Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 February 20, 2005) was the living embodiment of The '60s, as well as an American journalist and novelist. He is credited with creating Gonzo Journalism, being one of the main reasons Rolling Stone Magazine lasted long enough to become an institution instead of folding early like many other such mags (there's a reason he's still on the masthead), and being one of the most scathing, conniving, and vicious political writers in recent history.
Though he started out in sports writing and remained well-rooted in it up to his death, his political journalism is what he will be remembered for. Of course, he was quite able to meld the two, frequently including references to sports in his political writing, and vice versa; pro football, a passion he shared with self-declared Arch-Enemy Richard Nixon, provided particularly fertile ground. (Thompson scored a rare one-on-one interview with Nixon with the sole constraint that football would be the only topic of discussion.)
His published bibliography, both pre-and-posthumous, consists of nearly twenty books (a number of which are collections of his journalism work and personal letters), the most famous being his first three: in order, Hell's Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, and Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72. He was a larger-than-life figure given to shocking society into awareness of his points and who was convinced that the American Dream was dying around him. He was also one of the heaviest opponents of President Richard Nixon, refusing to say much nice about him even in his obituary, and the founding author of Rolling Stone's National Affairs Desk. He fatally shot himself in 2005, writing in his suicide note that he had grown weary with his ailing physical health in his old age. He was cremated and — per his wishes — his ashes were shot out of a cannon of his own design, built on his property in Woody Creek, Colorado and paid for by his close friend Johnny Depp.
Thompson, as a journalist and a reporter, was different because he put so much of himself into the work, both mentally and physically. His research for Hell's Angels, for example, began with him riding with a chapter of the infamous bike gang for a full year and concluded with him getting the shit kicked out of him by the same.
Thompson's infamous "Gonzo journalism" was created after he wrote a 1970 article on the Kentucky Derby, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved", and is notable for large amounts of stream-of-consciousness writing and also for being, as a rule, almost completely unedited. This is one of the reasons, according to Thompson, that his much-vaunted Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas novel is in fact one of the worst examples of Gonzo journalism he ever wrote (importance as a novel notwithstanding), because it was not published raw, although he himself said in the case of Fear and Loathing, editing was a necessary evil, since parts of the original, unedited novel were for all intents and purposes, un-publishable. Even the edited version has a chapter in it that is nearly incomprehensible gibberish.
Possibly better-known than Thompson himself is his thinly-veiled alter-ego, "Raoul Duke", who, in addition to "starring" in Las Vegas occasionally made appearances in Rolling Stone heading the magazine's fictional Sports Desk. (Incidentally, Duke is also still listed on the Rolling Stone masthead, along with Thompson's longtime illustrator Ralph Steadman — who is in turn credited as Gardening correspondent.)
Being one of the most influential people in American media, he is remembered through various characters parodying him: Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan, Uncle Duke from Doonesbury, Col. Hunter Gathers on The Venture Bros. and Dale Gribble from King of the Hill.
His life has been the subject of three films so far: Where the Buffalo Roam (1980, starring Bill Murray as Thompson), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998, starring Johnny Depp as "Raoul Duke", and with a cameo by Hunter himself), and The Rum Diary (2011, starring Johnny Depp once again, this time as another alter-ego, "Paul Kemp").
The Eulogy of the American Dream
- Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga (1966)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971)
- Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 (1973)
- Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
- The Curse of Lono (1983) (illustrated by Ralph Steadman, Thompson's long-standing partner in crime)
- Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
- Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream (1990)
- Gonzo Papers, Vol. 4: Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (1994)
- The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 1: The Proud Highway: The Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955/1967 (1997)
- Mistah Leary - He Dead (chapbook, 1997)
- The Rum Diary: A Novel (though written in the early 1960's, not published until 1998; made into a movie in 2011)
- The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 2: Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968/1976 (first appeared as a collection of papers in Time magazine, 1997) (first published in 2000)
- Screw-Jack & Other Stories (2000)
- Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2003)
- Fire in the Nuts (2004)
- Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness — Modern History from the Sports Desk (2004)
- Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson (2005)
- GONZO: Photographs By Hunter S. Thompson (2006)
- The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977-2005 (Still unpublished as of 2014 thanks in part to the bastard lawyers, though Johnny Depp has his name attached.)