Hunter S. Thompson
American journalist and author
Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American author and journalist. Born in Louisville, Kentucky to a middle class family, Thompson went off the rails in his teens after the death of his father left the family in poverty. He was unable to formally finish high school as he was incarcerated for 60 days after abetting a robbery. He subsequently joined the United States Air Force before moving into journalism.
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7 Tips To Help You Tell Real News From Fake
Huffington Post - 6 days
I’ve been hearing a lot lately from people who feel overwhelmed by all the drastically different news narratives fighting for their attention — especially, of course, the ones about Donald Trump. Real news? Fake news? How do you tell the difference? Here’s a seven-point checklist of the most essential things to know. 1. Be skeptical. There’s an old saying in journalism: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Reporters are supposed to look hard at what they think they know, and so should their audience. Reputable news outlets “show their work,” so you can see how they came to their conclusions. Are the sources solid? Does the logic makes sense? (More on this below.) 2. If the story is sensational, be more skeptical. Amazing things are amazing for a reason: they don’t happen very often. There are a lot more amazing stories in the world — because they make money — than there are amazing things that actually happened. This is why serious news sources tend to be le ...
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Huffington Post article
25 Quotes About Appreciation in Relation to Self and Others
Huffington Post - 2 months
Appreciation is an important, that is often taken for granted. We all want to be appreciated, but are we also expressing our appreciation in return? This is such an important part of our relationships with others, and in both them and ourselves knowing what they mean to us, or we mean to them. Here are some quotes to motivate you to either express your appreciation for others, or to identify what we have been lacking in hearing . 1. "Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them." ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2. "I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes gain." ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass 3. "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enoug ...
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Huffington Post article
Get High Just Like Hunter S. Thompson Did With His Zombie Pot
Huffington Post - 3 months
For the many who idolize Hunter S. Thompson, pioneering creator of Gonzo journalism and author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, following in his footsteps looks pretty daunting ― until now. Thompson’s drug-fueled, immersive approach to his art sets a high barrier to entry, but to spend a day in this New Journalist’s shoes, acolytes will soon be able to skip recreating experiences like embedding with a violent biker gang. That’s because his widow, Anita Thompson, recently announced that she’ll be marketing “authentic Gonzo strains” from Hunter’s “personal” marijuana stash. Yep, one day we may all be able to get exactly as high as Thompson did.  In a Facebook post, Thompson revealed that she has preserved several kinds of her late husband’s pot, and that she’ll be using DNA extracted from the leaves to reanimate the exact strains he smoked. The pot project comes as an offshoot of a recent business deal struck between Anita Thompson and the Gonzo ...
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Huffington Post article
Hemingway home gets back antlers taken by Hunter S. Thompson
Yahoo News - 6 months
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A young Hunter S. Thompson went to Idaho to write about Ernest Hemingway and decided to take a piece of his hero home with him — a set of trophy elk antlers.
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Yahoo News article
Luke Burbank on coming clean
NPR - 9 months
Public radio veteran Luke Burbank is the first to admit he isn't a big reader. But he's taken a cue from Hunter S. Thompson.
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NPR article
How to Travel the World While Working a Full-Time Job
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Because I work full time, people often wonder how I travel as much as I do while holding down a job that is neither travel-related, nor requires much, if any, traveling. Some assume I am paid to travel, or endorse travel-related products and services. Neither is true. So how do I do it? Seeing the whole world has always been a priority for me, so I designed my life from an early age to ensure I have the freedom to travel often. Everything from my lifestyle choices and approach to personal finance, to the career paths I've pursued has all been informed by my desire to travel. But shy of building -- or reengineering -- your entire life around travel, there are smaller steps you can take to help squeeze more travel out of your life. Not all jobs are the same, and what works for some may not work for others. But generally speaking, depending on the type of job you have, and personal and familial circumstances, try the following tips. They have at one time or another worked for me ...
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Huffington Post article
The 5 Most Beautiful Towns in America
Huffington Post - about 1 year
by Laura Vogel, Condé Nast Traveler Getty Whether they have over-the-top American charm (we're looking at you, Woodstock, Vermont) or proximity to some of the loveliest landscapes on earth (hello, Big Sur), these towns are worth a stopover. And, since they are all on the smaller side--all are home to fewer than 130,000 people, and most far less--you can experience their culture and beauty like a local. 1. Woodstock, Vermont For a dose of absurdly quaint New England charm, it's tough to do better than this town in the Green Mountains. Complete with a perfect village green with a white steepled church, this is just the destination for antique shoppers and B&B fans--some lodging even dates back to the 1750s. Almost all of the town's buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places; be sure to drop in at the 1886-era general store F.H. Gillingham & Sons for some souvenir maple candy. Alamy 2. St. Augustine, Florida You'll quickly forget the Florida ...
