It’s amazing how much you can cram into 78 years on earth.
Larry Flynt witnessed the death of his sister aged four, joined the army with a fake passport aged 15, bootlegged alcohol at 16, enlisted with the U.S. Navy at 18 and brought his first nightclub at 23.
The success of The Keewee, which he purchased from his mother, enabled Flynt to make enough money to buy another licensed premise – which he named The Hustler Club. And the rest, as they say, is history, as the second half of his life would take him into pornography, politics, casino ownership and even a failed assassination attempt.
It was announced on Thursday that Flynt had passed away at the age of 78, and that brought an end to the life of a man whose story reads like an incredible piece of fiction – but all of the above and the below is completely true!
A Hustling Man
With his nightclub ventures stalling in popularity, Flynt wanted to spread the word about his business and so he created the Hustler Newsletter, a pamphlet that advertised events and offers in his various clubs.
But faced with bankruptcy, he had to make a decision to save his business empire and so he struck the idea of turning the Hustler Newsletter into a sexually explicit magazine – the first edition going on sale in July 1974.
He reached national notoriety when he published nude photographs of Jaqueline Kennedy, the wife of president JFK, who was papped while sunbathing in her garden. That edition sold more than one million copies in little over 24 hours, and Flynt became a millionaire shortly after.
However, not everyone took kindly to the nature of his publication, and Flynt was forced to defend himself in a number of obscenity trials. And it was at one of these that his life would change forever….
Attending a court in Georgia, Flynt and his legal representative Gene Reeves were shot by a gunman, who fled through an alleyway. It was later confirmed that the shooter was Joseph Paul Franklin, who went on to become a serial killer in the 1970s and 80s who was subsequently executed by lethal injection.
Flynt suffered life-threatening injuries in the shooting, and was left confined to a wheelchair – which he had gold plated – for the rest of his life after a bullet passed through his spinal cord.
Hustler continued both in magazine and video form, and Flynt gained a new lease of life when he opened his first casino in Los Angeles in the year 2000.
While he loved casino gaming in its own right, Flynt wanted to create a more luxurious atmosphere in and around the tables – The Hustler Casino, as it was unsurprisingly named – still lays claim to being ‘Los Angeles’ only luxury casino’ to this day.
The California Gambling Control Commission granted Flynt a licence to operate a card room and numerous other gaming stations at his Gardena property, which he acquired for $8 million in 1998.
In February 2007, an expansion of the venue saw the Crystal Room open, which remains a notorious host of high stakes poker games to this day. The annual seven-card stud game that Flynt hosted is believed to be the most expensive in the world, with a minimum buy-in of $200,000 and pre-deal stakes starting from $4,000. Phil Ivey, the celebrated WSOP winner, is a regular attendee.
The Hustler is still open today, with blackjack, baccarat and poker readily enjoyed.