Felix Dennis, 1947-2014

The Maxim founder was a pioneer, genius, madman—and a poet.

Felix Dennis, the founder of Maxim, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 67 years old.

For years, Mr. Dennis’s mighty baritone echoed through this magazine’s Sixth Avenue offices. During issue closes, Mr. Dennis would fly in from his home office in London to fiddle with the copy, devising the deceptively simple cover lines that helped make Maxim the top-selling men’s magazine in the world. His memorable visits became less frequent only when Mr. Dennis turned his attention from newsstand sales to poetry, which was – by his own admission – a hobby he used to replace a crack-cocaine habit.

In 2004, Mr. Dennis, small of stature but large of entourage, arrived at the Maxim office with a copy of a book of poems entitled Lone Wolf. The staff was accustomed to Mr. Dennis’s eccentricity and would have happily dismissed his new paperback if he hadn’t proved such an adept stylist. He favored structure and simple rhymes. He was – in a boisterous, modern way – part Rudyard Kipling and part John Wilmot.

It is only fitting that we honor Mr. Dennis’s memory with words he wrote. He would have preferred that. 


By Felix Dennis

Goodbyes are always ‘awkward,’

Rehearsals for a death deferred. 

If you should turn to find me gone,

To find I left without a word –

The chair still warm, but empty,

My coat and hat a naked hook,

The Wine still breathing in the glass,

A page still creaking in the book – 

Forgive me dear, it’s just my way,

Our paths shall cross another day.

Though there was little left to say –

Goodbyes are always ‘awkward.’

Photos by Rex USA / ITV