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Huffington Post article
Rolling Stone sparks new scrutiny after Sean Penn interview with 'El Chapo'
Yahoo News - about 1 year
By Elizabeth Dilts NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rolling Stone magazine, heavily criticized for a now-debunked 2014 story describing a fraternity gang rape, is attracting new scrutiny after it published an interview by actor Sean Penn with Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.   Penn met Guzman in a jungle in central Mexico in October for the interview, several months after the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel escaped from a high-security Mexican prison in July. The Hollywood star called it "the first interview El Chapo had ever granted outside an interrogation room." Sources in Mexico said the interview helped Mexico's government catch the world's most-wanted drug lord. Long considered the bible for rock music lovers, Rolling Stone is also known for edgy journalism typified by correspondents like Matt Taibbi, who skewered Wall Street titans during the global financial crisis, and Hunter S. Thompson, originator of the gonzo style of journalism.
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Yahoo News article
Books of The Times: Review: In ‘Stories I Tell Myself,’ Life as Hunter S. Thompson’s Son
NYTimes - about 1 year
Juan F. Thompson’s memoir is a careful yet harrowing account of a father-and-son relationship that grew very dark before it began to admit hints of light.
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NYTimes article
Harsh, Hidden Immigration Legislation
Huffington Post - about 1 year
There's no question the presidential race has become pretty ugly: with Trump turning it into a reality show, the policies being discussed would hurt the immigrant community, our standing in the global community and our national security. All of this showmanship has also allowed legislation to slip beneath the radar. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, most of the political show we see is just to distract us from what is really going on. While the country has been focused on Hillary's emails, Ben Carson's brand of crazy and pretty much everything that Donald Trump says or does, Congress has been able to do whatever it wants with little to no notice. The result has been pretty harsh, and not good for either the immigrant community or national security. For starters, in a turn away from empathy, HR 4197 would allow governors to refuse refugee resettlement. These are the same guys who have been trying to turn away refugees for years, whether from Syria or from the border children cr ...
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Huffington Post article
Richard, We Hardly Knew You
Huffington Post - about 1 year
What do Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon have in common? Both entered presidential elections twice. He won his second. She's working on hers. Both share political savvy, undaunted tenacity and significant professional successes. Both have ardent fans. And both are ardently disliked by many. 'Trust' - or lack of it - being the operating descriptor when polls are taken and the mediaratti crow descent. This being an electioneering year, it's possible that Mrs. Clinton and those of us who follow politics like it's the World Series with meaning would benefit from listening/reading Being Nixon, A Man Divided. This is Evan Thomas' regenerative perspective on the 37th president. If you are among the Nixon scorners, this Nixon may surprise you. One of the prime take-aways from this balanced book is considerable respect for a man who overcame his own stygian nature to become remarkably successful.  Nixon's authorization of unlawful break-ins leading up to the infamous Watergate scandal, his h ...
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Huffington Post article
Review: A Smart, Insider's Look at the Republican Presidential Clown Car
Huffington Post - about 1 year
The following article first appeared in The National Book Review The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House By McKay Coppins Little, Brown 400 pp. $28 By Jim Swearingen While the Democrats celebrated on election night 2012, so did some well-known Republicans, including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. For this group - Republicans who were considering a presidential run in 2016 - Mitt Romney's ignominious defeat meant a race without a Republican incumbent in four years, and the distinct possibility that one of them might be the next GOP standard bearer. The psychological, political, and moral foibles of the aspiring Republican candidates - on their way to the nomination, or to losing it -- are the subject of The Wilderness, a smart and entertaining campaign book by McKay Coppins, a politics writer for BuzzFeed. Offering up one revealing, behind-the-scenes story after another, he covers ...
