Robin Leach, who chronicled the conspicuous consumption of the 1980s on his syndicated show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” has died.
He was 76.
The cause of death wasn’t announced, but the New York Daily News said Leach had been hospitalized since November, when he suffered a stroke in the Mexican resort city of Cabo San Lucas.
Leach’s sons, Steven, Gregg and Rick Leach announced the death to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which the journalist wrote for after he moved to the city in 1999.
The family’s official statement read:
Despite the past 10 months, what a beautiful life he had. Our Dad, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle and friend Robin Leach passed away peacefully last night at 1:50 a.m. Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful. Memorial arrangements to follow.
Born in London on Aug. 29, 1941, Leach began his journalism career at the age of 10 when he began contributing stories about his school to the editor of the local newspaper, The Harrow Observer.
He did well enough to be hired full time at the age of 15, according to the Review-Journal. From there, he moved on to publications like the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and Ladies’ Home Journal. He also wrote the first 11 cover stories for People magazine.
Leach moved into TV in 1980, first at CNN, then joining “Entertainment Tonight” when that show debuted in 1981.
But he became a 1980s icon in 1984 when “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” debuted in syndication.
For 11 years, Leach documented the lavish lifestyles and luxury destinations of top celebrities, ending each show with the send-off, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
Leach moved to Las Vegas in 1999, where he continued writing about luxury, while living a relatively modest existence by his show’s standards.
He told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016:
I [live] very comfortably in Las Vegas, five minutes from The Strip. I don’t live in a mega mansion. I am not like the people I interview. I do not have a fleet of bodyguards or minders around me. I have an accountant and lawyer; I don’t have a manager. I do all my business by myself and I shop at the supermarket by myself because I enjoy it. There’s a Lincoln in the garage and a Jaguar in the garage. There aren’t 48 or 50 cars in the garage. I go to Europe once a year for vacation. It’s been a good life, and it’s always been a good life.
But while he made his name as a celebrity journalist, Leach had other interests as well, namely UFOs.
“It’s something that’s interested me from way back when in England as a newspaper reporter,” he told HuffPost in 2011. “And a good friend of mine, Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, has told me stories of astronauts coming back to Earth reporting UFOs.
“Now, UFOs don’t necessarily mean little green men in Martian suits,” he continued. “But there are things that go in space, up there in the sky, that cannot be explained.”
Leach’s celebrity friends took to Twitter on Friday to pay tribute: