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Saturday 25 October 2014

Publisher and wine enthusiast Felix Dennis dies at 67

23rd June, 2014 by Richard Ross

Media owner Felix Dennis, who shared top wines from his own cellar with theatre audiences at his poetry readings, has died of cancer aged 67.

FelixDennisDennis first came into public view in the sixties when he was tried for obscenity as the London editor of Oz magazine, and went on to become a multi-millionaire through his media empire and as the author of books like ‘How to Get Rich’. He developed a passion for wine, mostly French and particularly fine Bordeaux, and in an interview with Decanter in 2004, admitted to spending £50,000 on stocking his cellar. In 2010 he told The Guardian that his most prized possession was probably his bottle of 1947 Petrus (either that or his address book).

Ten years ago, and after a spell in hospital, Dennis embarked on a new passion – writing poetry, and started publicising his work with nationwide poetry reading tours. As a tongue in cheek way of encouraging ticket sales, the tours were named: “Did I mention the free wine?”, and true to his word, Felix Dennis plied his audience with free wine from his own cellar. And it was decent wine, too, including a range of white burgundy and some Laurent Perrier Champagne.

Dennis was still touring with the wine and poetry show in late 2013, even after his diagnosis with throat cancer.

On stage at one of the 2013 venues, Felix Dennis came onto stage wearing the insignia of the French Légion d’Honneur. His friend had been given the award, and had a spare. He recounted how the friend thought Felix should have the spare for the amount of cash he had spent on French wine over the course of the reading tours.

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