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Huffington Post article
Friday Talking Points -- Rebutting GOP Debate Nonsense
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Since it's such an auspicious day, perhaps it's time to have a discussion about the increasingly-real possibility that Donald Trump or Ben Carson could actually become the Republican nominee for president next year. It's a scary, scary thing for most to contemplate, but the punditocracy's inside-the-Beltway strategy of just clapping our hands real hard and hoping that Tinkerbell quietly lies down somewhere to die just doesn't seem to be working. Pretty much every pundit under the sun -- from the hard left to the hard right -- has so far written a column this year predicting Trump's imminent political demise. To date, none of them have proven even slightly true. Trump is now challenged for the lead, but he's still polling at roughly the same level of support that he has pretty much ever since he got in the race. Ben Carson has risen to Trump's level in the polling much more than Trump has fallen back. The "Trump (and now, Carson) is going to fade -- i ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Hunter S. Thompson
  • 2005
    Age 67
    The Colorado Supreme Court eventually overturned Auman's sentence in March 2005, shortly after Thompson's death, and Auman is now free.
    More Details Hide Details Auman's supporters claim Thompson's support and publicity resulted in the successful appeal. Thompson was also an ardent supporter of drug legalization and became known for his detailed accounts of his own drug use. He was an early supporter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and served on the group's advisory board for over 30 years, until his death. He told an interviewer in 1997 that drugs should be legalized "across the board. It might be a little rough on some people for a while, but I think it's the only way to deal with drugs. Look at Prohibition: all it did was make a lot of criminals rich." Although Thompson rarely personally endorsed political labels or programs in his writings, he sometimes expressed affinity with the left and at other times the right (gun rights, private property rights). In a 1965 letter to his friend Paul Semonin, Thompson explained an affection for the Industrial Workers of the World, "I have in recent months come to have a certain feeling for Joe Hill and the Wobbly crowd who, if nothing else, had the right idea. But not the right mechanics. I believe the IWW was probably the last human concept in American politics." In another letter to Semonin, Thompson wrote that he agreed with Karl Marx, and compared him to Thomas Jefferson. In a letter to William Kennedy, Thompson confided that he was "coming to view the free enterprise system as the single greatest evil in the history of human savagery."
    On August 20, 2005, in a private funeral, Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon.
    More Details Hide Details This was accompanied by red, white, blue and green fireworks—all to the tune of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man". The cannon was placed atop a tower which had the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button, a symbol originally used in his 1970 campaign for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado. The plans for the monument were initially drawn by Thompson and Steadman, and were shown as part of an Omnibus program on the BBC titled Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision (1978). It is included as a special feature on the second disc of the 2003 Criterion Collection DVD release of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and labeled as Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood. According to his widow, Anita, the funeral was funded by actor Johnny Depp, who was a close friend of Thompson. Depp told the Associated Press, "All I'm doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out." An estimated 280 people attended, including U.S. Senators John Kerry and George McGovern; 60 Minutes correspondents Ed Bradley and Charlie Rose; actors Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, and Josh Hartnett; musicians Lyle Lovett, John Oates and David Amram, and artist and long-time friend Ralph Steadman.
  • 2004
    Age 66
    In 2004, Thompson wrote: "Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for—but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush–Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him."
    More Details Hide Details Thompson wrote a number of books, publishing from 1966 to the end of his life. His best-known works include Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Rum Diary.
  • 2003
    Age 65
    Released in 2003, it was perceived by critics to be an angry, vitriolic commentary on the passing of the American Century, and the state of affairs after the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
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    Thompson married assistant Anita Bejmuk on April 23, 2003.
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  • 2000
    Age 62
    Fear and Loathing in America was published in 2000 and contains letters dating from 1968 to 1976.
    More Details Hide Details A third volume, titled The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977–2005 was edited by Douglas Brinkley and published by Simon & Schuster in 2005. As of August 2016, it has yet to be sold to the public. It contains a special introduction by Johnny Depp. Accompanying the eccentric and colorful writing of Hunter Thompson, illustrations by British artist Ralph Steadman offer visual representations of the Gonzo style. Steadman and Thompson developed a close friendship, and often traveled together. Though his illustrations occur in most of Thompson's books, they are conspicuously featured in full page color in Thompson's The Curse of Lono, set in Hawaii. Thompson was an avid amateur photographer throughout his life and his photos have been exhibited since his death at art galleries in the United States and United Kingdom. In late 2006, AMMO Books published a limited-edition 224-page collection of Thompson photos called Gonzo, with an introduction by Johnny Depp. Thompson's snapshots were a combination of the subjects he was covering, stylized self-portraits, and artistic still life photos. The London Observer called the photos "astonishingly good" and noted that "Thompson's pictures remind us, brilliantly in every sense, of very real people, real colours."
