Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione dies at 79
Another '80s icon passes away. Okay, so Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione wasn't exactly John Hughes. But in 1984, he gave us Vanessa Williams in the buff, bringing down Miss America in the wake. (The same edition featured the first pictorial of an actress known as Traci Lords, but that's another story.)
Nevermind that Williams probably never signed any consent form and had the photos taken a few years prior to her ascent to the pageant's throne, it was a huge scandal nonetheless. (One that netted Guccione a fortune in the process.)
In these current days and 24-hour-a-day celebrity watching and cheering at personal disasters, it all seems a little silly and innocent. But that's the '80s for you sometimes.
Guccione died Wednesday at age 79 after a long battle with cancer. His wife, April Dawn Warren Guccione, and two of his children were by his side at his Plano, Texas home, says the New York Daily News.
Though he was sometimes referred to as the "king of sleaze," Guccione saw himself differently. To him, publishing Penthouse was a way of keeping the government honest by fighting censorship and exercising his constitutional rights to their limits.
"My father, it was his mission in life to create Penthouse Magazine and it was his mission to adhere to principles and freedom of speech, which he manifested far more in attacking the Nixon administration and going after Jimmy Carter, Reagan, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, much more so than breaking any nudity barrier," he said in a 2009 interview. "The biggest thing missing today in media is romance. Who are the romantics? I’m clearly one of them, but there aren’t enough."