Steven Fry recounts Cambridge days to festival audience

Tuesday May 26, 2009

Twitter-happy Steven Fry had a fond memory to share with the audience at the Hay on Wye literature festival this week - for which he was rewarded with a pale pink rose. 

The actor and presenter, whose travels across the States were televised last year, shared an anecdote about when, as head of Cambridge's drama society, he met American broadcasting legend Alistair Cooke.  

When Steven was organising the club's 50th anniversary party in 1980 he discovered it had been founded by former student Alistair. So he wrote and invited the New York-based broadcaster to come along. To his surprise Alistair made the trip across the Atlantic, and agreed to make a speech.

The pair hit it off at the event and when Alistair went to leave handed Stephen, then 23, what appeared to be a note. Later he was stunned to discover he'd actually been slipped a cheque for £5,000 with the instruction: "Only to be spent on parties".

Photo: © Rex

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