Penthouse Founder Guccione Dies at 79

Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione died Wednesday in Texas at the age of 79. His wife said he battled lung cancer for many years, although no specific cause of death was given. Guccione was born and raised in England, and he studied to become an artist. He founded Penthouse in 1965 in England to subsidize his art career and was the magazine’s first photographer, later bringing the magazine to the U.S. in 1969. Guccione wanted to create a magazine that was, well, more than Playboy—and he succeeded in having more explicit nudes, more sensational stories, and even outrageous letters that made the phrase “Dear Penthouse” famous. In 1982, Guccione was named one of Forbes’ 400 wealthiest people in the world and had an estimated net worth of $400 million that year. Guccione himself estimated Penthouse made $4 billion during his time as editor, but his wealth declined, and by 2004, a Florida firm acquired the magazine in a bankruptcy sale.