Industry News

Lenny Friedlander Shot Himself In His House

His wife found him.

Who’s taking over New Beginnings now Lenny is gone? I assume he left it to his wife.

Paul Fishbein reports:

Lenny Friedlander, 50, owner of New Beginnings and former president of The Free Speech Coalition, passed away yesterday.

Bryan Berber, New Beginnings vice-president, issued the following statement to AVN. “It is with great sadness and regret that I must tell you all of the passing of Lenny Friedlander, owner of New Beginnings. Lenny died August 5 at his home in Louisiana.

“Funeral arrangements are pending,” Berber said. “We ask that out of respect for Lenny and his family, that everyone will take a moment and say a prayer for him. Thank you all for your consideration in this difficult time.”

Why do pornographers invoke prayer? If there’s a God, they’re going to Hell. If there isn’t a God, then prayer does no good.

By the nature of their work, porners must ignore God 99% of the time (or drown their guilt in alcohol, drugs, gambling, senseless sex, etc). But when confronted by extreme suffering and death, most find secularism cold comfort and they start reaching for the divine.

When I close my eyes and think of Lenny Friedlander, I see a guy with a big ol’ gut.

The last time I saw him was in January 2005. He repeatedly kicked me out of his Saturday brunch.

Here are my notes on Lenny:

He entered the business in 1978 as a bill collector. “I was too good. I ran out of clients,” Friedlander told AVN.

In January of 1998 at the CES, he married a dancer. They live half the year in Los Angeles and the other half in New Orleans.

Friedlander founded the Free Speech Coalition, porn’s trade group, in 1991. Lawyer Jeffrey Douglas serves as executive director of the FSC and as Lenny’s personal lawyer.

Bill Margold met Douglas in 1993. “He had a compendium of all legal cases [regarding pornography] in each state. Jeffrey had done his homework. He’s a lonely person. Jeffrey Douglas is like an adult version of me. He’s interested in money.

“I remember in December of 1993, the Free Speech Coalition got tired of being the Free Speech Coalition. When the heads of states [leading company owners] fell on their swords [wanted off the FSC board]. I called Jeffrey and asked him to be a board member. At the same time, I brought in Ray Pistol, Flip Phil Berman, Mara Epstein… I wanted a cross-section of the industry. They replaced Braverman, Charlie Brickman (Cinderella), Lenny Friedlander, Bob Tremont, David Kastens, Al Bloom, Ron Sullivan…Hal Freeman’s daughter Sherrie Freeman.

“I was not elected in the rubber doll election of December 1992. Worried that some of their people would lose the election, X number of votes were bought by people like Chuck Zane, who gleefully admits it. And Brickman, so they could remain elected. I was not elected. Though I was invited to every single board meeting in 1993 and eventually offered a seat on the board. Then, in January of 1994, I recreated the board.

“I remember in April of 1993, when there was an attempt to absorb the Adult Video Association into the Free Speech Coalition, I said, ‘That’s [the title Free Speech Coalition] amorphous. What does it mean?’ Whereupon Lenny Friedlander scratched his empty head and said, ‘Now I know two things. One, you don’t like me and two, I don’t know what amorphous means.’ I said, ‘You’re right about one, and two, you’re a product of a college education.’

“Jeffrey Douglas has worked hard. He found his universe through the FSC. I brought him out of obscurity and gave him a chance to open up a pot of gold and fall face down into it. It’s not my fault that he doesn’t know the keys to the pot of gold. Perhaps he was too big a man at first, or his heart blinded his common sense, he did too much for too little in the beginning, working himself into financial disarray. By the time he got out of that, I had long lost my enchantment with him because of statement said to me in November of 1995. Lenny Friendlander said he owned Jeffrey, and that if he snapped his fingers, Jeffrey would quit the board. Which was like saying that Shoeless Joe Jackson had thrown the 1919 World Series. I was devastated. It ruined my weekend. I went to lunch with Jeffrey Monday at a smorgasboard, and I was so upset I could eat only one little plateful. I simply asked him if it was true, ‘say it ain’t so Joe?’ And he said that he could not comment. Then I lost all faith. So, in effect, by not answering, he admitted that he was a side of beef branded LF – Lenny Friedlander. From then on, our relationship has been adversarial. Though we are aimed in the same direction – the preservation of the letter X in the entertainment alphabet.” (Conversation 6/11/98)

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