Al Goldstein, who once sat atop a multi-million dollar fortune, is the pioneering smut peddler best known for his porno mag, Screw, and his long-running cable access show, Midnight Blue.
Goldstein, a Brooklynner who describes himself as a "a fat Jewish kid who jerked off daily just to make sure the pipes were working and dreamt about the world that existed over the Williamsburg Bridge," worked numerous odd jobs before starting up Screw with $150 in 1968. One of the adult entertainment industry's modern day pioneers along with Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner, Goldstein built the weekly rag (its motto: "The World's Greatest Newspaper") into a local media institution, developing a rep not only for exceedingly lurid content but also for his frequent First Amendment court battles and vicious attacks on his enemies. The '70s were Goldstein's heyday: Screw sold half a million copies when it featured nude photos of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1973. But Goldstein's porn empire started to unravel as the adult newspaper industry went by the wayside in the '90s.
The porn king's ultimate undoing, though, came in 2002, when he was convicted of harassing a former employee and landed in prison. Suffering from numerous health problems and with his empire in tatters, Goldstein's rag went belly-up a year later (Screw has since been re-launched under new management) and the down-on-his-luck adult impresario resorted to taking a job as a greeter at Second Avenue Deli. (He was fired after it was discovered he was homeless and sleeping in the restaurant's basement.) The publication of his 2006 memoir, I, Goldstein, earned him a few bucks, but he says he's still looking for full-time work. If you happen to have a job for a fat Jewish cigar smoking ex-con, you can email him at email@example.com.
Goldstein's financial woes forced him to sell his West 61st Street townhouse and his Pompano Beach, Florida mansion (along with the 11-foot-tall raised middle finger statue that sat in the backyard.) During his quasi-homeless period, at one point he slept in a borrowed car behind a Boston Market in Florida. He currently lives in a Staten Island apartment paid for by magician Penn Jillette.
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