Publishing impresario and Oz co-founder Felix Dennis has died aged 67 after a "long and painful" battle with cancer. Over the course of his career at Oz, Dennis became one of the leading voices of British counterculture.
Starting off as a street seller of the magazine, Dennis graduated to co-editor of the radical underground magazine within two short years. Alongside Oz co-editor Jim Anderson and founder Richard Neville, Dennis established the magazine as one of the most creative and urgent publications in Britain, regularly enraging the British establishment with its criticism of the Vietnam War and its coverage of sex, drugs and hippie culture. The magazine launched the careers of cult illustrators like Jim Leon and still inspires admirers like Meadham Kirchhoff to this day.
In 1971, Dennis became one of the subjects of arguably the most high-profile obscenity trial in British history, thanks to the Schoolkids Issue of the magazine which handed over editorial control to fifth and sixth formers. Along with his co-editors Jim Anderson and Richard Neville, Dennis was hauled up to Old Bailey on charges of "conspiracy to corrupt public morals", specifically due to this X-rated comic strip of Rupert Bear.
After being acquitted of the charges, Dennis went on to found his own publishing empire, Dennis Publishing, which launched hugely successful consumer magazines in the US and UK including PC World, Maxim and The Week. In later life, the publisher-turned-entrepreneur also became a poet. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Felix Dennis passed away yesterday surrounded by his loved ones. After a long and painful battle with cancer, Felix died peacefully at his home in Dorsington, aged 67,” his family said in a statement.
“Felix was a publishing legend, famed for his maverick and entrepreneurial style and, more lately, a successful and much-loved poet. He will be greatly missed.
“Thank you to the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Felix, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”
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