Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione passed away at the age of 79. The Guccione family issued a statement and confirmed he died Wednesday in a suburban Dallas hospital due to cancer.
Before starting up Penthouse, Bob Guccione entered the seminary and spent several years trying to make ends meet as an artist. When that didn’t work out, he came out with Penthouse. His creation was something new and the magazine is self-described as “the magazine of sex, politics and protest.” It quickly began to give the more wholesome Playboy a run for its money with its racy photos and tabloid journalism. Guccione explained his point of view to London’s The Independent in 2004, “We followed the philosophy of voyeurism.” He further explained his goal of capturing “stylized eroticism” by posing models so they’re not looking directly into the camera. He added that he attained a stylized eroticism in his photography by posing his models looking away from the camera. “To see her as if she doesn’t know she’s being seen,” he explained, “That was the sexy part. That was the part that none of our competition understood.”
Penthouse became a cash cow and Bob Guccione had estimated that it earned $4 billion while he was publisher. Sadly though, he lost most of his personal fortune in bad investments. Back in 1982 though, Guccione made the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of around $400 million.
Penthouse was also known for the Miss America scandal of 1984 when they published Vanessa Williams in the nude. As the first black woman to win the crown, it was quite a blow to have to give it back after the issue hit newsstands. Although devastating to Vanessa Williams, the issue made $14 million.
Bob Guccione was survived by his wife April Dawn Warren Guccione and his 5 children.