John Curtis Estes, American porn star. 1944 – 1988
"A happy gardener is one with dirty fingernails, and a happy cook is a fat cook. I never get tired of what I do because I'm a sex fiend."
John Holmes (real name John Curtis Estes) was born in Ashville, Ohio on the 13th March, 1944, to a staunch Baptist mother, Mary Estes. After a long period of suffering at the hands of his alcoholic stepfather, Edward Holmes, he quit high school at the age of 16 to join the Army. He served in Germany with the Signal Corps for three years before moving to Los Angeles, where he had a number of jobs, notably driving ambulances and forklift trucks.
Following his marriage to Sharon Gebenini in 1965, he began work as a nude pin-up model, and in the late 60s started working in the fledgling American porn industry, making illegal 8mm short films. In the early 70s, 'skin flicks' began to become more widely available in cinemas, with the release of such classics as Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones. Holmes was in a position to capitalise on his biggest asset, and quickly moved into his best-known role as the smooth talking "private dick" known as Johnny Wadd. He quickly became established as a major star, and made literally hundreds of films in the 70s and early 80s, earning him the title 'Sultan of Smut'.
Like so many people in the film industry, however, John became a victim of his own success. He had been taking drugs since the early 70s, and soon fell into addiction. He also began to have difficulty sustaining an erection, and became unpredictable in nature, suffering mood swings and becoming argumentative. Because of this he was offered fewer and fewer roles, and a downward spiral began. Hustling and prostitution followed, and he is alleged to have forced a 15-year old mistress into prostitution. His marriage ended in divorce in 1980.
To finance his cocaine habit, he began working with a gang known as the Wonderland Gang, as a drug runner (but was not above petty crime, it seems - he was once arrested stealing a computer). He was also involved with the gang when they robbed another drug dealer, Eddie Nash, on 29th June, 1981. Following this, Eddie is said to have forced John at gunpoint to accompany him to murder the gang in their apartment three days later. John was arrested on 20th May, 1982, but refused to make a statement. No charges were brought against him, and the 'Laurel Canyon' case was never officially solved.
This had a major impact on him, and he worked hard to clean his life up and get back to work, which he did. Although he did work on the production side, he was still acting, even after his diagnosis with HIV in 1986. He met and married actress Misty Dawn (aka Laurie Rose) in 1988, but died of AIDS-related illness on March 13th, 1988, in a hospital in Sepulveda, California, his wife at his side.
Statistics and Filmography
His penis is alleged to have been 13 inches long when erect, although in an interview with Screw Magazine, he was quoted as saying it was 12 5/8 inches. As may be expected, estimates of the number of women he slept with* vary wildly. He himself reckoned it was close to 3,000, and given that he was involved in around 2,500 films, it is quite possible. His IMDb filmography lists only 202 however, with titles such as Sex and the Single Vampire (1970), Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak (1970) and the Swedish Erotica series (1981).
His acting may not have been the best, but the porn historian Jim Holliday claims that his performance in Eruption (1977) proves otherwise, as he performed his own (non-sexual) stunts and gave a fair performance as an insurance agent. "I'm tired of hearing about John and his acting ability. No one ever gave David Niven grief for having a small penis."
His aliases include Johnny Wadd, John Duval (II), Big John Fallus, Big John Holmes, John Rey, Long John Wadd, John C. Holmes, John Curtis Holmes.
He is also name-checked in "Get it together" by the Beastie Boys and Q-Tip. It goes a little something like this:
Thanks to ryano for the above!
Cause I get funky and I'm shootin' off my jizm
Like John Holmes, the X-rated nigga
Listen to the shit, cause I am the ill figure
AIN'T NOBODY ANY BIGGER THAN THIS!
* BlueDragon says re John Holmes: Is "slept with" a little coy when talking about the exploits of a porn star? presumably he didnt "sleep" on set ;)