    Thompson completed his journalism career in the same way it had begun: writing about sports. From 2000 until his death in 2005, Thompson penned a weekly column called "Hey, Rube" for's "Page 2".
    More Details Hide Details Simon & Schuster bundled many of the columns from the first few years and released it in mid-2004 as Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness.
    In July 2000, Thompson accidentally shot his assistant, Deborah Fuller, while attempting to scare a bear away from her lodging on The Owl Farm.
    More Details Hide Details He fired a shotgun at the ground near the bear, and the pellets ricocheted upward, hitting her in the right arm and leg. She was quoted as saying "I screamed 'You son of a bitch, you shot me.' And poor Hunter. I don't think I had ever seen him run so fast. He felt horrible." No charges were filed for the incident. Thompson's next, and penultimate, collection, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child In the Final Days of the American Century, was widely publicized as Thompson's first memoir; in practice, the text combined new material (including reminisces of the O'Farrell Theater), selected newspaper and digital clippings, and some older works in the expected fashion.
  • 1998
    Age 60
    Thompson's work was popularized again with the 1998 release of the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which opened to considerable fanfare.
    More Details Hide Details The book was reprinted to coincide with the film, and Thompson's work was introduced to a new generation of readers. Soon thereafter, his "long lost" novel The Rum Diary was published, as were the first two volumes of his collected letters, which were greeted with critical acclaim.
  • 1996
    Age 58
    Thompson was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky in a December 1996 tribute ceremony where he also received keys to the city of Louisville.
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  • 1994
    Age 56
    In 1994, the magazine published "He Was a Crook," Thompson's "scathing" obituary of Richard Nixon.
    More Details Hide Details In November 2004, Rolling Stone published his final magazine feature ("The Fun-Hogs in the Passing Lane: Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004"), a brief account of the 2004 presidential election in which he compared the outcome of Bush v. Gore to the Reichstag fire and formally endorsed Senator John Kerry, a longstanding friend.
  • 1992
    Age 54
    Rather than embarking on the campaign trail as he had done in previous presidential elections, Thompson monitored the proceedings from cable television; Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie, his account of the 1992 presidential election campaign, is composed of reactionary faxes sent to Rolling Stone.
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  • 1990
    Age 52
    In 1990, former porn director Gail Palmer visited Thompson's home in Woody Creek.
    More Details Hide Details She later accused him of sexual assault, claiming that he twisted her breast when she refused to join him in the hot tub. She also described cocaine use to authorities. A six-person, 11-hour search of Thompson's home turned up various kinds of drugs and a few sticks of dynamite. All charges were dismissed after a pre-trial hearing. Thompson would later describe this experience at length in Kingdom of Fear. By the early 1990s, Thompson was said to be working on a novel called Polo Is My Life, which was briefly excerpted in Rolling Stone in 1994, and which Thompson himself described in 1996 as " a sex book — you know, sex, drugs and rock and roll. It's about the manager of a sex theater who's forced to leave and flee to the mountains. He falls in love and gets in even more trouble than he was in the sex theater in San Francisco". The novel was slated to be released by Random House in 1999, and was even assigned ISBN 0-679-40694-8, but was not published.
  • 1985
    Age 47
    As part of his research, in the spring of 1985 he spent evenings at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater striptease club in San Francisco and his experience there eventually evolved into a full-length novel tentatively titled The Night Manager.
    More Details Hide Details Neither the novel nor the article has been published. Shortly thereafter, Thompson became a media critic for the San Francisco Examiner, writing a weekly syndicated column for the newspaper in the mid-to-late 1980s. The position was arranged by old friend and fellow Examiner columnist Warren Hinckle. Thompson's editor at the Examiner, David McCumber (who would go on to write a Mitchell brothers biography not long after Jim Mitchell fatally shot his brother Art in 1991), has ruminated on the erratic quality of Thompson's writing by this juncture, opining that "one week it would be acid-soaked gibberish with a charm of its own. The next week it would be incisive political analysis of the highest order " Many of these columns were published in Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988) and Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream (1990; a bricolage of autobiographical reminisces, recent articles and previously unpublished material).
  • 1983
    Age 45
    In 1983, he covered the U.S. invasion of Grenada but would not discuss these experiences until the publication of Kingdom of Fear 20 years later.
