Bob Guccione Death: Farewell To The Penthouse Magazine Founder
Penthouse Mag founder, Bob Guccione dies at age 79.
Bob Guccione, founder of the notorious Penthouse Magazine, died this week in his Plano, Texas home after his battle with cancer. Penthouse magazine was a pornographic institution, a smut empire that spanned decades behind Guccione’s operation. The magazine once rivaled Playboy as a trashier alternative to Hefner’s high brow nude photography.
Guccione was an artist, and – quirky fact of the day – a seminary school dropout before his rise-and-fall pornographic kingdom graced us with glossy erotic nudes and sexual write-ups in the 1960s. Penthouse Mag saw its birth in England in 1965 and launched the nude operation stateside in 1969. The porn mag saw its peak in the 1980s, accruing Guccione $400 million by 1986.
Penthouse Magazine was perhaps most famous for publishing the issue that stripped Vanessa Williams of her Miss America crown. Yes, boys and girls, it was the late Bob Guccione himself that gave us all what we really wish Miss America was about: hot, naked chicks. Williams was the first black woman to hold the title, but begrudgingly had to give it back after Penthouse released the spread.
But don’t feel too sorry for the Beauty Queen. When you stack up Guccione’s career against Vanessa Williams’ since 1986, here is what you get:
Vanessa Williams goes on to be a successful singer and actress, adding a college degree, in addition to Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award nominations to her Wikipedia page. She is currently starring as the latest addition to ABC’s Desperate Housewives.
Bob Guccione net a reported $14 mil off Miss America’s issue, but, has to pay $45 mil in taxes in 1985, is sued by religious nut job televangelist Jerry Falwell, loses $17.5 mil on failed X-rated production “Caligula,” and exhausts millions in bad investments, forcing him to sell his prized Manhattan mansion and art collection by the 2000s, before eventually passing away of lung cancer.
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