I FIRST met Toby Rowland at the end of the Sixties when I had just turned 21, writes Cameron Mackintosh. I remember being amazed to find that the Tsar of West End theatres was actually still at heart an enthusiastic theatre producer. Sure, he could still cut the keenest theatre deal in favour of his empire - I learnt from heady experience to be wary of the proferred noon- time treble scotch which was the usual prelude to a deal that left you wreathed in bonhomie but several thousand pounds worse off in theatre rents.
Nevertheless, he cared desperately about the quality of the shows he booked and was always on the look-out for new talent. From my first meeting, he was always encouraging, helpful, charming and kind and the complete opposite to the impenetrable West End mafia that I had been warned about. Toby simply wanted the best and did everything he could to encourage a healthy theatre. I will miss him terribly just as the West End has surely missed his cultivated and shrewd guidance ever since he retired.