    More Details Hide Details Later that year, at the behest of Terry McDonell, he authored a piece for Rolling Stone called "A Dog Took My Place," an exposé of the scandalous Roxanne Pulitzer divorce and what he termed the "Palm Beach lifestyle." The article contained dubious insinuations of bestiality (among other things) but was considered to be a return to proper form by many. Shortly thereafter, Thompson accepted an advance to write about "couples pornography" for Playboy.
  • 1981
    Age 43
    On July 21, 1981, in Aspen, Colorado, Thompson was pulled over at 2am for running a stop sign, and began to "rave" at a state trooper.
    More Details Hide Details Consequently, he was arrested, but the drunk-driving charges against him were later dropped.
  • 1980
    Age 42
    In addition to his divorce from Sandra Conklin, 1980 marked the release of Where the Buffalo Roam, a loose film adaptation of situations from Thompson's early 1970s work, with Bill Murray starring as the author.
    More Details Hide Details Murray would go on to become one of Thompson's trusted friends. After the lukewarm reception of the film, Thompson temporarily relocated to Hawaii to work on a book, The Curse of Lono, a Gonzo-style account of a marathon held in that state. Extensively illustrated by Ralph Steadman, the piece first appeared in Running magazine in 1981 as "The Charge of the Weird Brigade" and was excerpted in Playboy in 1983.
    Perhaps in response to this, as well as the strained relationship with Rolling Stone, and the failure of his marriage, Thompson became more reclusive after 1980.
    More Details Hide Details He would often retreat to his compound in Woody Creek and reject assignments or refuse to complete them. Despite the dearth of new material, Wenner kept Thompson on the Rolling Stone masthead as chief of the "National Affairs Desk", a position he would hold until his death.
  • 1976
    Age 38
    Thompson was to provide Rolling Stone with coverage for the 1976 presidential campaign that would appear in a book published by the magazine.
    More Details Hide Details Reportedly, as Thompson was waiting for a $75,000 advance check to arrive, he learned that Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner had cancelled the assignment without informing him. Wenner then asked Thompson to travel to Vietnam to report on what appeared to be the closing of the Vietnam War. Thompson accepted, and left for Saigon immediately. He arrived with the country in chaos, just as South Vietnam was collapsing and other journalists were scrambling to find transportation out of the region. While there, Thompson learned that Wenner had pulled the plug on this excursion as well, and Thompson found himself in Vietnam without health insurance or additional financial support. Thompson's story about the fall of Saigon would not be published in Rolling Stone until ten years later. These two incidents severely strained the relationship between the author and the magazine, and Thompson contributed far less to the publication in later years.
  • 1974
    Age 36
    According to Jann Wenner, co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone, Thompson's journalistic work began to seriously suffer after his trip to Africa to cover "The Rumble in the Jungle"—the world heavyweight boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali—in 1974.
    More Details Hide Details He missed the match while intoxicated at his hotel, and did not submit a story to the magazine. Wenner is quoted by the film critic Roger Ebert as saying in the 2008 documentary of Thompson's life, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, "After Africa he just couldn't write. He couldn't piece it together".
    Following Nixon's pardon by Gerald Ford in 1974, Hunter ruminated on the approximately $400,000 pension Nixon maneuvered his way into, by resigning before being formally indicted.
    More Details Hide Details While the Washington Post was lamenting Nixon's "lonely and depressed" state after being forced from the White House, Hunter wrote that 'if there were any such thing as true justice in this world, his Nixon's rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark.' There was however one passion shared by Thompson and Nixon: a love of football, discussed in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
  • 1972
    Age 34
    The film Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) depicts heavily fictionalized attempts by Thompson to cover the Super Bowl and the 1972 U.S. presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details It stars Bill Murray as Thompson and Peter Boyle as Thompson's attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta, referred to in the movie as Carl Lazlo, Esq. The 1998 film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was directed by Monty Python veteran Terry Gilliam, and starred Johnny Depp (who moved into Thompson's basement to "study" Thompson's persona before assuming his role in the film) as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. The film has achieved something of a cult following. The film adaptation of Thompson's novel The Rum Diary was released in October 2011, also starring Johnny Depp as the main character, Paul Kemp. The novel's premise was inspired by Thompson's own experiences in Puerto Rico. The film was written and directed by Bruce Robinson. At a press junket for The Rum Diary shortly before the film's release, Depp said that he would like to adapt The Curse of Lono, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved", and Hell's Angels for the big screen: "I'd just keep playing Hunter. There's a great comfort in it for me, because I get a great visit with my old friend who I miss dearly."
