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Larry Flynt

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Born on November 1, 1942, Larry Flynt was raised in Lakeville, a small isolated community in the hills of Magoffin County in eastern Kentucky. He had a sister named Judy who died in 1951 from leukemia at age five, and a brother, Jimmy, born in 1948. His parents separated when he was ten, and he moved with his mother and brother to Hamlet, Indiana. Flynt ran away from home at age 16 in 1958 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Discharged a year later, he took odd jobs as a farm picker, dishwasher and manual laborer. Moving on to Dayton, Ohio, he enlisted in the US Navy in 1960 and worked as a radar operator on the USS Enterprise until October 1962. After his discharge in 1964, he was married for a time while trying to open his own bar in Dayton, selling his own moonshine whiskey; he also opened another bar that same year. His next experiment in strip clubs proved more of a success, in particular the Hustler Club which opened in 1968. By 1971 Flynt owned a string of Hustler strip clubs all over Ohio, in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Akron. During that period he had affairs with three strippers, resulting in a child by each of them. By 1973 he owned eight Hustler clubs with annual incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 each. Wanting to expand his empire, he decided to publish his own girlie magazine, "Hustler", named after his clubs. The first issue came out in July 1974 and was instantly a hit, owing to its detailed pornographic descriptions of women. After a few months, however, sales dipped to a low point, resulting in bankruptcy by 1975, although candid photographs of a nude Jacqueline Kennedy--at that time Jackie Kennedy Onassis--published in August 1975 put Hustler back in the national spotlight. Flynt's controversial and unconventional ways earned him both respect and hatred from a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations, including many feminists who found the articles in Hustler misogynist, offensive and demeaning. He continued having affairs with various women, including a model named Althea Leasure (1953-1987), whom he married in August 1976. Charged in February of 1977 with obscenity and organized crime ties, he was tried in Cincinnati and convicted of all charges, although the verdict was later overturned on appeal due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and judicial and jury bias. Flynt's legal hassles brought him to the attention of Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of President Jimmy Carter, who inspired him to make a career turn. Becoming a born-again Christian, Flynt soon included religion in his Hustler issues, which infuriated Christian and religious fundamentalist groups. He abandoned his faith in March 1978 when he was shot by a sniper outside a courthouse in Lawrenceville, Georgia, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down (as it turned out, the shooter--a neo-Nazi white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin took offense at several photo spreads in Hustler depicting black men having simulated sex with white women and stalked Flynt until he had a chance to shoot him). With daily death threats against him, and the police both unwilling and unable to protect him, Flynt moved his publishing company from Ohio to Los Angeles at the end of 1978, living in a huge mansion in Bel Air with Althea. Wracked by constant back pain from internal injuries as a result of the gunshot wounds, and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he lived almost as a recluse, seldom venturing outside his house unless accompanied by several burly, armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards. Addicted to painkillers, Flynt took Valium, Percodan, Percocette, Librium, Demerol, morphine and Dialdud pills and injections on a daily basis. In 1980 he suffered a near-fatal stroke caused by one of several overdoses of his analgesic medications; he recovered but has had speech pronunciation difficulties since. In 1983 he underwent the first of a series of DREZ laser surgeries on his back to repair the damage to the nerve center around his bullet wounds (the second was in 1987, the third in 1994), which slowly cured him of his back pain and his painkiller addiction. Flynt continued his practice of bringing lawsuits against various parties, one of which, in November 1983, involved his ownership of a videotape showing the real nature of the arrest and entrapment of car entrepreneur John DeLorean for drug trafficking. Flynt then (and to this day) refused to disclose how he came to acquire the videotape and was sentenced to 15 months in a mental hospital for contempt of court. During his stay in the hospital, he was clinically diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, which is responsible for his unpredictable verbal outbursts and fits of rage in which he remains on medication to this day. That same month Hustler magazine published an article lampooning Christian fundamentalist televangeliswt Jerry Falwell, a longtime opponent of Flynt's polices; the article portrayed Falwell as a drunkard who had committed incest with his mother. Flynt was flown to Virginia in December 1984 after Falwell filed a $45-million civil suit against him. After a week-long trial, a jury ruled that Flynt was not liable for the article, but published it deliberately to cause emotional distress, and awarded Falwell $200,000. Flynt took his appeal against the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in December 1987, and the verdict was overturned two months later. Flynt's marriage to Althea deteriorated when she was diagnosed with AIDS in 1983, aggravated by her drug addiction. She died in June 1987 at age 33 from drowning in her bathtub following a heroin overdose. Flynt continues running his publishing company, Flynt Publications, in Los Angeles, and to this day is both hated and admired by many.  See full bio on IMDb »

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