Bob Guccione's Longtime Assistant Tapped to Help Rebrand Publisher's Image

Bob Johnson

NEW YORK — Jane Homlish, right hand assistant to late Penthouse founder Bob Guccione for more than three decades is part of a new team organized to rebrand the adult media king’s tarnished image.

The New York Post reported today that Homlish, along with estate curator Simeon Lipman and several full-time employees are sifting through a treasure trove of Penthouse archives secured by storage buyer Jeremy Frommer in January that includes Guccion’s personal belongings, including photographs, correspondence, journals, manuscripts, illustrations and other items he meticulously kept during his lifetime.

Homlish and the team want to present Guccione’s legacy as more than a pornographer whose empire crumbled under bad investments, debts and the loss of his beloved fourth wife. The article said Hornish's goal is to emphasize  Guccione’s “genius IQ,” accomplishments and talents as a grand chess master, artist and savvy editor who’d commissioned top writers and artists.

“I’m so glad this is all coming to light, because he really was a genuine artist,” Homlish told the Post.  “It’s an opportunity to show Bob as he really was; the genuine person that was underneath everything.”

The article also chronicles Homlish — a college dropout — whose decades-long career at Penthouse began in 1971 along with Guccione’s rise to fame as the first publisher ever to challenge Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire.

Hornish noted that Guccione was a textbook workaholic, and meticulous when it came to the magazine, hand-picking every shot for the pictorials. He did however trust Hornish to choose some photos because he knew she had a voyeuristic feel and  “could see things through his eye.”

Despite his hedonistic image, Guccione was described by Homlish as quiet, intellectual, warm and sincere. “He wasn’t having parties, running around in pajamas. We used to call his room the black hole because he’d disappear in there and work,” Homlish recalled.

Loyal to Guccione to his tragic end, Homlish saw him lose his empire and suffer from cancer. She said it was a very ugly and traumatic time that forced her to sell some of Guccione’s art treasures including Picassos and Renoirs.

Homlish was the only person outside of the family that attended Guccione’s burial.

Tracked down by Frommer through the filmmaker who’s producing a documentary on Guccione, Homlish said, ““When I learned that Jeremy had this material there was a chance to breathe again,” she said. “It’s renewed my hope that Bob would be appreciated by the next generation and not go down in flames.”