Anthony Sharrock, co-founder and managing director of Features International, has died in Somerset, aged 69.
International, once the UK’s biggest independent features syndication
agency, moved in 1980 from Aldwych House to offices near Taunton.
Previously FI and its sister agencies Sports Incorporated and
Provincial Press Features were based in Gough Square, off Fleet Street,
handy for the Cheshire Cheese and El Vino’s, where Tony always
maintained much of his best business was done.
Tony started in journalism on the Birkenhead Advertiser in the early 1950s.
national service in Canada, he became a trade magazine editor in
Montreal, which is where I met him after stints on the Derby Evening
Telegraph, Reuters and PA. Back in the UK, Sharrock joined Central
Press Features. He and I founded Provincial Press Features, later
Features International, in 1962, providing packages of weekly features
and semi-topical backgrounders to more than 100 UK and overseas
After acquiring the photographic agency International
Magazine Features, Tony used its picture facilities to launch Sport
Incorporated, a bold venture supplying ghost-written columns for more
than a dozen top sportsmen, including Jack Nicklaus, Denis Law, Colin
Cowdray and Stirling Moss. The project was backed by former Aga Khan
jockey Charlie Smirke.
When I left to freelance in 1989, Sharrock
started Octavio Press and produced slimming and health magazines with
his wife Gertrude.
Tony had enormous flair as an ideas man and
innovator. He worked best with his feet on the desk, a glass of wine in
one hand and a fag in the other.
Only recently when we met, he
was astonished to hear that I was still working a five-day week. He
said he was now working five days a year and was looking at ways of
Tony Sharrock died after a short illness and leaves a wife, two sons and a daughter.
Tony James ex-partner, Features International