Claus Toksvig

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Claus Toksvig
Born Claus Bertel Toksvig[1]
(1929-10-21)21 October 1929[1]
Copenhagen, Denmark[1]
Died 4 November 1988(1988-11-04) (aged 59)[1]
Nationality Danish
Occupation journalist, broadcaster, politician
Years active 1951 – 1988
Spouse(s) Julie Anne Toksvig (née Brett)[2]
Children Nick Toksvig, Sandi Toksvig, Jenifer Toksvig[3][4][5]

Claus Toksvig (21 October 1929 – 4 November 1988) was a Danish journalist and broadcaster who, as the Danish Broadcasting Corporation's first ever permanent foreign correspondent, is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest figures in Danish broadcasting history.

In later life he turned his attention to politics. In 1984, having won one of the highest number of popular votes ever recorded by a Danish politician, he was elected as a member of the European Parliament and served briefly as one of the European Parliament's fourteen Vice-Presidents.

Journalism and broadcasting[edit]

Commencing with five years spent working on the BBC World Service's Danish language broadcasts, in London, Toksvig held numerous appointments in journalism and broadcasting.[2]

He was part of the original team of reporters on TV Avisen, the first daily evening television news programme broadcast by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) in 1965;[6][7] and in 1967 he was posted to New York as DR's first ever permanent foreign correspondent.[2][6][8][9]

After fifteen years of continuous service as a foreign correspondent, in New York and London; he resigned his position with DR in a dispute over working conditions and their intention to rotate him out of his posting to London, where his family were settled and he had established a permanent home.

As a broadcaster, he is probably most popularly remembered as the man providing the live Danish commentary on the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong's first moon walk.[6][8][10][11][12]


In 1984, Claus Toksvig stood as a Conservative People's Party candidate for the European Parliament and was elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) by one of the largest popular votes ever achieved by a Danish politician.[13][14]

He served three successive terms as the Vice-Chairman of the European Democrats (ED) grouping within the parliament, was for a short time one of the fourteen Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, chaired the EU delegation for relations with Norway and served as a member on the European Parliament's standing committees on: Institutional Affairs; Political Affairs; and Energy, Research and Technology.[14] In 1987 he stood for the chairmanship of the ED group, but was defeated by Christopher Prout.[15]

Claus Toksvig died before the completion of his first term as an MEP.

Personal life[edit]

Claus Toksvig was born in Copenhagen in 1929 and was the second child of Harald Toksvig (Toxvig), a well-known editor and illustrator, and Karen Frederikke Clausen-Kaas.[4]

In 1954, whilst working for the BBC World Service in London, Toksvig married Julie Anne Brett [3][4] and together they had three children: Nick Toksvig (a bureau chief and senior news editor for Al Jazeera English), Sandi Toksvig (a comedian, author and broadcaster) and Jenifer Toksvig (an author, lyricist and playwright).[3][4][5][9]

He died on 4 November 1988 and was laid to rest at the Nørup cemetery, in the Vejle municipality of Jutland.[1]



Claus Toksvig appeared as himself (and the narrator) in both the English-language and Danish-language versions of the 1961 Danish-American co-production of Reptilicus; which, as the country's first and only giant monster film, has a large cult following in Denmark.[2][16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Gravsted: Claus Bertel Toksvig" (in Danish). Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Den Danske Film Database: Claus Toksvig (in Danish), retrieved 2010-05-26 
  3. ^ a b c Coleman, Pamela (9 November 2003), "Relative values: Sandi Toksvig and her sister Jeni", Sunday Times Magazine, retrieved 2010-05-26 
  4. ^ a b c d Claus Bertel Toksvig's Family Tree, retrieved 2010-05-26 
  5. ^ a b Dougary, Ginny (5 December 2009), "Sandi Toksvig on her Christmas cracker", The Sunday Times, London, retrieved 21 June 2010 
  6. ^ a b c d e "TV AVISEN 40 år 1965-2005 (English: 40 years of television news 1965-2005" (PDF) (Press release) (in Danish). Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR). 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Stenstrup, Brita (14 October 2010). "Fest for 40 års TV-Aviser (English: Party for 40-year-old television news)". Berlingske Tidende (in Danish). Copenhagen. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Kerr, Alison (29 November 2008). "Sandi Toksvig interview: The history woman". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c Bromhøj, Bronte (June 2009). "Sandi Toksvig – comedienne with a twist of faith". Scan Magazine, issue 9. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  10. ^ Berndt, Thomas (20 July 2009). "Verdenshistoriens største lille skridt (English: The largest small step in the history of the world)". Politiken (in Danish). Copenhagen. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Claus Toksvig's Danish commentary on Neil Armstrong exiting the Apollo Lunar Module and setting foot on the moon (1969). (archive television audio) (in Danish). Denmark: Danish Broadcasting Corporation.  External link in |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b Aagaard, Lars Henrik (21 July 2004). "Fod på Månen i 35 år (English: Foot on the moon, 35 years later)". Berlingske Tidende (in Danish). Copenhagen. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  13. ^ Brix, Lise (9 June 2009), "Fem stemt ind på historisk top-10 (English: Five elected in historic top-10)", Jyllands-Posten (in Danish), Viby, retrieved 21 June 2010 
  14. ^ a b "Claus Toksvig's MEP profile". Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Lord Kingsland". The Daily Telegraph. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  16. ^ IMDb: Reptilicus (1961), retrieved 2010-05-26 
  17. ^ IMDb: Claus Toksvig, retrieved 2010-05-26 

External links[edit]