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Old 03-20-2013, 03:38 PM  
siberian khatru siberian khatru is offline
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RIP Harry Reems

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http://www.avclub.com/articles/rip-h...-throat,94009/

R.I.P. Harry Reems, legendary porn star of Deep Throat

by Will Harris March 20, 2013

Harry Reems, the mustachioed actor whose work in the 1972 porno classic Deep Throat turned him into one of the most recognizable names in the adult film industry, has died. He was 65. Reems spent the last five years battling emphysema and peripheral neuropathy, and he had recently been in treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Born in Manhattan in 1947 and raised in the suburbs of Westchester, Reems—real name Herbert Streicher—joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 18, but his stint proved short-lived: Upon receiving the news that his father was terminally ill, Reems was granted leave and eventually exited the service. After the military, Reems opted to pursue a career in acting, working in various low-paying theatrical productions. But while these efforts ultimately earned him an Actors’ Equity card, he still struggled to make ends meet. In 1967, Reems, increasingly desperate to change his financial situation, decided to follow the suggestion of a friend and enter the adult film industry.

By the time Deep Throat rolled around, Reems had done his time in front of the camera and was trying his best to transition behind it. “After three or four years of it, I was getting rather tired—and bored, believe it or not—of performing in those films, and I really got interested in the craft of making films,” he said in a 2005 interview he conducted with this author at Bullz-Eye.

Originally hired as the lighting director on Deep Throat, Reems was asked by director Gerard Damiano to step in and play the role of Dr. Young, the physician who examines Linda Lovelace’s throat, discovers that it houses her clitoris, and then assists in honing her oral sex skills. While the film proved to be a significant financial success, with some estimates of its box-office totals veering as high as $600 million, Reems himself only made $100 for his efforts. The film’s notoriety, however, translated into more gigs in front of the camera. As he told Bullz-Eye:

“After Deep Throat…I was flown to Paris, France, to shoot the soft-core French version of Deep Throat. They hired a girl who looked exactly like Linda Lovelace from behind, they wrote a whole new story…I mean, the French version of Deep Throat is nothing like the American version. It’s a whole different movie! But while I was there, I met with an agent who started to get me some work in some German police shoot-‘em-up films and Italian spaghetti westerns, and I spent a good deal of time in Europe between late ’72 and ‘til about 1976. I probably did a couple of hundred films after Deep Throat.”

Unfortunately, the film’s notoriety was accompanied by considerable controversy over its sexual content. In 1973, Manhattan Judge Joel J. Tyler famously deemed Deep Throat obscene, variously calling it a “feast of carrion and squalor,” “a nadir of decadence” and “a Sodom and Gomorrah gone wild before the fire.” In 1976, Reems—along with more than 60 other individuals and companies—was indicted in Memphis, Tennessee, and successfully convicted of conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines.

(Perversely, both Lovelace and Damiano served as witnesses for the prosecution, having been granted immunity for their testimony. According to Reems, “Linda Lovelace just stood there, pointed, and said, ‘Yeah, that’s the actor I did the sex with in the movie,’ and the director stood up and said, ‘Yeah, that’s the actor I directed to have sex in the movie.’”)

As the first actor ever prosecuted on obscenity charges by the federal government, Reems received immediate support from many notables within the Hollywood community, including Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, both of whom traveled to Memphis to testify on Reems’ behalf. (The judge refused to let them take the stand.) With the help of attorney Alan Dershowitz, Reems’ conviction was successfully overturned on appeal, but the expensive legal process left the actor bankrupt, leading to the creation of the Harry Reems Legal Defense Fund, which threw several celebrity-hosted benefit events for Reems around the country.

“I hadn’t met many of the celebrities,” Reems told Bullz-Eye. “They were there because of the issue that was being threatened, and that was creative freedom. They weren’t there supporting Harry Reems; they were supporting an issue. I had no pretense that they were there for anything other than that. (But) I thanked them, and I’m very grateful to all of them to this day.”

Following the trial, in an effort to expand on his earlier non-pornographic efforts in Europe and return to more traditional acting roles, Reems moved to Los Angeles and successfully scored a part in a major mainstream motion picture, by playing Coach Calhoun in Grease. Before production began, however, Reems’ past had caught up with him, resulting in his replacement by noted non-pornographic actor Sid Caesar. As he again told Bullz-Eye:

“Paramount bounced me out of that production and paid off the contract, and they gave me a very credible reason why, and I probably would’ve done the same thing. They were losing play dates in certain more conservative communities…and, obviously, the point of a film is to get as many play dates as possible. It very clearly indicated to me that a transition into a more, uh, conventional form of entertainment was not gonna happen. But much like an athlete whose career winds up in his mid-30s, I had not planned ahead or thought about what I would do in the future, because I was always hopeful that I could continue acting. But that didn’t come about. So, being the very weak person I am, I ran toward drugs and alcohol until it became a huge problem and nearly killed me.”

Reems begrudgingly returned to adult films in 1982, after being made an offer he couldn’t refuse to earn a six-figure sum and a percentage of the gross by starring in Society Affairs. Seeing no other career options, he got back into the game on a full-time basis, growing increasingly more depressed. All the while, he continued to drink and drug his sorrows away:

“It came to a point where I wasn’t even insurable in a motion picture, so I sort of sabotaged my own career. I was in denial that I had a drinking problem and continued to drink—to the tune of a half a gallon a day!—‘til July of 1989. At that point in time, I realized that I either gotta kill myself or I gotta get better. Fortunately, I chose to get better.”

Leaving alcohol, drugs, and pornography behind for good, Reems settled in Park City, Utah, where he got married, embraced Christianity, built a thriving real estate career, and—with the exception of interviews he did for the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat, and a round of interviews to promote its release—he made a concerted effort to stay as far out of the public eye as possible.

Reems did, however, have a sense of humor about his past, giving his blessing to an organization calling itself Harry Reems Athletic Club and maintaining a relationship with the group until his death. It was Reems’ widow, Jeanne, who first announced his death through an email to the membership of the HRAC, well before word of his passing made it to the media.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:21 PM   #16
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:22 PM   #17
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #18
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:17 PM   #19
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:37 PM   #20
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