Paul Raymond (publisher)

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For other people, see Paul Raymond.

Paul Raymond (15 November 1925 – 2 March 2008), born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn, was an English publisher, club owner, and real estate developer.[1]

After opening the UK's first strip club, Raymond became very wealthy, buying property on a large scale and launched Paul Raymond Publications with the soft-porn magazine Men Only, soon followed by Escort, Club International, Mayfair and many other titles.[1]

He was starting to hand over control to his daughter Debbie when she died of an overdose in 1992, after which he became a recluse.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born and raised in Liverpool, the family was abandoned by the father (a haulage contractor) when he was five. He also attended St. Francis Xavier's College.[2] The outbreak of World War II prompted relocation to Glossop, Derbyshire, where he was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. Leaving school at 15, he was a Manchester Ship Canal office boy before taking up the drums with dance bands.[1] Feigning a heart condition, he avoided imprisonment for evading National Service instead served as a switchboard operator and bandsman all the while a self-confessed spiv selling nylons and petrol coupons on the black market.[3] His name change occurred when, at 22, he attempted a show business career as a mind-reader on Clacton pier.[4]

The Lord Chamberlain's Office controlled what was allowed on theatre stages and ruled that nudes could not move so when he toured with a show featuring nudes they were presented as statues, which moved about the stage on podiums;[5] He also circumvented the authority of the Lord Chamberlain's powers in 1958 when he opened the Raymond Revuebar strip club as a private club[5] in the former Doric Ballroom in Soho's Walker's Court,[6] the first British strip club. Within two years it had 45,000 members.[7]

According to Raymond's biographer, Paul Willetts, Raymond's Revuebar initially attracted a "chic clientele", including the actor John Mills and comedian Peter Sellers.[8]The seedy reputation of the club led to regular clashes with the authorities about show content.[8] In 1961, Raymond was fined £5,000 following a magistrate's decision that permitting members to ring the Ding Dong Girl's bells constituted an "unruly house".[1] There was also the issue about an on stage performer swallowing a snake earning the an official reputation as "filthy, disgusting and beastly".[3]

Raymond first moved into publishing in 1964 when he launched the men's magazine King, but it ceased publication[1] after two issues.[4] In 1971, he took over the adult title Men Only; his other magazines eventually included Razzle and Mayfair. Among the models featured in his magazines were Fiona Richmond, who became Raymond's girlfriend towards the end of his marriage to Jean Bradley (1951–74).[3]

On 22 January 1967, Raymond was initiated into the Grand Order of Water Rats for his contribution to entertainment in the UK.In 1974, he purchased the lease on the Windmill Cinema and return it to the original name, the Windmill Theatre. Other theatres controlled by Raymond included the Whitehall Theatre where the sex comedy Pyjama Tops ran for more than five years along with several sequels,[3] and the Royalty Theatre.

Raymond diversified, investing millions into buildings and real estate, especially in Soho starting in the 1970s,[9] through his company, Soho Estates.[10] He was a frequent name on lists of the UK's wealthy reportedly with an estimated £650 million by the time of his death (one associate claimed the estate was worth billions),[11] and Forbes placed him on its list of US dollar billionaires.[12] Often dubbed by the press 'King of Soho'[citation needed]. He was the target of two extortion attempts,[13] released Metropolitan Police papers in October 2010 disclosed. The second attempt, presumed the IRA, were decorators threatening Raymond with bombing and shooting.[14]

Around 1990 Raymond began to hand over control of his empire to his daughter Debbie until her death from a heroin overdose in 1992.[6] Raymond also had two sons; Derry McCarthy (born Darryl) being from a previous relationship prior to his marriage (the woman rejecting his proposal).[15] His ex-wife Jean Bradley became estranged blaming Debbie's death on Raymond.[16] Raymond acknowledged only four grandchildren: Cheyenne and Boston Raymond, from son Howard, and Fawn and India Rose James from daughter Debbie.[17]

A recluse in his last years and living in a penthouse near the Ritz Hotel,[7] he died of respiratory failure in 2008, age 82.[18] His granddaughters Fawn and India James stand to inherit his estate once estimated at £650m. Fawn plans to devote herself to charity work.[19]

Film biography[edit]

