(PLANO, Texas) -- Bob Guccione, the founder of the provocative men's magazine Penthouse, has died at a hospital in Plano, Texas after a long battle with cancer. The publisher started the magazine in 1965, billed as a more artistic and more graphic competitor to Hugh Hefner's Playboy, which started in 1953.
The magazine, and Guccione's fortunes, rose and fell through the years. In 1982, he made the Forbes 400 ranking of America's wealthiest people, with a net worth of $400 million. He was quoted as saying his magazine had earned billions in its heyday, but in his later years his fortune was drained by bad investments, back taxes, and expensive mainstream publishing ventures like the former science magazine, Omni.
In 2002, Guccione's personal fine art collection was sold to try to pay his debts. In 2006, he was forced to sell his 22,000-square-foot New York City mansion. He and his wife, April Guccione, moved to Texas in 2009. His son, Bob Guccione, Jr., is best known for creating the music magazine Spin.
The Penthouse name, magazine, and affiliate websites are now owned by another company which purchased the brand at a bankruptcy sale.
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