Renowned for his hellraising antics, white haired and craggy faced Fergus Cashin was one of Fleet Street’s most famous showbiz reporters. During his 30-year career for the national newspapers he was a sub-editor, showbusiness columnist, theatre and film critic and he worked for the Daily Express, the Daily Sketch and The Sun. Keith Waterhouse memorably described him as “the original legend in his own lunchtime”.
Before going into journalism, Cashin was an army officer. He wed the former fiancee of comedian Eric Morecambe and after the marriage crumbled in 1979, he lived for a brief period with fellow hellraiser Oliver Reed.
He was the first showbiz reporter with The Sun but was fired in 1975 for punching the editor Sir Larry Lamb, who strode into a bar and threatened to sack him for not writing an article.
A great friend of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, he wrote an acclaimed biography of Burton in 1971 with John Cottrell. Keith Waterhouse remembered Cashin silencing a Fleet Street pub by announcing loudly: “Liz Taylor quite fancied me but she showed me her tits and they were covered in pimples.” During his days on the Daily Sketch, he once propositioned the actress Diana Rigg.
Cashin also wrote a controversial biography of Mae West in 1981, in which he suggested that West had been born a man.
He died on October 4 at a hospice in Surrey, aged 81.