BERGENFIELD, N.J. -- Happy birthday to Bergenfield native Bob Guccione, who would have turned 86 on Saturday.
The founder of the adult magazine Penthouse in 1965, he was born Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini "Bob" Guccione on Dec. 17, 1930. He died on Oct. 20, 2010 when he was 79.
Guccione was raised in Bergenfield and was the son of Anthony and Nina Guccione. He went to high school at Blairstown Academy, a prep school in Blairstown, Class of 1948.
He married his first of four wives when he was 18 in 1948, and the couple had a daughter, Tonina. He left them to be an artist in Europe, remarrying Muriel from Londen in 1955. They had four children.
He got the idea to launch Penthouse while in London, where he arrived a decade earlier as just a struggling artist from New Jersey. He made his living sketching tourists and doing odd jobs. After marrying Muriel, he managed a chain of laundromats until he got work as a cartoonist with an American weekly newspaper. He also occasionally created cartoons for Bill Box's greeting card company, Box Cards.
Penthouse was launched to directly compete with Hugh Hefner's Playboy, but with more shock value. He broke pornographic taboos at the height of the sexual revolution.
He made billions before ending up heavy in debt from bad investments and Internet competition.
In 2003, Guccione’s publishers declared bankruptcy and he resigned as chairman.
He died of lung cancer in Plano, Tx.