Porn pioneer Al Goldstein dies at 77

Al Goldstein, the man who brought his particular brand of hard-core porn to the masses, died on Thursday in a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The cause of death was renal failure, The New York Times reports.

Goldstein was best known for sharing his raunchy sensibilities and radical ideas via Screw magazine and his New York City public-access cable show “Midnight Blue.”

“Mr. Goldstein did not invent the dirty magazine,” the Times obituary states, “but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety. Sex as depicted in Screw was seldom pretty, romantic or even particularly sexy. It was, primarily, a business, with consumers and suppliers like any other.”

If you’re not familiar with his over-the-topness, this about sums it up.

“Apart from Screw, Mr. Goldstein’s most notorious creation was Al Goldstein himself, a cartoonishly vituperative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser who seemed to embody a moment in New York City’s cultural history: the sleaze and decay of Times Square in the 1960s and ‘70s.”

The piece goes on to detail Goldstein’s path to—as well as influence on–the sex industry, the rise and fall of his mini empire, and his eventual descent into poverty and poor health.

Here he is, dispensing Words of Wisdom, and sounding vaguely rabbinical. (Don’t worry, it’s totally clean).