased upon his death, so those were not withdrawn.
|Net Worth:||$10 Million|
|Date of Birth:||1926-10-31|
|Height:||5 ft 8 in (1.74 m)|
|Profession:||Presenter, Disc jockey, Radio personality|