The founder of the adult movie pioneer VCA Pictures, Russ Hampshire, died at the age of 71. His company, which he sold to Larry Flynt in 2003, was one of the first successful studios of the so-called »Golden Age of Porn«.
One of the founding fathers and godfathers of the »Golden Age of Porn« died of kidney failure at the age of 71. Russ Hampshire founded VCA Pictures in 1978 and made it one of the most important distributors of pornographic films. Over the years, it has grown into a media company with thousands of hours of footage in its archives. Hampshire also managed to enter the VHS business like no other.
Hampshire had previously operated several McDonald’s branches in El Paso in the early 1970s, an experience which, according to his own statements, helped him considerably in his later career as a producer. In an interview with the New York Times, he said: »I learned about inventory, buying the proper insurance, doing everything by the book, not taking shortcuts.«
In the company’s heyday, VCA sold 400,000 video cassettes a month. According to industry reports, the company had annual revenues of $15 million. In its most successful years, VCA employed over 80 people and was the second largest porn studio in the United States.
How risky life as a porn producer could be is shown by a rather gloomy anecdote of the censorship efforts in the USA. In 1988 Hampshire had to spend 9 months in prison because a court sentenced him for transporting obscene material across state borders. He also had to pay $2 million in fines. Two VCA employees also had to stand trial. However, they were spared a prison sentence.
Hampshire sold his company in 2003 to the legendary, litigation-tested provocateur and publisher of the Hustler magazine, Larry Flynt. The purchase price was not disclosed at the time.
Due to a serious kidney disease Hampshire had to spend the last weeks of his life in a hospital. But friends and relatives were able to say goodbye before his death. Now he has died at the age of 71.