Larry Flynt, one of America’s most notorious pornographers and self-proclaimed champions of First Amendment freedoms who founded “Hustler” magazine, died Feb. 10 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 78.
His brother, Jimmy Flynt confirmed the death to The Washington Post but did not cite a specific cause.
Larry Flynt had suffered from a slew of health problems since a 1978 murder attempt that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The controversial mogul was known for his myriad legal battles involving free speech and pornography regulations. He was repeatedly sued, prosecuted, jailed for contempt, gagged for obscene outbursts in court.
Flynt was portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the Oscar-nominated 1996 film, “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” which chronicled the pornographer’s life, including his court clash with televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr. over a parody ad. That case turned into a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1988 against public figures.
The court held that even patently offensive speech directed at “public figures” such as Falwell was constitutionally protected, as long as it did not purport to be factual.
Born in Kentucky in 1942 and raised in poverty, Flynt grew “Hustler,” a monthly magazine launched in the early 1970s, into a sprawling business made up of websites, casinos, a TV network and a licensing division believed to be worth as much as $500 million in 2014.