10 Things To Remember About Hunter S. Thompson on the 10th Anniversary of his Death
A decade ago, the gun-crazy gonzo journalist who wrote “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” took his own life. Here’s a look at the essential HST.
On Feb. 20, 2005, Hunter S. Thompson, the crazed journalist/counter-culture icon, fatally shot himself at his Owl Farm ranch outside Aspen, Colorado. Thompson, 67, had been a living legend for decades, thanks to both his “gonzo” reporting style and legendarily hedonistic ethos. This was, after all, the man who once said, “I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity to anyone – but in my case it’s worked.”
A prolific, flame-throwing writer who partied harder than anyone you’ve ever known, Thompson was portrayed on the big screen by Bill Murray (“Where the Buffalo Roam“) and Johnny Depp (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“). An avowed gun nut, an enthusiastic gobbler of all manner of drugs and alcohol, and full-tilt wild man prone to the occasional violent outburst, Thompson sometimes mused about suicide. So it wasn’t entirely shocking that Thompson went out with a bang.
He wrote about leaving this world as far back as his breakthrough 1966 book, “Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs”, which included this oft-quoted passage about crossing over to the other side:
“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.”
Now that’s it’s a decade “Later”, here are ten things to remember about Hunter S. Thompson, the God of Gonzo:
1. His typical daily routine started at 3 p.m. and supposedly involved consuming Chivas Regal, Dunhill cigarettes, cocaine, Heineken, “grass”, acid, Champagne, margaritas, two cheeseburgers, fettucine alfredo, Dove Bars, and Halcyon.
2. Don Johnson once asked him to answer the Zen riddle, “What is the sound of one-hand clapping?” Johnson later recalled, “He reached up and slapped me upside the head.”
3. In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Aspen and surrounding Pitkin County on the “Freak Power” ticket. (He lost by only 31 votes).
4. As a birthday present to his buddy Jack Nicholson, Thompson once left a frozen elk heart onto his doormat, causing blood to seep into the actor’s living room.
5. In his last published sports column for espn.com, he invented a game called “shotgun golf” with the help of Bill Murray.
6. At his funeral, Thompson’s ashes were blasted from a cannon mounted atop a 150-foot tall monument of a red fist with two thumbs.
7. He used to type out pages from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” while developing his inimitably free-wheeling writing style.
8. The character of Duke in Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” comic strip was inspired by Thompson.
9. His menagerie of pets over the years included an alcoholic monkey (who also allegedly committed suicide), a pride of peacocks and a pair of dobermans.
10. While he often referred to himself as “Dr.” he didn’t have any advanced degrees—just a title bought from the Universal Life Church in the late 1960s.