Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse magazine died today of cancer at a hospital in Plano, Texas. No stranger to controversy, the eccentric former millionaire, broke taboos when he first started Penthouse magazine in London, England in 1965.
Born under the astrology of Sagittarius, he was a free spirited and adventure seeking soul. The idea of Penthouse was started with a bank loan of $1,170 dollars. The inspiration was to create a magazine to outdo Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire. The promotional brochure was sent out by accident to clergyman, schoolgirls, and wives of Parliment after they used an outdated mailing list. Of course, the recipients were outraged but it created a wave of publicity for Penthouse Magazine. All 120,000 copies of the magazine sold out within a few days.
Bob Guccione, an intriguing figure in the adult industry was considered to have a volatile personality. His former Executive Editor, Patricia Bosworth, wrote in a Vanity Fair article in 2005: “He was a mass of contradictions, engendering fierce loyalty and equally fierce contempt. He hired and fired people, then rehired them. He could be warm and funny one minute and cold and detached the next.” Yes, Sagittareans love to speak their mind.
Guccione married his long-time companion, Kathy Keeton, a native of South Africa. She died of cancer in 1997 following surgery, but Guccione continued to list her on the Penthouse masthead as President until he lost control of the magazine. He considered her the love of his life.
Bob Guccione was once listed in the Forbes 400 ranking of wealthiest people ($400 million net worth in 1982). In the last ten years of his life, it was riddled by IRS debt and in 2006 he lost his $50 million dollar mansion. One estranged from his son Bob Guccione Jr., the founder of Spin magazine, it was reported they recently reconciled over the last few years. Thoughts and prayers go out to Bob Guccione’s family and friends. Definitely a rebel in the adult industry. The funeral is expected to be held this weekend.