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Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher and First Amendment activist, has died


Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher and First Amendment activist, has died

Larry Flynt, the pornographer who launched Hustler magazine in 1974 and became a fierce First Amendment activist, has died of heart failure. He was 78. Hustler was far more explicit than the likes of Playboy and one infamous issue featured an illustration of a woman going through a meat grinder. Flynt and the magazine fought numerous legal battles resulting from obscenity charges. From The First Amendment Encyclopedia:

In his first major trial in Cincinnati in 1977, Flynt was championed by celebrities who took out an advertisement in the New York Times that likened his situation to that of a Soviet dissident.

He was fighting another charge in a Georgia courthouse in 1978 when he was ambushed and shot, allegedly for publishing explicit photographs of a mixed-race couple. One bullet shattered Flynt's spine and left him in constant pain.

Flynt, who proudly refers to himself as a "smut peddler," spent millions on legal fees in the decades he ran Hustler. His most famous legal case involved Jerry Falwell, founder of the right-wing group Moral Majority.

In 1983, Hustler ran a liquor advertisement parody suggesting that Falwell had lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse. Falwell sued, saying he suffered emotional distress.

In Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988), the Supreme Court invalidated a lower court's $200,000 damage award and ruled that a public figure cannot recover damages stemming from a satirical attack. The decision demonstrated that the adult entertainment industry is frequently in the vanguard of First Amendment free speech court battles that affect the wider culture. Flynt has also spent much of his time and fortune on exposing hypocrisy among the guardians of public morals.

Larry Flynt -- the famous and controversial publisher known for launching a porn empire -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

Family sources tell us the mogul passed Wednesday morning in Los Angeles from heart failure.

For nearly 50 years, Flynt's been one of the biggest names in the adult entertainment industry. He launched "Hustler" magazine in 1974, which brought him fame and fortune as it skyrocketed in popularity ... and also brought countless legal issues.

Flynt's magazine and notoriety also led to him being shot in 1978 in a murder attempt by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin. The shooting left Larry paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, and he suffered from constant pain and other medical issues as a result.

Along with being the name behind the Hustler brand, Flynt's the president of Larry Flynt Publications ... which produces other magazines like "Barely Legal," pornographic videos and Hustler TV.

He also opened the famous Hustler Casino near L.A. in 2000.

Flynt dabbled in politics, controversially of course, by attempting a brief presidential run in 1984 and running for Governor of California in the 2003 recall election. He also weighed in during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial by offering $1 million for evidence of sexual transgressions to publish his "The Flynt Report."

As for his personal life ... Flynt was married 5 times. He married his current wife, Elizabeth Berrios, in 1998. He has 5 daughters and a son, along with many grandchildren and great-grandkids.

Larry was 78.



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