But when Jimmy Savile died, fellow BBC disc jockey Tony Blackburn hinted that he was an isolated figure, telling the BBC: "He was just a complete one-off. I think he was a bit of a lonely character as well. In the privacy of his own life I don't think he had very many friends."
Film-maker Louis Theroux perhaps gained more of an insight into what many would regard as odd behavior. In a documentary made in 2000 he interviewed Savile in a flat where his mother had lived but still kept her clothing hanging in the wardrobe 27 years after her death. In the same program he also revealed that he only took a single pair of underpants with him when he went away and washed them in the sink every night.
Despite hosting a children's show, Theroux asked him why he hated youngsters and he replied: "We live in a very funny world and it's easier for me as a single man to say I don't like children because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt."
And when he was confronted about sexual abuse allegations in a 2007 radio interview, he brushed it off with a laugh, saying: "What's the point of responding to something that's not true?"
The extensive investigations into Savile's behavior are only just beginning, but it appears his reputation as a fun-loving host of pop and a tireless charity worker are already ruined.