Hunter S. Thompson biography

Hunter S. Thompson

Novelist, Author

1937 – 2005

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Who was Hunter S. Thompson?

Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, to a middle-class family, Thompson had a turbulent youth 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. He traveled frequently, including stints in California, Puerto Rico and Brazil, before settling in Aspen, Colorado, in the early 1960s.

Thompson became internationally known with the publication of Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, for which he had spent a year living and riding with the Angels, experiencing their lives and hearing their stories first hand. Previously a relatively conventional journalist, with the publication in 1970 of "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" he became a counter cultural figure, with his own brand of New Journalism he termed "Gonzo", an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. The work he remains best known for is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a rumination on the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. It was first serialized in Rolling Stone, a magazine with which Thompson would be long associated, and was released as a film starring Johnny Depp and directed by Terry Gilliam in 1998.

Famous Quotes:

  • When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro
  • History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of history it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time -- and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.
  • I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
  • Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of the rat race is not yet final.
  • There is a progression of understanding vis-?-vis pro football that varies drastically with the factor of distance -- physical, emotional, intellectual and every other way. Which is exactly the way it should be, in the eyes of the amazingly small number of people who own and control the game, because it is this finely managed distance factor that accounts for the high-profit mystique that blew the sacred institution of baseball off its national pastime pedestal in less than fifteen years.
  • Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism -- and the best journalists have always known this. True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he's writing it -- or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character.
  • Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
  • I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
  • If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people -- including me -- would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.
  • That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn't entirely conquer -- he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation.

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Born
Jul 18, 1937
Louisville
Also known as
  • Hunter Stockton Thompson
  • Hunter Thompson
  • Dr. Gonzo
  • Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
  • Raoul Duke
  • The Wild One of Big Sur
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Columbia University
  • Florida State University
  • Atherton High School
  • Louisville Male High School
    (1952/09 - 1955)
  • Columbia University School of General Studies
  • Highland Middle School
Lived in
  • Louisville
  • Kentucky
  • Colorado
Died
Feb 20, 2005
Woody Creek

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Hunter S. Thompson." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Jul 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/hunter_s_thompson>.

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