Al Goldstein, Jewish King of Porn, Dies at 77

Pioneering Smut-Peddler Founded Screw Magazine

getty images

By JTA

Published December 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Alvin Goldstein, a pioneering pornographer who published Screw magazine and spent decades dodging obscenity convictions, has died.

wikipedia

Goldstein, whose Milky Way production company owned the long-running cable TV show “Midnight Blue,” died Thursday in Brooklyn. He was 77.

After a colorful early career that involved Army service, photojournalism, encyclopedia sales and industrial espionage, Goldstein launched Screw in 1968. The magazine’s primary innovation was its commitment to being “utterly tasteless,” Alan Dershowitz, who defended Goldstein in court, told The New York Times. Screw featured reviews of pornographic movies and brothels, as well as photo shoots of nude models.

His fights against obscenity charges included a legal battle with the Pillsbury company for depicting its Doughboy in a compromising position.

Over the decades, however, Goldstein found himself facing overwhelming competition as hardcore pornography became more mainstream, video and Internet pornography became ubiquitous, and free publications offered the same advertisements for services that had been Screw’s primary source of revenue. In 2003, a bankrupt Goldstein wound up in a homeless shelter and struggled to keep minimum-wage jobs in New York.

Married five times, Goldstein found himself estranged from his ex-wives and his son, Jordan. He spent his last years in a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was a Brooklyn native.

Over the course of a career that saw waning fortunes and diminishing magazine sales, Goldstein battled illness, financial ruin and family break-up.

When he was not invited to his only son’s graduation from Harvard law school in 2002, Goldstein lashed out at his ex-wife and the elite private university.

Screw folded in 2003. Once at the top of a multimillion-dollar porn publishing empire, Goldstein lost his Manhattan home and was forced to sell a Florida mansion that came outfitted with a large statue of a hand with the middle finger raised.

For a time in the mid 2000s, the former porn king took an hourly wage job at Manhattan’s famous 2nd Avenue Deli.

In 2002, Goldstein was sentenced to 60 days in jail for threatening a former employee and leaving obscene messages on her answering machine.

With Reuters


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.