- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Pornographer and free-speech champion Larry Flynt died Wednesday.

Citing “family sources,” TMZ said the 78-year-old founder of the “Hustler” empire died of heart failure Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Mr. Flynt began “Hustler” as a deliberately raunchy magazine in 1974, which brought him instant fame and money and also numerous legal battles. It also almost cost him his life.

He spent the last 40-odd years of his life in a wheelchair after being left paralyzed in a 1978 shooting by multiple murderer Joseph Franklin.

His legal battles centered on the First Amendment and efforts to censor “Hustler,” most notoriously a libel lawsuit brought by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

That legal fight, centered around a parody ad in which “Falwell” said he’d lost his virginity with his mother in an outhouse, was portrayed in the 1996 movie ”The People vs. Larry Flynt,” in which Woody Harrelson played him.

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After their legal fight, the two men became friends and frequently appeared in public together and Mr. Flynt was one of the few liberal-leaning celebrities to speak well of Mr. Falwell upon his 2007 death.

Besides Hustler, Larry Flynt Publications also produces such magazines as “Barely Legal,” Hustler TV and pornographic videos.

He is survived by his fifth and current wife, Elizabeth Berrios, whom he married in 1998. He had six children, five of whom are living, and numerous grandchildren.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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