‘A visionary publisher’: Tony Elliott, Time Out magazine founder, dies

  • london
  • July 17, 2020
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Elliott developed his London listings and culture magazine into a ‘global media empire’

Tony Elliott, founder of Time Out magazine, died this week aged 73.
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Tony Elliott, the founder of the events listings magazine Time Out, has died after a long illness, the magazine has said.

The 73-year-old set up the magazine in London in 1968 and grew it into a major publishing firm covering events in cities around the world.

Elliott passed away on Thursday, the magazine said, as it announced its first post-coronavirus lockdown print edition would be dedicated to him.

“Tony was a visionary publisher, a tireless champion of city culture and a staunch friend. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and colleagues. His life and his work inspired millions of people who did not have the good fortune to know him personally,” Time Out said on Friday.

“In London, Time Out’s first post-lockdown print magazine, on 11 August, will be a special issue dedicated to him. Tony, Time Out salutes you.”

Former colleagues paid tribute to him on Twitter. Adam Feldman, who was New York theatre editor and critic for the magazine, credited Elliott for creating a “global media empire”.

Adam Feldman

RIP Tony Elliott, 73, who created Time Out as a self-published, self-distributed insider guide to London culture while he was on a summer break from college in 1968, and then grew it into a global media empire. What a journey he made. https://t.co/hwDreETtjZ

July 17, 2020

Frank Sennett, who worked for the Chicago edition of the publication, said Elliott “was someone from whom I learned a lot over the years” and: “He will be missed.”

Frank Sennett

Tony Elliott, RIP. Magazine pioneer and someone from whom I learned a lot over the years. And I always enjoyed his company as well. He will be missed. https://t.co/ADsipCgj6i

July 17, 2020

David Fear, who worked for Time Out New York for 10 years, said Elliott would “argue [with] half of our suggestions, smile and go ‘Keep it up!’”, adding that the former publisher had “the single greatest collection of paisley shirts ever”.

David Fear

During my 10 years at Time Out NY, Tony would come to my/@joshrothkopf‘s cubicles and go Gents, what should I see? He’d argue w/half of our suggestions, smile and go, Keep it up! He also had the single greatest collection of paisley shirts ever. RIP, sir. https://t.co/K9nwT3ijaJ

July 17, 2020

According to the publisher’s own history, Elliott founded the magazine during a summer holiday from Keele University, where he was studying. “He produced the first edition on the kitchen table in his mother’s house in Kensington with £70, part of a recent 21st birthday present from his aunt.”

It began its global expansion in 1995 with the launch of Time Out New York and the process continued in the following decade. In 2010, Elliott sold half of his share to a private equity firm, though he stayed on as chairman. Two years later, the flagship London edition was relaunched as a free magazine and the firm branched out to cover half a dozen more UK cities.

Elliott was described as a shy man in his youth by his ex-wife Janet Street-Porter. He acknowledged this trait in an interview with the Guardian in 2008: “I was a lot shyer then. I have got much better. As you get older you get more confident.

“Fights are easy because they are black and white, but having casual conversations with complete strangers about nothing in particular is extremely hard work and I am not very good at that at all. I think that comes from what kind of background you come from.”