Sixties Caroline dj Simon Dee is terminally ill with bone cancer and friends say he has just days to live. Dee, 74, was admitted to hospital near his Hampshire home in recent weeks. His condition has deteriorated and it is understood that his cancer is so advanced that it is beyond treatment. In his brief but glittering heyday, his twice-weekly chat show Dee Time, with US-style opening catchphrase “It’s S-i-i-i-i-i-mon Dee”, regularly attracted 18 million viewers and earned him £100,000 annually. John Lennon, Charlton Heston, Sammy Davis Jr and Bob Hope were among his guests. He compered Miss World, appeared on Juke Box Jury and Top of the Pops and helped launch offshore station Radio Caroline. But he fell from grace dramatically in rows over his huge salary demands. Having alienated both BBC and ITV, Dee simply disappeared. He signed on for unemployment benefit at the Fulham labour exchange and, unable to revive his showbusiness career, took a job as a bus driver.
He also had several court appearances and, in 1974, served 28 days in Pentonville prison for non-payment of rates on his former Chelsea home. Every time he left his cell, inmates shouted: “It’s S-i-i-i-i-i-mon Dee!”. He moved to a tiny one-bedroom flat at Hyde in Winchester 15 years ago.
Tom Romita, a friend who runs a newsagents and cafe in the city, said: “Simon is terminally ill. He’s got days left. He has got bone cancer and it is well advanced.
“It’s very sad, he has been a very good customer here over the years and he’s a very likeable chap.
Another friend, John Harding, said: “Simon is a much-loved character.
“There’s a network of people visiting him and he is being very brave.”
Roger Backhouse QC, who is close to the fallen star, said: “Simon is being amazingly strong. His mind is not gone and he is still fun to be with.
“He is bearing himself in a very composed and dignified manner.
“He’s never ever shown any rancour or bitterness about his fall from grace. He’s an old-fashioned gent who never has a word of regret or sourness.”
Earlier this summer, in his first interview for 20 years, Dee said: “Sadly, honesty and intelligence have vanished from national TV.”
He insisted he had no regrets. “If you change your past, you change your present. It’s all been enlightening and as a girlfriend said the other day, ‘You’ve still got your hair’.”