Bob Guccione Bob Guccione

Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione has died. He was 79.

Guccione died at Plano Specialty Hospital in Plano, Texas, his family said in a statement to The Associate Press. He battled lung cancer for several years.

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Guccione started his magazine in England in 1965 in order to pay for his art career. He brought the magazine to the U.S. four years later, hoping to one-up Playboy by focusing on voyeurism. "To see her as if she doesn't know she's being seen.  That was the sexy part, Guccione told The Independent in London, in 2004. "That was the part that none of our competition understood."

 In 1984, Penthouse published nude pictures of Vanessa Williams after she was chosen as Miss America. She was famously forced to relinquish her crown due to the nature of the photos.

Guccione also made waves with one his largest business failures, an investment in the 1979 X-rated film, Caligula. The film, which starred Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, and Peter O'Toole was a box-office bomb that critics panned it for its gratuitous sex scenes.

Guccione married four times. He has a daughter, Tonina, from his first marriage, and three sons, Bob Jr., Tony, and Nick, and daughter, Nina, from his second marriage. He married his fourth wife, April, in 2006.