Yippies co-founder Krassner dead at 87

Yippie party co-founder Paul Krassner became a stand-up comedian, celebrity interviewer and author.
Yippie party co-founder Paul Krassner became a stand-up comedian, celebrity interviewer and author.

Paul Krassner, the publisher, author and radical political activist on the front lines of 1960s counterculture who helped tie together his loose-knit prankster group by naming them the Yippies, has died aged 87.

Krassner died at his home in Desert Hot Springs, California, his daughter Holly Krassner Dawson told the Associated Press. He had recently moved into hospice care after an undisclosed illness.

The Yippies, who included Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and were otherwise known as the Youth International Party, briefly became notorious for such stunts as running a pig for president and throwing dollar notes onto the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Hoffman and Rubin, but not Krassner, were among the so-called "Chicago 7" charged with inciting riots at 1968's chaotic Democratic National Convention.

By the end of the decade, most of the group's members had faded into obscurity but not Krassner, who constantly reinvented himself, becoming a public speaker, freelance writer, stand-up comedian, celebrity interviewer and author of nearly a dozen books.

He interviewed such celebrity acquaintances as authors Norman Mailer and Joseph Heller and the late conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart.

An advocate of unmitigated free speech, recreational drug use and personal pornography, Krassner's books included such titles as Pot Stories for the Soul and Psychedelic Trips for the Mind, and he claimed to have taken LSD with numerous celebrities, including comedian Groucho Marx, LSD guru Timothy Leary and author Ken Kesey.

He also published several books on obscenity, including In Praise of Indecency: Dispatches From the Valley of Porn, and Who's to Say What's Obscene: Politics, Culture & Comedy in America Today.

Australian Associated Press