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Felix Dennis Gone

from The Financial Times

Felix Dennis, the improbable magazine entrepreneur

By Matthew Engel

Felix Dennis, center, with James Anderson, left, and Richard Neville, editors of Oz, after being found guilty of corrupting public morals in 1971. (United Press International)

Felix Dennis, whose death aged 67 was announced on Monday, was one of Britain’s most successful media entrepreneurs and by a long distance the most improbable. Reaction varied from amazement that he had lived as long as he did, to shock that such a seemingly unstoppable force had allowed a mere disease to get the better of him.

John Brown, a friend and business associate, compared him to Richard Branson in his willingness to court failure and, if it happened, shrug it off. “Felix had irrepressible energy, loads of ideas and faith in his own abilities. And he just charged ahead.”

He charged ahead out of the office too. Dennis had revelled in the Sixties lifestyle: “Free sex with no downside,” he would recall. “Women were walking down the street in miniskirts, in what looked like their underwear. It was almost too much for anyone to stand.” All his life there were a lot of cigarettes and whisky and wild, wild women – and drugs, including a spell as a crack addict. Some, however, thought that Dennis was inclined to overstate the quantity of drugs and sex, just a bit. He once claimed, in a newspaper interview, to have pushed a man over a cliff. And no one seemed to believe that at all.

He did find the time for a remarkably varied set of achievements. Dennis was a popular performance poet (particularly when he offered free wine from his cellar as well). He established the Heart of England Forest near his Warwickshire home, which now has more than 1m saplings. And he had a large, themed collection of bronze sculptures.

[ click to read full article at FT.com ]

Posted on June 24, 2014 by Editor

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