Larry Flynt was an American publisher and the president of Larry Flynt Publications (LFP). He fought several high-profile legal battles involving the First Amendment, and unsuccessfully ran for public office. Larry Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down due to injuries sustained in a 1978 assassination attempt by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin. In 2003, Arena magazine listed him at No. 1 on the "50 Powerful People in Porn" list.
During the early months of 1965, Flynt utilized $1,800 from his personal savings to acquire his mother's bar located in Dayton, Ohio. With meticulous renovations, he swiftly transformed it into a thriving establishment, generating a remarkable weekly income of $1,000. Driven by his ambition, Flynt reinvested his profits to expand his business ventures by purchasing two additional bars. Dedication fueled his relentless work ethic as he devoted up to 20 hours per day to his enterprises, relying on amphetamines to sustain wakefulness.
With a visionary mindset, Flynt made the bold choice to establish a sophisticated and pioneering establishment known as the Hustler Club. This innovative venture introduced the concept of nude hostess dancers, marking the first of its kind in the region. From 1968 onwards, supported by his brother Jimmy and later his girlfriend Althea Leasure, Flynt successfully launched Hustler Clubs in various Ohio cities, including Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo. The flourishing success of each club quickly translated into annual gross revenues ranging between $260,000 and $520,000.
In January 1972, Flynt introduced the Hustler Newsletter, a concise two-page publication centered around his clubs. Its initial reception among his clientele was so remarkable that by May 1972, Flynt decided to expand the newsletter, expanding it to 16 pages. Recognizing its growing demand and popularity, he further expanded it to a robust 32 pages by August 1973. As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, the American economy entered recession and the revenues of Hustler Clubs declined. He decided to turn the Hustler Newsletter into a sexually explicit magazine with national distribution.
In July 1974, the inaugural edition of Hustler magazine hit the stands. While the initial issues didn't attract much attention, within a year, the publication experienced a remarkable surge in popularity, becoming highly profitable and enabling Flynt to settle his tax debts. Flynt's close friend Al Goldstein acknowledged that Hustler drew inspiration from Goldstein's own tabloid Screw, but he credited Flynt for achieving what he himself had not: the creation of a nationally recognized publication. In a significant milestone, the November 1974 issue of Hustler featured the introduction of "pink-shots," the first publication to showcase explicit photographs of open vulvas.
In a short span of time, Flynt encountered a paparazzo who had captured photographs of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis during a nude sunbathing session on her 1971 vacation. Recognizing the significance of these images, Flynt acquired them for a sum of $18,000 and decided to publish them in the August 1975 edition of his magazine. The release of this particular issue garnered immense public interest, resulting in the sale of one million copies within a matter of days. With his newfound wealth, Flynt ascended to millionaire status and invested in a lavish $375,000 mansion.
During an ongoing legal dispute concerning obscenity in Gwinnett County, Georgia, a distressing incident unfolded on March 6, 1978. On a Lawrenceville sidewalk, Joseph Paul Franklin aimed his weapon and fired at Flynt and his lawyer. Tragically, Flynt sustained severe injuries that resulted in partial paralysis and permanent damage to his spinal cord, ultimately confining him to a wheelchair. The repercussions of the shooting forever altered Flynt's physical capabilities.
Flynt was married five times. Flynt had four daughters and a son, as well as many grandchildren. Flynt died from heart failure in Los Angeles on February 10, 2021, at age 78.