Real Life “Fear And Loathing” In 1971

Published August 11, 2015
Updated August 3, 2015

Hunter S Thompson Raoul Duke

Novelist Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney Oscar “Zeta” Acosta appear together in 1971, the year Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would be released. Acosta and Thompson were close friends, with Thompson immortalizing Acosta’s when he created the character Dr. Gonzo, the Samoan attorney in “Fear and Loathing.”

It was his ventures with Acosta that would help inform his brand of “gonzo journalism,” in which the journalist is not removed from the story so much as he or she is part of its development.

Three years after this photo was taken, Acosta–famous for, among other things, subpoenaing every member of the Los Angeles County grand jury to prove a pattern of discrimination against Mexican Americans–would disappear and be presumed dead. Wrote Thompson of Acosta,

“Oscar was one of God’s own prototypes-a high-powered mutant of some kind who was never even considered for mass production. He was too weird to live and too rare to die.”

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