  • 1971
    Age 33
    Beginning in late 1971 Thompson wrote extensively for Rolling Stone on election campaigns of President Richard Nixon and his unsuccessful opponent, Senator George McGovern.
    More Details Hide Details The articles were soon combined and published as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. As the title suggests, Thompson spent nearly all of his time traveling the "campaign trail", focusing largely on the Democratic Party's primaries - Nixon, as the Republican incumbent, performed little campaign work - in which McGovern competed with rival candidates Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey. Thompson was an early supporter of McGovern and wrote unflattering coverage of the rival campaigns in the increasingly widely read Rolling Stone. Thompson went on to become a fierce critic of Nixon, both during and after his presidency. After Nixon's death in 1994, Thompson described him in Rolling Stone as a man who "could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time" and said "his casket should 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. He was an evil man—evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it."
  • 1970
    Age 32
    The book for which Thompson gained most of his fame had its genesis during the research for Strange Rumblings in Aztlan, an exposé for Rolling Stone on the 1970 killing of the Mexican-American television journalist Rubén Salazar.
    More Details Hide Details Salazar had been shot in the head at close range with a tear gas canister fired by officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department during the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War. One of Thompson's sources for the story was Oscar Zeta Acosta, a prominent Mexican-American activist and attorney. Finding it difficult to talk in the racially tense atmosphere of Los Angeles, Thompson and Acosta decided to travel to Las Vegas, and take advantage of an assignment by Sports Illustrated to write a 250-word photograph caption on the Mint 400 motorcycle race held there. What was to be a short caption quickly grew into something else entirely. Thompson first submitted to Sports Illustrated a manuscript of 2,500 words, which was, as he later wrote, "aggressively rejected." Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner was said to have liked "the first 20 or so jangled pages enough to take it seriously on its own terms and tentatively scheduled it for publication — which gave me the push I needed to keep working on it", Thompson later wrote.
    In 1970, Cardoso (who was then the editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine) wrote to Thompson praising the Kentucky Derby piece as a breakthrough: "This is it, this is pure Gonzo.
    More Details Hide Details If this is a start, keep rolling." According to Steadman, Thompson took to the word right away and said, "Okay, that's what I do. Gonzo." Thompson's first published use of the word appears in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: "Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism."
    Also in 1970, Thompson wrote an article entitled The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved for the short-lived new journalism magazine Scanlan's Monthly.
    More Details Hide Details Although it was not widely read, the article was the first to use the techniques of Gonzo journalism, a style Thompson would later employ in almost every literary endeavor. The manic first-person subjectivity of the story was reportedly the result of sheer desperation; he was facing a looming deadline and started sending the magazine pages ripped out of his notebook. Ralph Steadman, who would collaborate with Thompson on several more projects, contributed expressionist pen-and-ink illustrations. The first use of the word "Gonzo" to describe Thompson's work is credited to the journalist Bill Cardoso. Cardoso first met Thompson on a bus full of journalists covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary.
    In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, as part of a group of citizens running for local offices on the "Freak Power" ticket.
    More Details Hide Details The platform included promoting the decriminalization of drugs (for personal use only, not trafficking, as he disapproved of profiteering), tearing up the streets and turning them into grassy pedestrian malls, banning any building so tall as to obscure the view of the mountains, and renaming Aspen "Fat City" to deter investors. Thompson, having shaved his head, referred to the crew cut-wearing Republican candidate as "my long-haired opponent." With polls showing him with a slight lead in a three-way race, Thompson appeared at Rolling Stone magazine headquarters in San Francisco with a six-pack of beer in hand, and declared to editor Jann Wenner that he was about to be elected Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, and wished to write about the "Freak Power" movement. Thus, Thompson's first article in Rolling Stone was published as The Battle of Aspen with the byline "By: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Candidate for Sheriff)." Despite the publicity, Thompson narrowly lost the election. While carrying the city of Aspen, he garnered only 44% of the county-wide vote in what had become a two-way race. The Republican candidate agreed to withdraw a few days before the election in order to consolidate the anti-Thompson votes, in return for the Democrats withdrawing their candidate for county commissioner. Thompson later remarked that the Rolling Stone article mobilized his opposition far more than his supporters.
