Edit
Hunter S. Thompson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (7) | Trivia (40) | Personal Quotes (36)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 July 1937Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 20 February 2005Aspen, Colorado, USA  (suicide by gunshot)
Birth NameHunter Stockton Thompson
Nicknames Raoul Duke
Dr. Gonzo
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Hunter S. Thompson was born on July 18, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Hunter Stockton Thompson. He was married to Anita Thompson and Sondi Wright. He died on February 20, 2005 in Aspen, Colorado, USA.

Spouse (2)

Anita Thompson (24 April 2003 - 20 February 2005) (his death)
Sondi Wright (19 May 1963 - 1979) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (7)

Used a gold tipped cigarette holder, which was also a tar filter
RAF-style sunglasses
Novels often featured characters who were crazed and self-destructive
Novels often feature angry rants
Often featured characters based on himself and his experiences
Frequently wore hats to cover his bald head
His fast paced, clipped, slurred way of speaking

Trivia (40)

The character of "Duke" in Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" comic strip is based on him.
Lived next to Don Johnson.
On July 27, 2000, Thompson accidentally wounded his assistant, Deborah Fuller, with a shotgun while trying to scare a bear from his property in Aspen. He was cleared of criminal charges on August 3rd.
Charged with possessing child pornography and sexually assaulting former porn star Gail Palmer. An 11-hour search of his home in Woody Creek, Colorado, turned up insufficient evidence to prosecute him on either charge, and the DA dropped the case.
Thompson and Don Johnson, wrote a script for a 2-hour TV movie. "Bridges" was about an unstable cop battling alcoholism and drug addiction who works in L.A. with a short Latino partner and dates a mafia boss's daughter. NBC bought the script and turned it into the series Nash Bridges (1996).
Hunter Thompson and Sandra Dawn Thompson were married for almost 18 years. In that time, he wrote "Hells Angels" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", which were considered his two greatest books. Sandra's drug and alcohol habits led to several miscarriages; only one of her pregnancies produced a healthy baby, her now-grown son Juan. Eventually, the drugs sent Hunter into a depression that lasted for several years. The Thompsons fought a lot in that time, sometimes physically. Sandy took several beatings, and sometimes injured Hunter. When she told him she wanted a divorce, Hunter destroyed some of her possessions and burned the manuscripts she had been writing. Sandy called the sheriff, a family friend, who sent a deputy to her house to escort her into town. When the deputy asked Sandy if Hunter had any firearms in the house, she truthfully replied, "Yes, 22 of them, and every one is loaded".
Thompson wrote a weekly column, "Hey Rube", for ESPN.com's Page 2 from October 2000 to 2005. Shortly before his death, he wrote about 'inventing' a new sport: Shotgun Golf.
Ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, in 1969 on the Freak Power Party ticket, and narrowly lost.
Graduate of Louisville (Ky.) Male High School, class of 1955. He missed his graduation ceremony because he was in jail. Afterward, he joined the Air Force as a condition of his parole. He later bought a doctorate in Divinity from a church by mail order, and started calling himself Dr. Thompson.
Appeared on a 1967 broadcast of To Tell the Truth (1956) when his book detailing his experiences with the "Hell's Angels" was published.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 133, pp. 410-417. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Once sold a Cadillac Eldorado to Lyle Lovett.
Underground cartoonist turned comics and animation historian Scott Shaw based a recurring character in his works after Thompson: an anthropomorphic dog named "Pointer X. Toxin".
His will stipulated that his body be cremated and his ashes shot out of a 150-foot cannon his Colorado ranch. Journalist friend Troy Hooper said "He was a big fan of bonfires and explosions and anything that went bang, and I'm sure he'd like to go bang as well." His wishes were fulfilled on August 20, 2005, during a celebration of his life attended by Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Lyle Lovett, and other close friends and family. A cannon was specially constructed for the event.
His grandson, son of his only child Juan, was born 1998.
His second wife, Anita, was 35 years younger than him.
He was the basis for the character Spider Jerusalem in the comic series "Transmetropolitan" by Warren Ellis and Darik Robertson.
The band Avenged Sevenfold wrote the song "Bat Country" about him.
To improve his writing style, he once copied F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" word for word, from start to finish.
Rode a BSA A65 Lightning, most notably while researching his seminal book "Hell's Angels". He wrote that they beat him up toward the end of his time with them.
His favorite pastime was to load a barrel or oil drum with explosives and then shoot it from a safe distance with one of his many handguns.
After covering the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami for Rolling Stone, Thompson went for an evening swim in the ocean to clear his head. When a light tropical storm blew up, Thompson was caught in a riptide and swept out to sea. He spent the rest of the night fighting to swim back to the beach, finally crawling ashore at 9:00 A.M.
His son Juan graduated from college Magna Cum Laude.
At 15, he made an electric go-kart using a washing machine engine.
His mother was a chronic alcoholic.
He and two friends he robbed a liquor store by starting a fight with the clerks, then cleaning out the cash register in the confusion.
During his adolescence, he and 2 friends broke into and robbed the same Lexington, Ky. gas station on 3 consecutive nights.
Critics have often said that his writing style declined noticeably after his first wife, Sandy, divorced him.
When he lived in Big Sur in the early 1960s, he rode his BSA Lightning so much he was known as "The Wild One of Big Sur".
In 1987 he pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge in San Francisco.
When he lived in Big Sur in the early 1960s, his next door neighbor was Joan Baez.
When he lived in Big Sur in the early 1960s, a group of religious fanatics moved in next door. He got rid of them by nailing the head of a wild boar to their front door, and putting its entrails in their car.
One of the most widely quoted lines from tributes and obituaries to him was from one written by Frank Kelly Rich, editor and publisher of Modern Drunkard Magazine: "There was always a powerful comfort in knowing he was out there somewhere in the night, roaring drunk, guzzling high-octane whiskey and railing against a world amok with complacency and hypocrisy."
His lifelong antipathy for Richard Nixon was known by the former president, who barred him from the White House.
Following Richard Nixon's appearance in New Hampshire during the 1968 presidential campaign, he offered Thompson a lift to the airport on the condition that they would only talk about football. Thompson accepted, mostly because he thought Nixon knew nothing about the sport. Nixon turned out to be an avid fan.
Was a staunch opponent of the Iraq War in his later years.
Was extremely critical of the Bush administration. He once said "If Nixon were running, I would happily vote for him instead".
Shortly after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in Ketcham, Idaho, Thompson wrote an article titled, "What Lured Hemingway to Ketcham". Thompson concluded that Hemingway became depressed because all of his favorite haunts, such as Paris and Cuba, had changed, and all of his friends were dead or different. Therefore, Hemingway had nothing to live for.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 538-541. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
He had his first run-in with the law at age 9, when he and a group of friends knocked a federal mailbox in front of a city bus.

