Known for his colourful bow ties, Paul was a star on whichever newspaper he planted his ample frame and brilliant gifts. Former colleague Alan Frame said: “I was allegedly his boss. The truth is, he was a joy to attempt to supervise, the ultimate professional, and despite the long and sometimes riotous lunches – as often as not in my company – he never failed to deliver. He was a master of all he was set – a TV column, the Parliamentary sketch, news colour and the big feature.
“In 1995 on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I sent Paul, who was Jewish, to cover the event.
“The result was a spread which was as fine and as moving as anything he had done. His expenses a few days later also brought tears to the eyes.
“But all joking aside, Paul was a fundamentally decent man, talented and very funny. A brilliant, kind man who will be very much missed.”
Express editor-in-chief Gary Jones said: “Paul brought magic to everything he wrote.
“He could turn his hand to any story that crossed his path in a quite remarkable career. He was delightful, funny and just utterly brilliant. He’ll be sadly missed.”
TV presenter and former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan paid tribute to the “legend, brilliant journalist, wonderful writer and one of the greatest characters in Fleet Street history”.
During his time on Fleet Street he once persuaded the notoriously reticent and difficult Greta Garbo to grant an interview.
He started by saying: “Miss Garbo, I wonder…” At which the Hollywood star stalked off, saying: “Why wonder?”
Former Daily Express reporter Ashley Walton remembered how they were both covering the Prince’s tour of India – with Paul working for the Mirror.
At a reception Charles strolled over for a chat and then spotted Paul’s Old Etonian tie.
“Surely a man from the Mirror did not go to Eton,” said Charles. “Certainly not sir,” said Paul. “But it’s a nice tie.”
Paul’s daughter Jessica said: “I’m heartbroken. He had been unwell for some time and was recently diagnosed with cancer which he wanted to keep quiet. So unlike him.
“But he had a fall in the early hours and passed away very quickly.
“He wanted a huge, great send-off so we will arrange a memorial next year when we can all see each other.”
For a time he presented a two-hander show on LBC with Janet Street-Porter. Their distinctive voices led them to be known as “Cut glass and cut froat”.
Paul was married to New York journalist Steffi Fields. They had two children – Jessica and James – who both entered the trade.
Jessica was a 3AM girl on our sister paper, the Daily Mirror. James is an editor at Bloomberg News.