Skip to main content

Magnússon, Magnús 1929-2007

Magnússon, Magnús 1929-2007

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born October 12, 1929, in Reykjavik, Iceland; died of cancer, January 7, 2007. Broadcaster, journalist, and author. A respected journalist, translator, and host of history documentaries, Magnússon was best remembered as the longtime host of the quiz show Mastermind. He moved from his native Iceland to Scotland as a student and attended the Edinburgh Academy. He then studied at Jesus College, Oxford, where he earned a B.A. in English and attended graduate courses in Old Norse literature for two years. Before completing a second degree, however, Magnússon decided to take a reporting job with the Scottish Daily Express in 1953. He remained there until 1961, when he joined the Scotsman as chief feature writer and assistant editor. By the late 1960s, Magnússon was becoming fascinated with television. He hosted a number of documentary programs with the British Broadcasting Corp., most notably for the program Chronicle. Magnússon would consider his work for Chronicle on such topics as Norse and biblical history to be his best work. However, he was even better known as the dignified and fair host of the quiz show Mastermind, on which he appeared from 1972 until 1997. A formal affair in which contestants sat in a black leather chair and had a spotlight shone on them while Magnússon gave them two minutes to answer questions, Mastermind proved tremendously popular through much of its run. Repeated changes in scheduling caused ratings to decline in its final years. After he left the show, Magnússon organized reunions of the Mastermind Club; he also published a history of the show, I've Started, So I'll Finish: The Story of Mastermind (1997), the main title stemming from his famous catch phrase on the program. Magnússon's legacy does not hinge on his game show alone, however. He was a respected scholar of his native Iceland, as well as a translator. In addition, he was critically praised for his writings about Scotland, the land he adopted. He came to love Scotland, and Magnússon served as chair of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland from 1981 to 1989 and of the Scottish Natural Heritage during the 1990s. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he was also a rector of Edinburgh University from 1975 to 1978 and, beginning in 2000, chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University. Among his many books are Viking Expansion Westwards (1973), Iceland (1979), Iceland Saga (1987), and Scotland: The Story of a Nation (2000). Also an active birder who was a former president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Magnússon was appointed an honorary Knight of the British Empire in 1989. His scholarly accomplishments were further recognized in 1978, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University, and again in 1981 when York University presented him with a second doctorate.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Times (London, England), January 9, 2007, p. 47.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Magnússon, Magnús 1929-2007." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Magnússon, Magnús 1929-2007." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/magnusson-magnus-1929-2007

"Magnússon, Magnús 1929-2007." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved September 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/magnusson-magnus-1929-2007

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.