Anton Szandor LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan and played the devil in the movie “Rosemary’s Baby,” died of pulmonary edema Oct. 29 at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco after years of heart problems. He was 67.
LaVey was a man of many interests. He worked over the years as a lion trainer, professional organist, crime photographer, artist, hypnotist and psychic. But he was always drawn to the unexplored and unexplained, family members said.
He founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and made national headlines the next year for performing a satanic wedding.
But LaVey’s brand of Satanism was about neither evil nor animal and child sacrifice, family members said. It was more about rational free thinking and a disdain for the hypocrisy he believed corrupted Christianity. The satanic images simply were convenient symbols intended to provoke a strong reaction and force thought.
LaVey stopped holding meetings in the 1970s, but continued a high-profile existence, appearing on hundreds of talkshows and entertainment programs. He eventually became known as “The Black Pope.”
In the 1970s and 1980s, he acted as a consultant on many dark films, including “Rosemary’s Baby.”
He wrote five books, including “The Satanic Bible,” “The Satanic Witch” and “The Satanic Rituals,” of which there are more than a combined 1 million copies in print. Each has been translated into nearly every major language. His final book, “Satan Speaks,” is scheduled for release next spring.
He is survived by two daughters, a son and a grandson.