The legendary Italian pornographer and novelist, who was the first European director admitted into the AVN Hall of Fame, has died.
Adult film pioneer Lasse Braun passed away earlier today at his home in Rome, Italy, due to complications from diabetes, his son, award-winning adult filmmaker Axel Braun, confirmed Monday. Braun was 78.
In 2013, Lasse Braun was the recipient of Adult Video News’ Reuben Sturman Award, which, according to AVN, is “bestowed upon those who’ve fought to protect adult’s free speech rights in the face of governmental restriction. He was awarded the honor in recognition of his single-handed efforts during the 1960s and ’70s that led to the legalization of adult material in Europe.”
Born Alberto Ferro in 1936, Braun held a law degree from the University of Milan (1956–63), and began directing and distributing adult movies in Europe in the 1961.
In 1966, he founded a movie company in Sweden through which he produced what would later become known as “loops”—one reel (approx. 10-minute) hardcore films shot in 8 or 16mm.
According to a published biography,
While preparing the defense of his doctoral dissertation entitled Judiciary Censorship in the Western World, its contents and underlying radical ideas provoked so much controversy that it was promptly dismissed.
A Member of Parliament from Denmark translated the thesis into Danish; and the translation laid the foundation for the legalisation of pornography in Denmark on 4 June 1969.
Two years later, Braun came to the U.S. and partnered with legendary porn pioneer Reuben Sturman to create peepshow machines that showed his 8mm loops. Braun also founded the first ever mail-order business for adult distribution.
According to a biography of Braun published on rotten.com
Braun’s creations were lavish, his scenarios uncensored, and his female performers extremely popular. Each reel sold by the millions. Then they were duplicated and distributed for additional millions. In no time at all, eight-to-twelve minute featurettes like Piss & Orgasm, Tit Friction, Anal Libido, Cake Orgy, andMidnight Sodomites were being viewed worldwide in arcades, bookstores, and high-class peepshows. Because they were screened so intensely — over and over again in front of a blistering white light bulb — the average copy lasted seven days. The March 12, 1975 issue of Variety announced that Braun’s French Blue was grossing nearly $75,000 a week. This was more than twice the earnings of The Man With The Golden Gun and Dracula.
“Look, I remember when he was in his late 50s that he said ‘I could die tomorrow and I would’ve had more life more than I could have ever imagined,’ and he got another 20 years after that,” Axel Braun told XBIZ Monday.
Lasse Braun was the first European director admitted into the AVN Hall of Fame, and fittingly his son Axel became the second, in 2011.