Meat merchant
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Hollywood flesh peddlers

Meat merchant
By Patrick Day, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

People have been taking their clothes off in Hollywood for a long time, before the movies even had sound as a matter of fact. But never has the diversity of nudity-lovers been as wide as in current Hollywood. It’s not just the cigar-chomping mogul pushing for starlets to expose themselves. In this gallery, you’ll not only find the old standbys (Hef), but also an A-list movie star and an entire cable channel. Not to mention comedy’s reigning king Judd Apatow, whose movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (with Jason Segel, above) has attracted reams of articles for its full-frontal male nudity.

So feast your eyes on Hollywood’s current generation of meat merchants. (Glen Wilson / Universal Pictures)
Hugh Hefner
Historic flesh peddler: Hugh Hefner

Beginning with Marilyn Monroe in the very first issue of Playboy back in 1953, Hefner has been on an almost messianic quest to run naked photos of every decade’s sex symbols. He ran pics of Jayne Mansfield, Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford and Farrah Fawcett. He even ran nudie shots of video game icon Lara Croft. One suspects that if he’d been in business earlier, we’d all know what Clara Bow looked like sans bloomers. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images)
Christopher Mallick
Online flesh peddler: Christopher Mallick

Christopher Mallick turned into an overnight success in the Internet porn business, when he became a financial go-between for the sites and their paying customers. Mallick’s transition into the sometimes seedy and greedy adult film world played out like a Hollywood movie, one deemed worthy of the big screen by writer-director George Gallo, best known for penning “Bad Boys” and “Midnight Run.” The fictionalized version of his racy lifestyle (produced by Mallick) unfolds with Luke Wilson (pictured) raking in the big bucks as the Mallick-like Jack Harris. We can only guess that “Middle Men” will be available online in the very near future. (Rico Torres / Middle Pictures)
Judd Apatow
Full frontal flesh peddler: Judd Apatow

Back when he was producing “Freaks and Geeks” on network TV, who could have predicted that Apatow would go on to become one of mainstream cinema’s leading utilizers of full frontal male nudity? But witness the evidence on display in Apatow productions such as “Walk Hard” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” or even the teen comedy “Superbad,” which featured the most creative penis drawings ever committed to celluloid. What was once the avant-garde limit of explicit cinema has been embraced by the mall movie crowd. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Joe Francis
Bad boy flesh peddler: Joe Francis

Through his blockbuster series of “Girls Gone Wild” videos, Francis combines the old school charm of a San Fernando Valley pornographer with the mainstream acceptance of Hugh Hefner, with just a dash of Ron Popeil’s flair for late-night commercials thrown in for good measure. Fresh from his stint in a Nevada jail, Francis immediately put out an offer to have former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute pose nude for his new magazine, only to learn that he already had drunken party footage of her from years before. It’s proof that Francis was a forward-thinking visionary eager to exploit the old school truism that bad things come to girls who get naked on spring break. (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images)
Larry Flynt
Political flesh peddler: Larry Flynt

Not content to run just a simple skin magazine, Flynt has used his position atop a successful publishing empire to run for public office a number of times as well as offer a cash reward for evidence of sexual misdeeds by Republican lawmakers during the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings in 1998. During the 2003 California recall election, Flynt ran for governor, calling himself a “smut peddler who cares.” (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)
Dov Charney
Clothed flesh peddler: Dov Charney

The ads for Charney’s company, American Apparel, look like amateur porn, but it’s only on closer inspection that you realize it’s not the flesh he’s selling, it’s the clothes. Sneaky man that Charney. Controversy about his personal habits aside, Charney has figured out a way to play both sides of the fence. Those models may look like exploited teens, but he could always argue that without his clothes, they’d be completely nude. A few years back he earned the wrath of director Woody Allen, who sued Charney’s American Apparel for $10 million after it used a still of Allen from “Annie Hall” in billboard and online ads. Allen later settled for $5 million. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Janice Dickinson
Reality flesh peddler: Janice Dickinson

As star and host of “Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency,” the Oxygen channel reality series, Dickinson regularly expects her aspiring models to strip to their birthday suits in order to further their modeling careers. Like the queen bee of the sorority, she’s all about getting her underlings to humiliate themselves as much as possible before they get to join the club. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Mr. Skin
Flesh peddler of the future: Mr. Skin

Also known as Jim McBride, this Chicago-based former futures trader parlayed his hobby of compiling famous nude scenes on VHS tapes into a successful internet venture. Despite the studios screaming bloody murder about the piracy of their product online, they’ve been startlingly tolerant of Mr. Skin’s exhaustive database of video and photos highlighting “the goods” from their movies. By embracing new technologies, Mr. Skin has eliminated the need to waste hours of precious time scanning horrible “Skinemax” comedies and thrillers for hints of nudity. He distills it into a no-nonsense quick hit -- be it Angelina Jolie or Kathy Bates()
Will Ferrell
Self-flesh peddler: Will Ferrell

Some actors are shy about their bodies, others take a more relaxed attitude toward on-screen nudity. And then there’s Will Ferrell, who displays an almost porn star-like glee in showing off that hairy, milky-white skin at every opportunity. Maybe it was his all-nude run in the box-office hit “Old School” that gave him inspiration, but he’s been doffing his duds in virtually every movie he’s done since, including “Step Brothers.” (Gemma La Mana / Columbia Pictures)
Lindsay Lohan
Stealth flesh peddlers: New York magazine publishers

Everyone knows you can pick up a skin mag such as Hustler, Perfect 10 or Playboy to get a dose of nudity. But who knew New York Magazine would get in on the game? The runaway success of their naked Lindsay-Lohan-as-Marilyn-Monroe pics will no doubt bring an onslaught of other young actresses getting naked in older actress homages in the pages of stuffy Manhattan publications. Look for Seth Rogen to recreate Burt Reynolds’ famous Cosmopolitan nude shoot in the pages of the New Yorker any day now. (Bert Stern / Associated Press)