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British counterculture publisher Felix Dennis, part of celebrated obscenity trial, dies at 67

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LONDON - Felix Dennis, a flamboyant publisher who co-edited the 1960s underground magazine Oz and went on to build a magazine empire, has died. He was 67 and had cancer.

His office said Monday that Dennis died at home in Dorsington, central England, a day earlier.

An enthusiastic participant in the 1960s counterculture, Dennis came to prominence as a defendant in the 1971 trial of Oz for "conspiracy to corrupt public morals."

Dennis and his two co-defendants were charged after asking high-school students to put together an issue of the magazine; it included an obscene depiction of children's character Rupert Bear.

The cause became a cause celebre, with the "Oz Three" drawing support from celebrities including John Lennon.

Defended by lawyer and novelist John Mortimer, creator of fictional barrister "Rumpole of the Bailey" they were acquitted of conspiracy but sentenced to jail for lesser offences. They were eventually acquitted on appeal.

Dennis went on to run his own magazine firm, launching it with Kung-Fu Monthly, at the height of Bruce Lee's popularity. Dennis Publishing went on to publish some of Britain's first computer magazines and produce titles including men's magazine Maxim and news digest The Week.

Dennis, who once claimed to have spent $100 million on "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll," became a prolific poet in later life.

His company said in a statement that "Felix was a publishing legend, famed for his maverick and entrepreneurial style and, more lately, a successful and much loved poet. He will be greatly missed."

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