Award-winning filmmaker and libertarian political activist Aaron Russo succumbed to cancer Friday at age 64.
What’s less well known is that he was also instrumental in bringing musical acts to the United States in the 1970s, including one of my all-time favorites, Led Zeppelin.
In his later years, though, Russo turned to politics. In 1996 he produced and starred in a film, Mad as Hell, where he criticized many government policies such as the national ID card, the war on drugs, and government regulation of alternative medicine. In 1998 he ran in the Republican primary for governor of Nevada but was defeated. In 2002, before he could decide whether to run again, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
In 2004 he ran for President under the Libertarian Party banner, but failed to get the nomination.
Most recently he produced a documentary film, America: Freedom to Fascism, showing a quest to discover which law requires Americans to pay federal income taxes and finding something quite different.
And in 2007 he was one of the first to endorse Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for President, doing so even before Paul announced his candidacy. Just before he died he spoke to long time friend and libertarian activist Stephen Gordon about Ron Paul:
In our last telephone conversation, Aaron told me he’d kick my butt if I didn’t do what I could to ensure Ron Paul is the next president of the United States. This was his style. While some have viewed his rough-appearing exterior in a negative manner, those of us who knew him realized what a Teddy Bear he truly was. For those who aren’t aware, Aaron has a long history with Congressman Paul. — Gordon Unleashed
>Gordon also says: “If I had to guess the epitaph Aaron would prefer, it would be this: All your freedoms, all the time!” We can honor the legacy of Aaron Russo by rededicating ourselves to the fight to reclaim our lost liberties.