Working Life: The secret of mu success - Max Clifford

PR SUPREMO and spin doctor extraordinaire Max Clifford has, in recent years, looked after clients such as OJ Simpson, David Mellor's ex-lover Antonia da Sancha, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali and pregnant Mandy Allwood.

"I left school at 15 with no qualifications, and got a job on the Merton & Morden News as a trainee reporter. The sports editor was keen on water polo, which I played, and he got me to do reports on matches I was playing. Of course, I gave myself a wonderful write-up.

"Then I started a music column, which brought me into contact with record companies, and was offered a job by Syd Gillingham, chief press officer at EMI. Within a few weeks, I was given an unknown band to help launch. They were called The Beatles.

"I was lucky - it was the right time and the right place. We went on to launch Motown, as well as promoting Cliff Richard, The Beach Boys and Nat King Cole. When Syd left to form his own company I went with him, and, after a couple of years, I went out on my own. It happened naturally; it was never planned.

"PR today is quite different - my daughter has just finished a PR and Communications degree at Bournemouth University. I don't suppose it existed 15 years ago. What I realised early, is that if you have stars you can attract attention. Think what Princess Diana did for landmines.

"You see people destroying themselves in public and wish you could give them a bit of advice. I feel sorry for Anthea Turner; she's been badly advised in my view. And it's a shame David Beckham didn't go on TV to apologise instead of disappearing after the World Cup.

"My passport describes me as a PR consultant, which covers a multitude of sins. I'd hate to give it up after all these years, and get a real job."

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