Hunt “decent” despite excesses – Walker

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James Hunt’s former commentating partner Murray Walker says he was a “decent” person despite his celebrated playboy lifestyle.

Hunt has risen in prominence due to Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of him in Ron Howard’s new movie Rush.

The film reflects Hunt’s famed appetite for sex as well as his drinking habit. “I thought James drank too much, smoked too much and womanised too much,” said Walker.

“But I wouldn’t be saying these rather unpleasant things if he had not been a decent, friendly character inside beyond the enormous success and adulation that he had.”

Following his retirement from Formula One in 1979 Hunt joined Walker in commentating on Formula One for the BBC. They worked together until Hunt’s death in 1993 from a heart attack.

Walker, who is approaching his 90th birthday, admitted he has reservations about seeing Rush, which tells the story of Hunt’s battle with Niki Lauda for the 1976 world championship: “What I can say from talking to people who have seen Rush is that the way the film portrays the two men as enemies is not true – they were great friends.”

“But they’ve taken liberties to make the film more entertaining for people who are not, on the whole, petrol-heads like me.”