Althea Flynt in 1980
November 6, 1953
Marietta, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||June 27, 1987
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Accidental drowning|
|Resting place||Flynt family plot, Salyersville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Larry Flynt (m. 1976–1987)|
Althea Leasure was born November 6, 1953, in Marietta, Ohio. Althea and her four siblings, Sherry, Debbie, Marsha and Richard, came from an abusive home. When Althea was eight, her father Richard shot and killed her mother, June, her grandfather, and June's best friend, before fatally shooting himself. Althea's grandmother was present during the incident, but survived by hiding in the nearby creek.
Althea and three of her siblings were later put into the OSSO Home (Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage) in Xenia, Ohio, which she ran away from many times because she was very unhappy after being sexually molested when sent to possible adoptor's homes.
She met Larry Flynt at age 17 in 1971, when she applied for a job as a go-go dancer at his Hustler club in Columbus, Ohio. They were married on August 21, 1976. She was Hustler's first life-size centerfold, and as Publisher/Editor was involved with the development, management and publication of the magazine until her untimely death; she ran the magazine and kept it afloat during Larry's "born again" experience brought on by a psychotic bi-polar manic episode in 1977; subsequent near-fatal shooting in Georgia; multiple bouts with bi-polar disorder which also led to his campaign for President of the United States in 1984.
In the mid-1980s, Althea planned a new non-pornographic magazine called The Rage, to focus on the punk subculture. The Rage was ultimately abandoned due to the expense of Flynt's 1984 presidential run.
In 1982 Althea began using the drugs that Larry was prescribed for pain after he was shot in 1978, and developed an addiction. She was diagnosed with AIDS in 1983; Flynt stated that she contracted the disease from a blood transfusion during a hysterectomy, and that she always used clean needles when using drugs.
Althea died at age 33 when she drowned in the bathtub at the couple's Bel-Air mansion in Los Angeles on June 27, 1987. According to reports, she passed out from a prescription drug overdose and drowned. Her husband, however, states that at the time she was in the advanced stages of AIDS and would have died within that year, regardless. At that point he was taking care of her and claims that she was practically bedridden.
In popular culture
- Flynt 2008, p. 108.
- Gorney, Cynthia (July 6, 1987). "The Brief, Hot Flame of Althea Flynt; The Hustler Publisher's Wife, Her Turbulent Life and Mysterious Death". The Washington Post. p. Style D1. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Chalmers, Robert (February 22, 2004). "Larry Flynt: The trouble with Larry". The Independent. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Abdulali, Sohaila (July 15, 1987). "The Life & Death Of Althea Flynt The Porn King's Wife Stick By Him To The End". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- Robbins, Ira (June 6, 1997). "The People vs. Larry Flynt". ew.com. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Flynt, Larry (2008). An Unseemly Man: My Life as Pornographer, Pundit, and Social Outcast. Phoenix Books. ISBN 978-1-597-77576-2.