The Louisville native is credited with inventing the immersive and imaginative “gonzo” journalism, which, in his case, was usually fueled by alcohol and drug use.
Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005 at age 67, is best known for his books “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” and “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.”
His career spanned six decades, stating with a job covering sports for a U.S. Air Force base newspaper in Florida, but his style and reputation were established with his famous 1970 piece, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” published in Scanlon’s Monthly.
Thompson wrote for years for Rolling Stone and was also published by The New York Times, Boston Globe, Esquire, Playboy, Time and Vanity Fair.
He’ll be inducted April 29 into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, and efforts are under way to honor him with a “Hometown Heroes” banner in Louisville.
A 15-foot-by-40-foot banner illustrated by Ralph Steadman, who worked for years with Thompson, will be unveiled Saturday as part of GonzoFest activities to honor the late writer.
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