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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 17:53 GMT
Porn baron Raymond dies aged 82
Paul Raymond
Paul Raymond's fortune came from his porn and property ventures
Porn baron and property magnate Paul Raymond has died, the Paul Raymond Organisation said.

Raymond, 82, the son of a Liverpool lorry driver, founded a huge pornographic empire which included magazines such as Mayfair and Men Only.

He was once dubbed the King of Soho and in 1958 opened the only premises in the UK to stage live striptease shows.

Raymond acquired property in London's West End in the 1970s and was thought to be worth 650m when he died.

Born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn in November 1925, Raymond left school at 15 to pursue a career in showbusiness and started with a mind-reading act on Clacton Pier.

He soon discovered his real talent lay as a producer and went on to exploit not only the public's fascination with sex and nudity, but also the gradual liberalisation of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

His big break came after he side-stepped censorship laws that prevented naked women from moving on stage by having topless women stand completely still.

Raymond later bought the Whitehall Theatre, where he staged sex farces with titles like Yes, We Have No Pyjamas.

Britain's Hugh Hefner

In 1958, Raymond also managed to exploit another loophole that exempted private clubs from censorship laws and opened the Raymond Revuebar strip club in Soho, London.

The club was an instant success and the membership fees made Mr Raymond very wealthy.

But he made a bigger fortune after a police crackdown in Soho in 1977. Many strip clubs and sex shops closed and Raymond bought up their premises cheaply.

Raymond also invented the market for top shelf, glossy porn magazines with the launch of Men Only magazine in 1971, followed by Club International in 1972 and became known as the British equivalent of Hugh Hefner, the American founder of Playboy.

But in later years competition to his porn empire from so-called "lads mags" stifled his fortunes.

Raymond called himself a spiv and behaved like one, sporting fur coats, a Rolls Royce, a tiny moustache and a fake tan.

But money did not buy him happiness. His marriage broke up acrimoniously after an affair with the model, Fiona Richmond.

He was estranged from his son, and his daughter Debbie, who ran his empire for a time, died aged 36 from a drugs overdose in 1992.

He ended his life a virtual recluse in a penthouse flat behind the Ritz Hotel.

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