Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist who was the pioneer of the Gonzo journalism movement. Gonzo journalism is an experimental style of journalism in which the reporters involve themselves in the action and become part of it to such an extent that they are the central figures of their stories. His life was a very rough and tough one and his death was also unique. He died a suicidal death at the age of 67 after a bout of health problems. Let us sneak a peek into his life and its highs and lows!
Hunter: Bio, Age, Birth, Father, Mother
Hunter was born on 18 July 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, the US. He was a middle-class family and he had 2 younger brothers and an elder half-brother from his father’s first marriage. His parents were Virginia Ray Davison and Jack Robert Thompson. His mother was a head librarian while his father was a World War I veteran and public insurance adjuster.
When Hunter was 6 years old, his family settled in an affluent neighborhood of ‘The Highlands’. When Hunter was 14, his father expired due to myasthenia gravis. His mother took to heavy drinking and the household suffered. He was at Louisville Male High School and was good in sports and athletics. He was also active in writing articles for the various school and its clubs journals.
His incarceration and the US Air Force job
Hunter was in the car that was used to conduct the robbery and he was labeled an accomplice in the crime and sentenced to 60 days in prison. He lost his writing job due to it. He could not complete his graduation. He then enrolled with the US Air Force and was posted at the Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois where he could study electronics.
The writing job
When posted at Eglin Air ForceBase, Florida, he took evening classes at the Florida State University and got the job of a sports editor of The Command Courier and covered the games of the Eglin Eagles football team.
After discharge from the Air Force, he worked with a newspaper in Pennsylvania and later went to NY and served as an auditor, copy boy, and reporter with different outlets. He did multiple jobs but had to leave due to some reason. He also worked as a caretaker and security guard.
He wrote some short stories and 2 novels with little to no success. He managed to publish The Rum Diary in 1998. He later traveled as a reporter to South America. He and his family relocated to California followed by SF. Here he fell into drug and hippie culture.
His gonzo style article and book about Hell’s Angels’ motorcycle club was highly successful. After this fame, he began writing for several reputed magazines. With the royalty money of Hell’s Angels, he purchased a house in Colorado which he called The Owl Farm. He continued to write including on the political issues plaguing the US at that time.
The work problems
His alcoholism and drug addiction reached a point where his work started getting affected and he could not meet the deadlines of his work. Fans and critics complained that he had nothing new to offer for reading. There were problems also in his personal life. He became reclusive. He did some novels and news coverages.
He had problems with the law and sexual assault cases were also levied against him. His publication in Rolling Stone was erratic and irregular. A film was made on his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1998. In the last 5 years of his life, he again took to sports writing.
Relationship, Wife, Children?
He had married his long-term girlfriend Sandra Dawn Conklin on 19 May 1963 with whom he had a son named Juan on 23 March 1964. His wife had three miscarriages and two more of their children died early in life. They divorced in 1980. He married his assistant Anita Bejmuk on 23 April 2003.
Death, Gunshot, Suicide
He killed himself with a gunshot on 20 February 2005. He left a suicide note for his wife which read:
“No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your (old) age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”