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Bob Guccione was a publisher of a variety of magazines, most notably the men's magazine Penthouse.
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He took an even bigger hit when the Commission on Pornography led by U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese released its report on the industry. Many retail outlets for Penthouse dropped it from their racks as a result, according to an article in Vanity Fair.
In 1987, Guccione got into a tussle with his own son, Bob Guccione, Jr., over the music magazine Spin. Launched two years earlier,
Bob Jr. served as its editor and publisher. The two clashed over the direction and ownership of the magazine—then the elder Guccione decided to fold the magazine. To keep the magazine he created alive, Bob Jr. found outside funding. The feud created a permanent rift between the two.
By the 1990s, Guccione faced a number of personal and professional challenges and losses. Penthouse readership was in decline, and he had to sell off or close several magazines. To raise funds, Guccione even had to sell many of the pieces in his art collection. In 1996, Omni and Longevity were no longer being produced as print products. An online version of Omni was tried, but it failed to take off. Also around this time, Keeton was battling breast cancer, a fight she lost in 1997.
After Keeton’s death, Guccione was never the same. While Penthouse was continuing to lose readers to other types of porn media, he had to face his own health crisis in 1998. He was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent an experimental laser treatment to destroy the tumors.
In 2003, Guccione’s company, General Media Inc., filed for bankruptcy. A creditor nearly evicted him from his New York City mansion the next year for failing to pay $24 million in debt. At the last minute, a deal was struck with creditors by Mexican soft-drink heir Luis Molina to cover the debt. Guccione, his girlfriend April Warren, and his trademark Rhodesian ridgeback dogs were able to remain in the home in 2006. But his upstate estate was seized, and he sold its contents at auction to raise funds.
A group of private investors, including Marc H. Bell and Daniel Staton, bought Penthouse in 2004. Initially, Guccione was going to stay on as a consultant, but the two parties were unable to reach an agreement. Penthouse is now published by the Penthouse Media Group Inc.
Since leaving his beloved media empire, Guccione has returned to his first great passion, painting. Married four times, he had a daughter, Toni, from his first marriage and two sons, Bob Jr. and Nick, and a daughter, Nina, from his second marriage.
After a battle with cancer, Bob Guccione died on October 20, 2010 in Plano, Texas at the age of 79.
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