Paul Raymond, former proprietor of Soho’s Revuebar and soft porn publisher, has died aged 82.
Reportedly one of the richest people in the country, property magnate Raymond is believed to have been worth at least £650 million at the time of his death.
He made his name in 1958 when he opened the Raymond Revuebar in Soho, which at the time was the only premises in Britain to stage live striptease shows. The venue was established as a members-only club to avoid a ruling by the Lord Chancellor, who oversaw theatre licensing, banning nude models from moving on stage.
In the late sixties, Raymond bought the Whitehall Theatre to stage farces such as Yes, We Have No Pyjamas. He also owned the Windmill Theatre from 1974 until 1986, when it was converted into a live entertainment and recording studio named Paramount City.
Despite his highly commercial reputation, for many years Raymond also bankrolled one of London’s best known fringe and comedy venues, the Boulevard Theatre. The site played host to The Comic Strip in the early eighties, as well as the likes of Eddie Izzard, Jerry Sadowitz and Danny La Rue and also featured numerous small-scale theatre shows.
Raymond later diversified into publishing porn magazines such as Razzle, Men Only and Mayfair, and when property prices fell in the seventies he bought up the freehold of large areas in Soho, Notting Hill and Chelsea.
Born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn in November 1925, he changed his name at the age of 22 when he tried to break into showbusiness as a mind reader on Clacton pier. Three years later he became an entertainment agent, and following that he set up a touring vaudeville show featuring topless still nude models. The show’s successes funded the opening of the Revuebar.
In 1997, he handed over control of the bar to the venue’s artistic director Gerard Simi. It was bought by Soho Bars and Clubs in 2006 and converted into a nightclub.
Over the years, Raymond is reported to have retained a hands-on approach to his financial affairs, although his business interests were overseen by his nephew Mark Quinn.
A full obituary will appear in this week’s edition of The Stage.