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|
|Spouse(s)||Larry Flynt (m. 1976–87)|
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 her siblings were later put into an orphanage in Xenia, Ohio where she remained and she claimed she was molested by the nuns her entire tenure there until she ran away as a teenager.
She met Larry 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 she was involved with the development, management and publication of the magazine throughout their 11-year marriage; she ran the magazine and kept it afloat during Larry's brief return to religion in 1977; subsequent near-fatal shooting; multiple bouts with bi-polar disorder; and 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, California 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
- Gorney, Cynthia (6 July 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 22 November 2013.
- Chalmers, Robert (22 February 2004). "Larry Flynt: The trouble with Larry". The Independent. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- Abdulali, Sohaila (15 July 1987). "The Life & Death Of Althea Flynt The Porn King's Wife Stick By Him To The End". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Robbins, Ira (June 6, 1997). "The People vs. Larry Flynt". ew.com. Retrieved 22 November 2013.