NEW YORK — Alvin Goldstein, a pioneering pornographer who published Screw magazine and spent decades dodging obscenity convictions, has died.
Goldstein, whose Milky Way production company owned the long-running cable TV show “Midnight Blue,” died Thursday in Brooklyn. He was 77.
After a colorful early career that involved Army service, photojournalism, encyclopedia sales and industrial espionage, Goldstein launched Screw in 1968. The magazine’s primary innovation was its commitment to being “utterly tasteless,” Alan Dershowitz, who defended Goldstein in court, told The New York Times. Screw featured reviews of pornographic movies and brothels, as well as photo shoots of nude models.
His fights against obscenity charges included a legal battle with the Pillsbury company for depicting its Doughboy in a compromising position.
Over the decades, however, Goldstein found himself facing overwhelming competition as hardcore pornography became more mainstream, video and Internet pornography became ubiquitous, and free publications offered the same advertisements for services that had been Screw’s primary source of revenue. In 2003, a bankrupt Goldstein wound up in a homeless shelter and struggled to keep minimum-wage jobs in New York.
Married five times, Goldstein found himself estranged from his ex-wives and his son, Jordan. He spent his last years in a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was a Brooklyn native.