Bob Guccione, Founder of Penthouse magazine, Died at 79

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Dead, Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini Guccione on October 20, 2010 at the age of 79, known as Bob Guccione, he was the founder of the adult magazine Penthouse in 1965.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 17, 1930 of Sicilian descent, and raised Catholic in Bergenfield, New Jersey.

His father, Anthony, was an accountant and his mother, Nina, was a housewife.

He considered but rejected entering the priesthood. He attended high school at Blair Academy, a prep school in Blairstown, New Jersey.

Penthouse began publication in 1965 in England and in North America in 1969, an attempt to compete with Hugh Hefner’s Playboy.

Guccione offered editorial content that was more sensational and the magazine’s writing was far more investigative than other men’s magazines, with stories about government cover-ups and scandals.

Writers such as Craig S. Karpel, James Dale Davidson and Ernest Volkman, as well as the critically acclaimed Seymour Hersh, exposed numerous scandals and corruption at the highest levels of the United States Government.

The magazine was founded on humble beginnings.

Due to his lack of resources, Guccione personally photographed most of the models for the magazine’s early issues.

In 1976, Guccione used about US $17.5 million of his personal fortune to finance the controversial historical epic pornographic film, Caligula, with Malcolm McDowell in the title role and a supporting cast including Helen Mirren, John Gielgud and Peter O’Toole.

The film, released in late 1979, was produced in Italy (made at the Dear Studios in Rome) and was directed by Tinto Brass.

Guccione also created the magazines Omni, Viva, and Longevity.

Later Guccione started Penthouse Forum which was more textual in content.

In the early 2000s, Penthouse published a short-lived comic book spin-off entitled Penthouse Comix featuring sexually explicit stories. Guccione married his long-time companion, South African native Kathy Keeton, in 1988.

It was his third marriage. In 1997, Keeton died of complications from surgery to remedy an obstruction in her digestive tract after a long battle with cancer.

She was 58. In her last few months, Keeton befriended an ex-model named April Dawn Warren, and gossip maintained that Warren was Keeton’s hand-picked successor. After a long engagement, he and Warren wed in 2006 and they remained together until his death.

Guccione continued to list Keeton on the Penthouse masthead posthumously as President, but later added Warren to the masthead after she had spent ten years as creative director of the magazine.

In 2003, Guccione’s company, General Media Inc., filed for bankruptcy. A creditor nearly evicted him from his New York City mansion the next year for failing to pay $24 million in debt.

At the last minute, a deal was struck with creditors by Mexican soft-drink heir Luis Molina to cover the debt.

Guccione, his girlfriend April Warren, and his trademark Rhodesian ridgeback dogs were able to remain in the home in 2006.

But his upstate estate was seized, and he sold its contents at auction to raise funds. A group of private investors, including Marc H. Bell and Daniel Staton, bought Penthouse in 2004.

Initially, Guccione was going to stay on as a consultant, but the two parties were unable to reach an agreement.

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