Herbert Streicher

On a bit of a biography kick. This guy -- Herbert Streicher -- is known to some old farts people as Harry Reems.

The Guardian has a fascinating interview with him:

Porn-again Christian
He was a jobbing actor whose energetic role in the most infamous porn movie ever made turned him into a cause celebre and an unwitting spokesman against censorship. It also nearly cost him his life. As a candid documentary is released, Harry Reems tells David A Keeps about his struggle to survive Deep Throat

The man sitting on the edge of the bed and making love to the camera is arousing nothing but suspicion. Could this avuncular chap with the beetle brows and a shock of grey hair - who looks like what they used to call a 'silver fox' 30 years ago - actually be Harry Reems, the first male porn star and one of the few genuine survivors of the 1972 adult film Deep Throat?

Yes, and then again, no. This fellow, born Herbert Streicher in New York City in 1947, sitting here in his bucolic Park City, Utah, mountainside home in a plaid shirt and neatly pressed khakis, has the smile, the voice and the disposition of a breakfast DJ. It is easy to see the ghost of a cocksure rake, the role he played in silly skin flicks with such brio three decades ago, when Harry Reems was one of many noms de porn that stuck. It is even more apparent, however, that he is no longer the firebrand freedom-of-expression spokesperson - and, later, more sadly, the wasted sot - on display in Inside Deep Throat, the wildly entertaining new documentary about the most profitable porno film ever made. It is 15:01 on the celebrity clock for Harry Reems, or, as he puts it, 'I've had my 15 minutes of fame, now I would like my 15 years of retirement.'

The article talks about his childhood, discovering acting and working as a lighting tech for Deep Throat when the actor failed to show up. He was brought to trial for his part in the movie -- from the interview:

He explains the story of the trial as simply as he can: 'I was the first actor ever prosecuted for his work by the federal government. I was brought on trial for conspiracy to transport obscene materials interstate. They were basically saying that because I had knowledge that a piece of obscenity was crossing state lines, that because I didn't disavow and destroy that conspiracy, I was responsible for it.'

The trial commenced in Memphis, Tennessee, in March 1976. From the outset, Harry says, 'It was a stacked deck.' The judge, the prosecutor and the DA were all Nixon appointees, though the president had resigned in disgrace after the Watergate scandal two years earlier.

The prosecutor was 'a right-wing Southern Baptist type, waving the Bible at the jury. No one was allowed to see Deep Throat, no one was allowed to be on the jury who had ever seen a porno film.' The film's director and star were witnesses for the prosecution and granted immunity.

He started drinking seriously, was living on the streets for a while, went into a 12-step program and is now a successful businessman (real-estate). Fascinating story...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on May 22, 2005 9:14 PM.

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