Althea Flynt Biography

Althea Flynt, also known as Althea Leasure, was an influential American magazine publisher and the wife of Larry Flynt, a renowned pornography publisher. Together, they co-published the widely recognized pornographic magazine, ‘Hustler.’ Althea’s upbringing was marked by tragedy and adversity, having grown up in an abusive home and experiencing the devastating loss of her mother, grandfather, and father at a young age. Raised in the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage, she faced further challenges, including sexual molestation, which led her to repeatedly run away from potential adoptive families. At the age of 17, Althea crossed paths with Larry and began working as a go-go dancer at his Hustler club in Columbus, Ohio. Her journey with the magazine continued as she became the first life-size centrefold and eventually assumed the roles of publisher and editor. However, Althea’s life took a tragic turn in the early 1980s when she battled drug addiction and was later diagnosed with AIDS. Sadly, she passed away at the young age of 33 due to accidental drowning.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Althea Leasure
  • Died At Age: 33
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Larry Flynt (m. 1976–1987)
    • Father: Richard Leasure
    • Mother: June Leasure
    • Siblings: Debbie Leasure, Marsha Leasure, Richard Leasure, Sherry Leasure
  • American Women
  • Died on: June 27, 1987
  • Place of death: Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • U.S. State: Ohio: Drug Overdose
  • Cause of Death: Drowning

Childhood & Early Life

Althea Leasure was born on November 6, 1953, in Marietta, Ohio. She was one of the five children of June and Richard Leasure, with one brother and three sisters. However, Althea had a difficult childhood. Her father tragically shot her mother, her maternal grandfather, and one of her mother’s friends before taking his own life. Althea’s grandmother managed to escape to safety. As a result of these traumatic events, Althea and three of her siblings were sent to live at the OSSO Home. Althea later revealed that she ran away from the center multiple times after experiencing sexual abuse at the homes of potential adopters.


In 1971, Althea met Larry, who interviewed her for a job as a go-go dancer at his Hustler club in Columbus, Ohio. At the time, Althea was 17 and Larry was 29. They got married five years later in 1976. Larry named his new pornographic magazine ‘Hustler’ after his club, and Althea became the model on the life-size centrefold in the inaugural edition. Over time, she took on more responsibilities and became the magazine’s publisher and editor, overseeing its development, management, and publication departments.

In 1977, Larry claimed to have had a vision from God during a flight with evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton. He began referring to himself as a born-again Christian and underwent a “conversion” ceremony. During this period, Althea played a crucial role in keeping the magazine successful and popular.

On March 6, 1978, Larry was shot by a sniper while walking towards a courthouse in Georgia. The shooting left him partially paralyzed. Despite this, Althea continued to run the Flynt empire and took care of Larry at home. Larry was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ran for the United States Presidential election in 1984. During this time, Althea had plans to launch a new magazine called ‘The Rage,’ focusing on the punk subculture. However, Larry’s political ambitions took precedence, and the plan for the new magazine was abandoned.

Between the shooting and subsequent surgeries, Larry experienced constant pain and was prescribed painkillers. Althea also began using these drugs and both of them became addicted. In 1983, Althea discovered that she had AIDS, which Larry believed she contracted from a blood transfusion during a hysterectomy. Her health began to decline, and despite Larry’s own physical limitations, he cared for her during her last years.

Final Years & Death

Althea passed away on June 27, 1987, at their home in Los Angeles, California. She drowned in the bathtub after overdosing on drugs and accidentally passing out. Larry later revealed that she had been bedridden in the months leading up to her death and would have likely died within a year even without the fatal accident.


In the 1996 biographical drama film ‘The People vs. Larry Flynt,’ Althea was portrayed by Courtney Love.

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