Paul Raymond is best known as a publisher of soft-pornographic magazines and a real estate magnate in London’s SoHo district. He turned strip clubs into a profitable business that made him one of Britain’s richest men.
Entertainment mogul and real estate developer Paul Raymond was born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn on November 15, 1925, in Liverpool, England. He went on to become one of the richest men in Britain, heading an empire that encompassed magazines and a vast amount of real estate, including strip clubs. Having been in declining health for years, Raymond died in London on March 2, 2008, at age 82. A movie based on his life, The Look of Love, starring Steve Coogan, was released in 2013.
Often referred to as the British equivalent of America's Hugh Hefner of the Playboy dynasty, publisher, entertainment mogul and real estate developer Paul Raymond was born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn on November 15, 1925, in Liverpool, England. His father was a haulage contractor.
Raymond left school at the age of 15, a shy, unassuming boy. He sold nylons and fuel coupons on the black market during World War II, and at age 22, he entertained as a mind reader, billing himself as clairvoyant. It around this same time that Raymond became interested in the striptease business and changed his name.
Raymond went on to become one of the richest men in Britain, the head of an empire encompassing magazines and a vast amount of real estate, including strip clubs (SoHo estates). He opened the United Kingdom's first private striptease club in 1958, the Raymond Revuebar, in London's SoHo district. He is said to have brought the sex-for-entertainment business out of the dark corners of London and into a more respectable venue.
But he did have his critics: In a 1961 criminal trial, Raymond was fined for allowing a "filthy, disgusting and beastly" act to appear onstage at this club. The act involved live snakes.
As a real estate mogul, Raymond scooped up a vast number of properties in London and his holdings soon included soft-pornographic magazines such as Mayfair, Men Only and Club International.
Raymond was well-known for his trademark fur coats, his long hair and his Rolls-Royce. He married dancer Jean Bradley in 1951; the couple divorced in 1974. (Bradley died in 2002.) Some reports attribute the break-up to Raymond's ongoing and long-term relationship with British porn star/model Fiona Richmond.
Although he had two sons—one from a relationship before his marriage to Bradley—Raymond was in the process of handing over the workings of his vast empire to his daughter, Debbie, when she died of an accidental drug overdose in 1992. That same year, Raymond, then with an estimated net worth of £1.5 billion, was named "Britain's richest man" by the Sunday Times.
Never fully recovering from the devastating loss of his daughter, Raymond holed up for years in his penthouse apartment near the Ritz Hotel in London. In 2007, Raymond was ranked No. 891 on Forbes' list of "The World's Billionaires." Having been in declining health for years, he died in London on March 2, 2008, at the age of 82.
Book and a Movie
A book about the famed entertainment mogul entitled Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond, written by Paul Willetts, was released in September 2010. The work was later adapted into a film, The Look of Love, released in 2013 and starring actor Steve Coogan as Raymond.
Also in 2013, Paul Raymond's granddaughter, India Rose James, became the youngest person to be named on the Sunday Times' "UK Rich List" of the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain at the age of 21.