Hulu’s ‘Pam & Tommy’ explores the tumultuous events surrounding the theft and subsequent spread of a private tape that belongs to the titular couple. As Pamela and Tommy try and contain their private recording, they are repeatedly stumped by just how far it has already spread. The novel internet and the so-far unseen potential it has to spread information also dashes the couple’s hopes that the tape would just “disappear.”
The lawsuit that Tommy and Pamela slap on Penthouse magazine takes the tape from an underground novelty to a mainstream news story. The publication announces that it plans to publish still frames from the tape. The lawsuit only angers the Penthouse head, Bob Guccione, and he becomes even more adamant about publishing the explosive material. Here’s the lowdown on the real Bob Guccione and who essays him in ‘Pam & Tommy.’
Is Bob Guccione Dead or Alive?
Based on a 2014 Rolling Stone article by Amanda Chicago Lewis, ‘Pam & Tommy’ introduces a host of interesting characters that have real-life counterparts. Apart from the central characters like Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, and Rand Gauthier, even versions of celebrities like Jay Leno and Hugh Hefner play minor roles in the narrative. Similarly, Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse magazine, is recreated on the show.
By episode 5, just as Pamela and Tommy think that the tape can spread no further, the latter gets a call informing him that Penthouse magazine has a copy of their private video. While Pamela seems unsure about the publication’s intentions, her husband, fuming, decides to sue them. In reality, the celebrity couple also filed a case against Penthouse, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
Guccione founded Penthouse magazine in 1965 in London, seemingly with a loan of just over $1,000. According to his New York Times obituary, by the early 1980s, he was one of the richest men in America. His publishing company, General Media, was reportedly valued at $300 million at the time. Interestingly, the show positioning Penthouse as a competitor to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine seems to be accurate. According to reports, Penthouse was made to be a more explicit publication than Playboy, giving the latter a run for its money.
Guccione’s wild success eventually dwindled, and a few bad investments led to a significant fall in his assets. A painter himself, he also had an extensive (and extremely valuable) art collection, which was eventually auctioned off. After undergoing throat surgery a few years prior, the founder of Penthouse was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and passed away on October 20, 2010, in Plano, Texas.
Who Plays Bob Guccione in Pam & Tommy?
The temperamental and imposing character of Bob Guccione is essayed by Maxwell Caulfield in ‘Pam & Tommy.’ Caulfield is a prolific actor of stage and screen who made his film debut in 1982 with ‘Grease 2,’ going on to work in a remarkable variety of features and theatre productions. He also acted in the 1995 coming-of-age comedy-drama ‘Empire Records,’ which became a cult hit. Caulfield’s stage credits include multiple Broadway performances, including a 2007 Broadway production of ‘Chicago.’