Robin Leach, the veteran entertainment journalist best known for his work on TV's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, died early Friday morning. He was 76.
Leach had been hospitalized since Nov. 21 after suffering a stroke in Cabo San Lucas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where Leach worked as a celebrity columnist.
"Sad to report the death of famed celeb reporter, friend and colleague #RobinLeach @ 1:50 a.m. in #LasVegas. He would have been 77 Wednesday. He suffered a second stroke Monday. He in hospice care. He'd been hospitalized since Nov. 21, after suffering a stroke in Cabo San Lucas," announced columnist John Katsilometes on Twitter.
"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.," said the family in a statement. "Everyone’s support and love over the past, almost one year, has been incredible and we are so grateful. Memorial arrangements to follow."
Leach joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2016 as an entertainment columnist to beef up the newspaper's celebrity and lifestyle coverage across all platforms. "I look at it as a challenge. It's another [opportunity] to make something out of thin air. I'll work as many hours as necessary. I've never shied away from hard work," Leach told The Hollywood Reporter at the time of his hopes about making an impact on new media. "When there is opportunity to do better at what you've been doing with new tools at your disposal, that becomes really exciting."
The London native gave viewers a glimpse of those with "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, which aired in syndication from 1984-95.
"The more eye-popping and outrageous, the better," Leach told Askmen.com in 2007. "We wanted to make your mouth drop. That was the main effect. One picture was worth a thousand words, so if you had more pictures, the less you would have to say."
He also was an early investor in the Food Network.
Born on Aug. 29, 1941, Leach wrote for The Harrow Observer while he was attending the Harrow County School for Boys, earning $6 a week at the newspaper after he graduated. He went on to become the youngest editor at London's Daily Mail at 18, then wrote for the New York Daily News, Ladies' Home Journal, People and The Star after moving to the U.S. in 1963.
"I wanted no other job than to work in newspapers," he told the Las Vegas Sun in 2011. "I was fascinated by the process of collecting information, talking to people and having the story appear in a paper that would be delivered in your letterbox."
After appearing on CNN and helping to launch the syndicated Entertainment Tonight news show, Leach co-created Lifestyles with producer Al Masini. The program helped usher in the era of celebrity-focused reality series and culture.
Leach parlayed his fame into appearances in such films as She-Devil (1989) and Free Money (1998) and on TV programs like Hotel and A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle.