Patrick Gordon Campbell, 3rd Baron Glenavy, Irish journalist, humorist and television personality, is born in Dublin on June 6, 1913. He writes sixteen books, including Life in Thin Slices, Rough Husbandry, and How to Become a Scratch Golfer.
Campbell is the first son of Charles Campbell, 2nd Baron Glenavy, and Beatrice, Lady Glenavy (the artist Beatrice Elvery). He is educated Crawley’s preparatory school (St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin), Castle Park preparatory school (Dalkey), Rossall School (Lancashire), and, briefly, Pembroke College, Oxford. He leaves Oxford without completing his degree. In 1935, he is taken on by The Irish Times by R. M. “Bertie” Smyllie and reports on “Courts Day by Day.” During World War II, he serves as a chief petty officer in the Irish Marine Service. After the war he re-joins The Irish Times, using the pseudonym “Quidnunc,” and is given charge of the column “Irishman’s Diary.” He has a weekly column for the Irish edition of the Sunday Dispatch before working on the paper in London from 1947 to 1949. He is assistant editor of Lilliput from 1947 to 1953. His writings also appear in The Sunday Times.
Campbell’s books, mostly collections of humorous pieces that were originally published in newspapers and magazines, include A Long Drink of Cold Water (1949), A Short Trot with a Cultured Mind (1950), An Irishman’s Diary (1950), Life in Thin Slices (1951), Patrick Campbell’s Omnibus (1954), Come Here Till I Tell You (1960), Constantly in Pursuit (1962), How to Become a Scratch Golfer (1963), Brewing Up in the Basement (1963), Rough Husbandry (1965), The P-P-Penguin Patrick Campbell (1965), All Ways on Sundays (1966), A Bunch of New Roses (1967), an autobiography My Life and Easy Times (1967), The Coarse of Events (1968), Gullible Travels (1969), The High Speed Gasworks (1970), Waving All Excuses (1971), Patrick Campbell’s Golfing Book (1972), Fat Tuesday Tails (1972), 35 Years on the Job (1973), and The Campbell Companion (1987). Many of his books are illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Campbell is married three times, first in 1941 to Sylvia Alfreda Willoughby Lee, whom he divorces in 1947. He then marries Chery Louise Munro in 1947. The two divorce in 1966, the year he marries Vivienne Orme.
Campbell speaks with a stammer, but nevertheless delights television audiences with his wit, notably as a regular team captain on the long-running show Call My Bluff, opposite his longtime friend, Frank Muir. Muir notes that “When he was locked solid by a troublesome initial letter he would show his frustration by banging his knee and muttering ‘Come along! Come along!'” Some of his funniest short stories describe incidents involving his stammer. He stands six feet five inches tall, and several of his funniest pieces deal with the problems faced by a man of his build in merely finding shoes or clothes that fit him. He also makes regular appearances in That Was The Week That Was.
Campbell lives for many years in the South of France, commuting to England for his television work and continuing to produce his weekly column in The Sunday Times, which he drops in 1978.
In 1972 a period of illness leads to the discovery that Campbell had suffered an undetected heart attack some years previously and has a permanent heart weakness. An attack of viral pneumonia in 1980 exacerbates this condition, and he dies suddenly on November 9, 1980 while talking to a nurse at University College Hospital, London. He is succeeded as the 4th and last Lord Glenavy by his novelist brother Michael.