The Look of Love (released, 26 April 2013) is about his life:[20] Michael Winterbottom (director), Steve Coogan (Raymond), Anna Friel (wife, Jean), Imogen Poots (daughter, Debbie) and then-current Paul Raymond Publications employees and editors (extras or pseudo-cameos). The working title, The King of Soho (trademarked by a Raymond son) prompted a title change.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Obituary: Paul Raymond, Daily Telegraph, 3 March 2008
  2. ^ Dennis Barker Obituary: Paul Raymond, The Guardian, 3 March 2008
  3. ^ a b c d Obituary: Paul Raymond, The Times, 3 March 2008
  4. ^ a b The Real Paul Raymond, Channel 4 publicity
  5. ^ a b Jenny Booth "Paul Raymond, porn baron who became 'the King of Soho', is dead", The Times, 3 March 2008
  6. ^ a b Catharine Arnold Review: "Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond by Paul Willetts", The Observer, 5 September 2010
  7. ^ a b Amol Rajan "Paul Raymond, the king of the Soho sex trade, dies aged 82", The Independent, 4 March 2008
  8. ^ a b Paul Willetts "Why Paul Raymond, the porn king of Soho, was a hero", Daily Telegraph, 1 September 2010
  9. ^ Simon Sheridan & Pierre Perrone Obituary: Paul Raymond, The Independent, 5 March 2008
  10. ^ Property and porn, Property Week, 3 November 2000
  11. ^ Ben Laurance and Martin Tomkinson "Paul Raymond heirs to clean up in Soho", The Sunday Times, 9 March 2008
  12. ^ #1014 Paul Raymond, Forbes, 5 March 2008
  13. ^ Paul Willetts "Letter: Give us the money – and two tickets to Pyjama Tops", The Guardian, 30 October 2010
  14. ^ Stephen Bates "Paul Raymond and Bob Guccione were threatened with blackmail", The Guardian, 29 October 2010
  15. ^ Kathy Brewis "The real Paul Raymond", The Times, 17 August 2008
  16. ^ Kate Walsh "Son to contest porn baron Paul Raymond's will", The Sunday Times, 4 July 2009
  17. ^ Porn baron Raymond dies aged 82, BBC NEWS, 3 March 2008.
  18. ^ Helen Weathers "How my ruthless father tore our family apart, by Paul Raymond's son", Daily Mail, 8 March 2008
  19. ^ Tim Walker, "No Porn for Fawn James as she helps charity", Daily Telegraph, 23 March 2010
  20. ^ UK Screen review of The Look of Love UK Screen
  21. ^ Steve Coogan porn king biopic to be renamed, BBC NEWS, 6 July 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan (fourth edition) (Titan Publishing, London) (2011)
  • Men Only, Vol.37. No.4. April,1972. "The New Raymond Revuebar Show."
  • Today Magazine Vol.2 no.45. 31 December 1960. "Raymond King of the Strip Clubs". An article by Ernest Dudley.
  • Today Magazine January 1961. "A Nice Quiet Country Town, That's the Place for a Strip Club.", An article by Ernest Dudley.
  • The Sunday Times Magazine, 23 November 1980. An article about Paul Raymond .
  • The Soho Clarion, Issue 132, Spring 2008. "My Own Private Revuebar". An article by Gerard Simi in the Soho Society magazine.
  • The Sunday Times Magazine, "Virtue and Vice", 17 August 2008.
  • The Soho Clarion, Issue 136, Spring 2009. "When the Show Has To End". An article by Gerard Simi in the Soho Society magazine.
  • British Pathe film, Clubs Galore. Released 22 December 1958. Film no.1563.29. Paul Raymond talks about the Raymond Revuebar.
  • "For the Record:Paul Raymond". LWT television programme 1969.Paul Raymond is interviewed by Alan Watson.
  • "Good Afternoon".Thames Television 1975.Paul Raymond is interviewed by Elaine Grand.
  • Paul Raymond's Erotica, Film and video. 1981.
  • A Night at the Revuebar. VHS Video. Electric Video. 1983.
  • "Soho Stories". BBC2. 12 television documentary programmes screened from 28 October 1996 to 20 November 1996. Some programmes featured the Raymond Revuebar.
  • Soho Sex King: The Paul Raymond Story. Channel 4 television documentary. Screened 15 March 2008. A shorter version of this documentary film was produced in 2005 before the death of Paul Raymond, the title being Sex in the 70's: The King of Soho.
  • Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond by Paul Willetts. London: Serpent's Tail, August 2010. ISBN 978-1-84668-715-0.
  • (retitled film tie-in edition) The Look of Love: Paul Raymond – Soho's KIng of Clubs by Paul Willetts. London: Serpent's Tail, April 2013. ISBN 978-1-84668-716-7.

External links[edit]