Hunter S. Thompson

In Memoriam

NORML would like to express our deepest regrets to the family of Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter was an inspiration to all of us who challenge the status quo in our work and lives. The ultimate outside-the-box visionary, his example reminds each of us to keep asking questions wherever we find ourselves, and whatever we do. A friend and early supporter of NORML, a panelist at NORML conferences and a continuing member of NORML’s Advisory Board, Dr. Thompson worked to improve all our lives with compassion and generosity. His singular genius in showing us the splendor, the blunders and the humor in contemporary society will be remembered for a very long time and will be severely missed. Hunter, may you rest in peace.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born July 18, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky. After a crime-filled youth, he enlisted in the Air Force as part of his parole. At Eglin AFB, he worked as sports editor for the base paper. Following his discharge, he worked at various writing jobs, most of which proved fruitless. He spent some time in the late fifties and early sixties writing newspaper articles in South America for American papers. He returned to the states and set up his home in Woody Creek, Colorado, on Owl Farm, although he was continually on the road. He gained fame for his first book, Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, in which he spent a year living and riding with the motorcycle gang until a disagreement caused them to stomp him and break his nose. In 1970, he ran for sheriff of Pitkin County on the Freak Power ticket and narrowly lost to the incumbent. He is most famous for his brand of supersubjective journalism, called “Gonzo”.

Other books include: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream; Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72; The Great Shark Hunt, Gonzo Papers Vol. 1: Strange Tales from a Strange Time; The Curse of Lono; Generation of Swine, Gonzo Papers Vol. 2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the Eighties; Songs of the Doomed, Gonzo Papers Vol. 3: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream; Better Than Sex, Gonzo Papers Vol. 4: Trapped Like a Rat in Mr. Bill’s Neighbourhood, and most recently, The Proud Highway: Letters from a desperate Southern Gentleman. There are two extremely rare books, Screwjack and Mistah Leary…He Dead which make up his limited edition work. His long lost novel, The Rum Diary is expected to be released in October 1998. A more legendary unseen book is Polo is my Life, which was due in March 1998, but was suddenly cancelled.

Dr. Thompson is a man of strange and bewitching charisma. He is 6’2″ tall, and, due to the fact that one leg is longer than the other, tends to bob about like a freakish marionette. He is always thirsty; his favorite drinks are Wild Turkey and Chivas Regal. He has one son, Juan Fitzgerald Thompson, and was married to Sandra Dawn Conklin. Besides writer and failed politician, Dr. Thompson is also a peacock and gun collector, ex-night manager of the O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, and founder of The Fourth Amendment Foundation. A responsible Woody Creek resident, Dr. Thompson’s certification came from a mail-order church in the sixties while he was in San Francisco.

There have been many media treatments of Dr. Thompson. The most recognizable is the “Uncle Duke” character in Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau, followed by the cult movie, Where the Buffalo Roam starring Bill Murray and Peter Boyle. The most recent is a FLLV spoken word CD and the movie version of FLLV which was released May 22, 1998 and stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, superb direction by Terry Gilliam.