  • 1968
    Age 30
    He also signed a deal with Ballantine Books in 1968 to write a satirical book called The Johnson File about Lyndon B. Johnson.
    More Details Hide Details A few weeks after the contract was signed, however, Johnson announced that he would not run for re-election, and the deal was cancelled.
    He used a $6,000 advance from Random House to travel on the 1968 Presidential campaign trail and attend the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago for research purposes.
    More Details Hide Details From his hotel room in Chicago, Thompson watched the clashes between police and protesters, which he wrote had a great effect on his political views. The book was never finished, and the theme of the death of the American dream would be carried over into his later work. The contract with Random House was eventually fulfilled with the 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
    In early 1968, Thompson signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
    More Details Hide Details According to Thompson's letters and his later writings, at this time he planned to write a book called The Joint Chiefs about "the death of the American Dream."
  • 1967
    Age 29
    By late 1967, Thompson and his family moved back to Colorado and rented a house in Woody Creek, a small mountain hamlet outside Aspen.
    More Details Hide Details In early 1969, Thompson finally received a $15,000 royalty check for the paperback sales of Hell's Angels and used two-thirds of the money for a down payment on a modest home and property where he would live for the rest of his life. He named the house Owl Farm and often described it as his "fortified compound."
  • 1965
    Age 27
    The article appeared on May 17, 1965, and after that Thompson received several book offers and spent the next year living and riding with the club.
    More Details Hide Details The relationship broke down when the bikers perceived that Thompson was exploiting them for personal gain and demanded a share of the profits from his writings. An argument at a party resulted in Thompson suffering a savage beating (or "stomping", as the Angels referred to it). Random House published the hard-cover Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in 1966, and the fight between Thompson and the Angels was well-marketed. CBC Television even broadcast an encounter between Thompson and Hells Angel Skip Workman before a live studio audience. A reviewer for The New York Times praised the work as an "angry, knowledgeable, fascinating and excitedly written book", that shows the Hells Angels "not so much as dropouts from society but as total misfits, or unfits — emotionally, intellectually and educationally unfit to achieve the rewards, such as they are, that the contemporary social order offers". The reviewer also praised Thompson as a "spirited, witty, observant and original writer; his prose crackles like motorcycle exhaust".
    In 1965 Carey McWilliams, editor of The Nation, hired Thompson to write a story about the California-based Hells Angels motorcycle club.
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    Thompson severed his ties with the Observer after his editor refused to print his review of Tom Wolfe's 1965 essay collection The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and moved to San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details He immersed himself in the drug and hippie culture that was taking root in the area, and soon began writing for the Berkeley underground paper The Spyder.
  • 1964
    Age 26
    One story told of his 1964 visit to Ketchum, Idaho, to investigate the reasons for Ernest Hemingway's suicide.
    More Details Hide Details While there, he stole a pair of elk antlers hanging above the front door of Hemingway's cabin.
    In 1964 the family relocated to Glen Ellen, California, where Thompson continued to write for the National Observer on an array of domestic subjects.
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  • 1963
    Age 25
    They married on May 19, 1963, shortly after returning to the United States, and lived briefly in Aspen, Colorado, where they had a son, Juan Fitzgerald Thompson (born March 23, 1964). The couple conceived five more times, but three pregnancies were miscarried, and the other two produced infants who died shortly after birth. Hunter and Sandy divorced in 1980 but always remained close friends.
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  • 1962
    Age 24
    From May 1962 to May 1963, Thompson traveled to South America as a correspondent for a Dow Jones-owned weekly newspaper, the National Observer.
    More Details Hide Details In Brazil he spent several months as a reporter for the Brazil Herald, the country's only English-language daily, published in Rio de Janeiro. His longtime girlfriend Sandra Dawn Conklin (a.k.a. Sandy Conklin Thompson, now Sondi Wright) later joined him in Rio.
  • 1960
    Age 22
    In 1960, Thompson moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to take a job with the sporting magazine El Sportivo, which folded soon after his arrival.
