Lasse Braun Passes Away

ROME—Adult industry pioneer Lasse Braun died this morning in his home city of Rome, Italy, of complications from diabetes. He was 78.

Braun's son, director Axel Braun, reported the news of his passing, telling AVN his father fell some hours ago and was taken to the hospital, where "he was in and out of consciousness for a little bit, and then he went to sleep and didn't wake up." The elder Braun was working of late on a new book.

Truly an industry forefather, Lasse Braun was the most recent recipient, in 2013, of AVN's Reuben Sturman Award, 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.

While battling for retailers' right to sell explicit fare, he was of course also producing it. In 1966, he founded a movie company in Stockholm called AB Beta Film through which he began shooting what came to be known as "loops"—10-minute hardcore color films. These included titles such as Golden Butterfly, Blow-Up '70, Sex on the Motorway and Dream of a Nymphomaniac, and were distributed under the banners Eros Film and Ciro's Film.

In order to get these titles to consumers, Braun blazed two revolutionary trails in adult retailing: founding the first ever mail-order business, and partnering with Reuben Sturman himself in the advent of the modern day peep-show booth.

Over the next couple of decades, Braun continued to make movies sporadically.

"Possibly the most important thing he taught me is that this is not 'just porn,' and there are no 'throwaway scenes,'" son Axel told AVN, adding that his favorite movie of his father's is American Desire. "Also, when shooting, always ask yourself why the people in your scene are having sex."

Read more about Lasse Braun in this biography by, which begins by lauding him as "a pornography king arguably higher in stature than Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione combined" who "was the focus of international prosecution, taking legal bullets in stride long before Larry Flynt."