Penthouse Mag Founder Bob Guccione Dead At 79

Bob Guccione, the founder and publisher of Penthouse magazine, died Wednesday in Plano, Texas after a long battle with lung cancer.

Brooklyn-born Guccione began Penthouse while living in England in 1965. He brought the mag to America in 1969, and eventually grew it into a media empire. Penthouse magazine provided a raunchy alternative to Playboy, showing pubic hair at a time when doing so was considered obscene.

Guccione went on to launch other magazines, including Omni, Longevity, and Viva. Notably, it was at Viva that Anna Wintour had her first job as a fashion editor.

Guccione also had successful ventures in Hollywood. From AVN:

He produced or financed such classics as Caligula (1979), with Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud and Peter O’Toole; Chinatown (1974), directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston; and The Longest Yard (1974), directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter and Michael Conrad.

Guccione suffered from financial woes in the last decade. He lost much of his personal fortune in bad business investments. The proliferation of internet porn took a toll on the sales of porn magazines. In 2003, the publishing company for Penthouse declared bankruptcy and Guccione resigned as the CEO of Penthouse Inc.

Guccione is survived by his wife, April Dawn Warren Guccione, and his children Tonina, Nina, Tony, Nick, and Bob Jr. — the founder of Spin magazine.