Bob Guccione, the founder and long-time editor of American magazine 'Penthouse', has died aged 79 after a battle with lung cancer, reports the Associated Press. A statement issued by his family said that Guccione had died at the Plano Speciality Hospital in Texas yesterday (October 20th 2010)
Guccione launched 'Penthouse' in 1969 as a more explicit competitor to Hugh Hefner's 'Playboy'. The venture proved hugely successful, and in 1982, Forbes estimated that his fortune amounted to $400m. The 1984 September issue of the magazine, which featured photographs of the then 'Miss America' Vanessa Williams, sold almost 6 million copies. However, the publication's circulation slowly began to decline and in 2003 the publishing company for the magazine, General Media, was declared bankrupted, leading to Guccione resigning as chairman of the board and CEO.
The publisher produced the controversial 1979 movie 'Caligula', which starred Helen Mirren, PETER O'TOOLE, and Malcolm McDowell. Guccione also financed the film, and directed the sex scenes. He is survived by his fourth wife, April, as well as his two daughters, and three sons. His eldest son, BOB GUCCIONE JR, founded the music magazine 'Spin', in 1985.