Personal Quotes (36)

(Concerning Garry Trudeau modeling the "Doonesbury" character "Duke" after him): "I've never met Garry Trudeau, but if I ever do, I'll set him on fire".
[Regarding Las Vegas from when he wrote "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas"] The city's frightening now. That's the basis of my reaction to Las Vegas. It's not the city I wrote about. It's not the same place at all. You'll notice that even the, what do you call them, milestone or trademark casinos are now gone.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
When I attended a press conference for Jimmy Carter, I signed more autographs than Carter did. The Secret Service agents didn't know who I was. They thought I was an astronaut.
[After the death of Richard Nixon in 1994] If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
[on Bill Clinton] It's almost embarrassing to talk about Clinton as if he were important. I'd almost prefer Nixon. I'd say Clinton is every bit as corrupt as Nixon, but a lot smoother.
The last train out of any station will not be full of nice guys.
The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it.
By any accepted standard, I have had more than nine lives. I counted them up once, and there were thirteen times when I should have died.
The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.
Some may never live, but the crazy never die.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people, including me, would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.
Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.
We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear: fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a terrorist sympathizer.
[about the Edge] There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why.
Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.
Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole lifestyle a crime in progress is not a happy prospect.
If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.
[About conservative politician/writer Pat Buchanan] "We disagree so violently on almost everything that it's a real pleasure to drink with him."
I have a theory that the truth is never told between 9-5 business hours.
Morality is temporary, wisdom is permanent.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
[About the September 11, 2001 attack] The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for peace in our time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: we are at war now, with somebody, and we will stay at war with that mysterious enemy for the rest of our lives.
It never got weird enough for me.
No one is stealing our freedoms, we're dealing them away.
[In a letter to a friend] "Yes, once in a while I smile for a picture. See enclosed. It was taken for a passport."
A group photo of the top ten journalists in America on any given day would be a monument to human ugliness.
Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be the President?
Being barred from the White House is like being banned from the Playboy Club. It carries with it a certain distinction.
Life is full of odd moments; you never know when you're gonna get defiant.
It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat sh*t and die.
Paranoia is just another word for ignorance.
The only difference between the Sane and the Insane is IN and yet within this word, the Sane have the power to have the Insane locked up.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!'.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page