Larry Flynt, Founder Of Hustler And Subject For People Vs Larry Flynt, Dead At 78

Larry Flynt
(Image credit: (CBS Sunday Morning))

Famed publisher of Hustler magazine and one of the biggest names in the porn industry, Larry Flynt ,died on Wednesday morning of heart failure. Flynt was 78 years old and is survived by his current wife Elizabeth Berrios, his five daughters, son and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was notably the subject of the 1996 movie starring Woody Harrelson, The People vs. Larry Flynt.

The controversial publisher passed away in his home in Los Angeles following an over-50-year career as a figure in the pornography, TMZ reports. Larry Flynt memorably fought for his First Amendment rights to publish his pornography that went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981.

Before starting his Hustler empire and becoming a self-described “smut peddler,” he was a bar owner in Dayton, Ohio. Larry Flynt started opening his own clubs called the Hustler Club in 1968 and started to build out his business to more locations. His infamous magazine started as a newsletter from his bars and morphed into a sexually-explicit hub for racy photographs, including the publishing of Jackie Kennedy sunbathing on vacation in a 1975 issue that got a lot of heat, but made him a millionaire.

The nature of his content led him to fall into a number of legal battles and caught the heat of feminists, such as The Glorias’ Gloria Steinem, against his call for free speech. In 1978, Flynt was shot by a sniper while entering a courthouse during one of his legal battles, and it paralyzed him from the waist down. The injury left him in constant pain that led to an amphetamine addiction that he ended up suffering a stroke from. Flynt also underwent a number of surgeries following the incident.

Larry Flynt also ran a number of strip clubs, produced pornographic movies and opened the Hustler Casino in 2000. Flynt was also vocal in the political realm, running for the governor of California and offering $1 million rewards to the public for information involving the conviction of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Mitt Romney’s tax returns in 2012. He also tried to get involved in the impeachment of President Donald Trump by offering a $10 million reward for evidence leading to his exit.

He was the subject of 1996’s The People vs. Larry Flynt, which starred Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love and Edward Norton. Larry Flynt cameoed in The People vs. Larry Flynt as an Ohio judge in the biopic about his life. The movie was warmly received by critics at the time, and was nominated for two Oscars. Woody Harrelson earned his only Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination for portraying Larry Flynt, which Geoffrey Rush ended up nabbing for Shine. The movie was also up for a Best Directing nomination, which went to Anthony Minghella for The English Patient.

CinemaBlend sends its condolences to the family of Larry Flynt following news of his death.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.