    More Details Hide Details Thompson applied for a job with the Puerto Rican English-language daily The San Juan Star, but its managing editor, future novelist William J. Kennedy, turned him down. Nonetheless, the two became friends, and after the demise of El Sportivo, Thompson worked as a stringer for the New York Herald Tribune and for a few stateside papers on Caribbean issues, with Kennedy working as his editor. After returning to the States, Hunter hitchhiked across the United States along U.S. Highway 40, eventually ending up in Big Sur, California working as a security guard and caretaker at the Big Sur hot springs for an eight-month period in 1961, just before it became the Esalen Institute. While there, he published his first magazine feature in the nationally distributed Rogue magazine, on the artisan and bohemian culture of Big Sur. Thompson had had a rocky tenure as caretaker of the hot springs, and the unexpected publicity from the article finally got him fired. During this period, Thompson wrote two novels, Prince Jellyfish and The Rum Diary, and submitted many short stories to publishers - with little success. The Rum Diary, a novel based on Thompson's experiences in Puerto Rico, was eventually published in.
  • 1957
    Age 19
    Thompson was discharged from the Air Force in November 1957 as an Airman First Class, having been recommended for an early honorable discharge by his commanding officer. "In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy", Col. William S. Evans, chief of information services wrote to the Eglin personnel office. "Sometimes his rebel and superior attitude seems to rub off on other airmen staff members."
    More Details Hide Details After the Air Force, Thompson worked as sports editor for a newspaper in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, before relocating to New York City. There he audited several courses at the Columbia University School of General Studies. During this time he worked briefly for Time as a copy boy for $51 a week. While working, he used a typewriter to copy F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms in order to learn about the writing styles of the authors. In 1959 Time fired him for insubordination. Later that year he worked as a reporter for The Middletown Daily Record in Middletown, New York. He was fired from this job after damaging an office candy machine and arguing with the owner of a local restaurant who happened to be an advertiser with the paper.
    In early 1957 he wrote a sports column for The Playground News, a local newspaper in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
    More Details Hide Details He could not use his name on the column because the Air Force did not allow airmen to hold other jobs.
  • 1956
    Age 18
    In 1956 he transferred to Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
    More Details Hide Details While serving at Eglin, he took evening classes at Florida State University. At Eglin, he landed his first professional writing job as sports editor of the The Command Courier by lying about his job experience. In this capacity, he covered the Eglin Eagles football team. Thompson traveled with the team around the US, covering its games.
  • 1955
    Age 17
    As an Athenaeum member, Thompson contributed articles to and helped produce the club's yearbook The Spectator. The group ejected Thompson in 1955, citing his legal problems.
    More Details Hide Details Charged as an accessory to robbery after being in a car with the perpetrator, Thompson was sentenced to 60 days in Kentucky's Jefferson County Jail. He served 31 days and, a week after his release, enlisted in the United States Air Force. While he was in jail, the school superintendent refused him permission to take his high-school final examinations, and as a result he did not graduate. Thompson completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and transferred to Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, to study electronics. He applied to become an aviator, but the Air Force's aviation-cadet program rejected his application.
  • 1952
    Age 14
    Also in 1952, he was accepted as a member of the Athenaeum Literary Association, a school-sponsored literary and social club that dated to 1862.
    More Details Hide Details Its members at the time, generally drawn from Louisville's wealthy upper-class families, included Porter Bibb, who became the first publisher of Rolling Stone. During this time Thompson read and admired J. P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man.
    Thompson attended I. N. Bloom Elementary School, Highland Middle School, and Atherton High School, before transferring to Louisville Male High School in September 1952.
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    On July 3, 1952, when Thompson was 14 years old, his father, aged 58, died of myasthenia gravis.
    More Details Hide Details Hunter and his brothers, Davison Wheeler (born June 18, 1940) and James Garnet (February 2, 1949 – March 25, 1993), were raised by their mother. Hunter also had a much older half-brother, James Thompson, Jr., from his father's first marriage, who was not part of the Thompson household. Virginia worked as a librarian to support her children, and is described as having become a "heavy drinker" following her husband's death. Interested in sports and athletically inclined from a young age, Thompson co-founded the Hawks Athletic Club while attending I. N. Bloom Elementary School, which led to an invitation to join Louisville's Castlewood Athletic Club, a club for adolescents that prepared them for high-school sports, where he excelled in baseball. Ultimately he never joined any sports teams in high school.
  • 1943
    Age 5
    On December 2, 1943, when Thompson was six years old, the family settled at 2437 Ransdell Avenue in the affluent Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of The Highlands.
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  • 1937
    Born on July 18, 1937.
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