Larry Flynt, the controversial publisher who founded Hustler magazine, has died at the age of 78

His daughter Theresa Flynt confirmed to NBC News that she was with his wife with her father when he died Wednesday morning at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles

Flynt launched “Hustler,” a print expansion of its adult club of the same name featuring nude hostesses in the 1970s. As pornographic publications grew in popularity, Flynt became the target of critics who labeled the magazine obscene

The porn magnate’s ensuing litigation over the content of his magazine is now considered landmark cases of free speech. Flynt fiercely defended his right to publish under prosecution and threats against his life

Flynt was shot and killed in 1978 while leaving the Gwinnett County, Georgia courthouse where he was tried for distributing obscene materials. The attack left Flynt hip down and the judge declared a mistrial

Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer and self-proclaimed white supremacist, claimed he shot Flynt and attorney Gene Reeves even though a shooter was never identified or convicted

Rev Jerry Falwell sued Flynt in 1983 after Hustler posted a satirical ad alleging Falwell had a drunken incestuous relationship with his mother in an outhouse >
In a historic First Amendment case, Flynt appealed to the Supreme Court and won. The judges agreed that parodies of public figures are protected idioms and that Falwell cannot seek compensation for emotional distress

“If we were to say otherwise, there could be little doubt that political cartoonists and satirists would receive damages without demonstrating that their work falsely defamed their subject,” wrote Chief Justice William Rehnquist in his statement on the case

Flynt’s corporate empire, comprised of Larry Flynt Publications and Flynt Management Group, had humble roots in the 1960s when he bought a bar in Dayton, Ohio, where his mother worked, and expanded it into a chain of adult clubs he called Hustler

“Hustler” magazine originally started as a newsletter for its clubs but grew in popularity and volume, becoming a rival to Playboy magazine Flynt but gained national fame after posting nude photos of former first lady Jacqueline Onassis, which were picked up by the paparazzi

His life has been the subject of films and books, including the 1996 biopic The People vs. Larry FlyntWoody Harrelson was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997 for his portrayal of Flynt in film

Larry Flynt

World News – USA – Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler magazine, dies at the age of 78