Tributes to Fleet Street photographer who made his name covering 1980s glitterati, the late Gabor Scott

Fleet Street photographer Gabor Scott who chronicled the new romantic pop scene in the 1980s and once pictured Prince Harry giving him 'the finger' has died aged 65.

His friend Richard Brecker, co-founder of the Upfront talent booking agency and a former Sunday Mirror reporter, said: “There will never be another like him. Eccentric, infuriating, lovable and always late.”

Singer Boy George messaged his 309,000 Followers on Twitter: “Sad news that London Snapper Gabor has passed away! He was a familiar and much-loved face on the London club scene for years !!! R.I.P.”

Entertainment PR David Burns said: “He'd always be late and always ask who people were but most importantly you always knew that he'd be there at some point in the evening. He was an odd one but I really liked him.”

Scott was house photographer at the Camden Palace, one of London’s most fashionable clubs in the 1980s, and chronicled the nocturnal antics of Boy George, Philip Salon, Spandau Ballet, Marilyn and others.

Another close friend of over 30 years, Simon Hinton, said: “Many will remember Gabor as a glitterati nightclub photographer in the days when people used to really dress up to go out. His huge archive includes pictures of Boy George, Steve Strange, Joshua Wiskey, Reggie Tailor, Tim Southgate, Star Ostroff, Chris Sullivan, Sue Tilley, Princess Julia, Pinkietessa Pinkie and many more wonderful people from the period."

Hinton added: “I first met Gabor as a teenage new romantic when he used to take pictures at the Camden Palace and Mud Club Balls in the early 80's. From there an unlikely friendship emerged that lasted until this day. For any who met my unusual Hungarian friend he was a total one off character with a very unusual way and an insatiable taste for beautiful women.

"He never touched drugs but would sometimes stay up for days without sleep working. He lived with an independent spirit and was never fazed or influenced by anyone. I have never met anyone remotely like him to this day, and yet what I remember him most for is his kindness and generosity. He could be most infuriating with his whimsical ways but he would give you his last penny and was totally unselfish.

“He will be hugely missed by all who knew and loved him, and as the night-time social paparazzi that was part of the party circuit furniture for well over 30 years.”

Kate Garner, Marilyn and Steve Strange pictured by Scott in 1983.

Scott was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1948. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising his family moved to London. 

His interests ranged from fencing to squash, tennis, judo, karate, history, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Art, classical music, science fiction and astronomy.

In the course of his career Scott syndicated his images through a number of photo agencies including David Redferns (whose Music Picture Library was sold to Getty in 2009). He images were also distributed by Camera Press and WENN. Shortly before his death he agreed for Rex Features to preserve and syndicate his archive.

Brecker said: “Gabor took pictures of everyone and anyone. I say anyone because, infuriatingly and at the same time endearingly, he often did not know who anyone was.

“At the Cartier polo in 2004, I was in the China White tent when a young chap walked in with two people who appeared to be watching his back. I nudged Gabor and whispered ‘Look it’s Prince Harry’. ‘What?’ asked Gabor. ‘Prince Harry’ I replied. ‘Where?’ asked Gabor.“There!” I said, both exasperated and amused.

“A number of furtive long distance pictures later, Prince Harry became agitated. On spying Gabor’s lens across the length of the marquee, Harry got fed up and gave Gabor the finger. And what a finger it was. The picture sold well. So well in fact that it financed a new Aquarium at Gabor’s flat off the Finchley Road. It remains to this day ‘The Prince Harry Aquarium’.”

Brecker said: “Over the years Gabor sent me thousands of pictures and being totally truthful I have to say a few of his photos were hit and miss. 'Er.. Gabor, these seem out of focus, you have chopped off the most important person.' I would tease. 'No, no, no. Not at all. It must be your computer screen,' Gabor insisted."

In November 2005 I commissioned Gabor to take a photo of the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson accepting a World Social Award at the Langham Hilton in London. True to form, Gabor was late. But Fergie was later. Much later. And when she entered the room apparently a little the worse for wear, her hair was a mess. 'How do I look?' breezed Fergie. 'Well, maybe your hair could do with a bit of a tidy up and a brush' said Gabor with characteristic brutal honesty. I cringed.

“Fergie was horrified. ‘You are not supposed to say that to a lady!’."

“Then when she resurfaced, make-up and hair suitably restored, Gabor asked the duchess to pose with the award in her hands. Several times he suggested she reposition for the shot. ‘Now, if you can just put it there. No, not like that. Like this. No, not quite. A little to the left. To the right. No Like that..’ Gabor gestured with his hands.

“'If you don’t hurry up, I will place that camera where the sun does not shine,' declared Fergie rather unroyally.

“‘Well.. then’ said Gabor in his calm matter of fact manner ‘if you do that, then we will not get the shot, will we?’ Fergie’s face changed from irritation to amusement and she broke into a smile. At times you could not help but love Gabor for his mischievous ways.

“‘What’s your name again?’ said Fergie. ‘Where are you from..?’ And so another new friend was won.”

Brecker added: “Everything about Gabor was a bit different. Some of his favourite well worn clothes, his apparent inability to express emotions or tact. And his ever present little gold and black sticker with his contact info which he handed to all and sundry as a ‘business card’.”

“And sadly when it came to illness, of course Gabor didn’t do just any old illness. He had to do a one in a million or whatever it was a rare illness.”

He contracted a rare form of cancer of the spine, which was first diagnosed in 2010.

Brecker said: “What was even rarer was the inspirational bravery, courage, determination, sheer strength of mind and stoicism with which he fought the most vicious of diseases until the end.”

Scott is survived by brother Peter, mother Barbara and wife Irena.

The funeral will take place Golders Green Crematorium, 1 Hoop Lane, Golders Green, London, NW11 7NL at 10.30am on 20 June 2014.

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