After John Holmes and Harry Reems, the next two most recognizable male faces from the early days of adult films would probably be Jamie Gillis and John Leslie—and fondly enough, the two were best friends.
“I remember the day I met him,” Leslie told AVN. “It was my first trip to New York in 1976, and I was staying with this woman, Sandy, who was an agent in the business at that time, and we went to this off-Broadway show that was about the porno business, and Jamie was there with other people and that’s the first time we met. I’d seen him in the movies and I was a fan of his, and we hit it off right away, and soon after that, I cooked my first meal for him at Sandy’s place. I’ve cooked for him countless times over the years. The dinner was filet of sole Claudine; I saw it on TV, so I figured I’d just try it, and it came out real good and we had a nice dinner. So we remained close.
“We were on a number of sets together, and always had a good time, and he actually lived with me for a little while here in Marin, and he was with me the day Ecstasy Girls swept the AFA awards in 1980,” Leslie continued. “I’ll never forget that night. It was a wonderful night. Everybody loved what happened. Everything was well-deserved, and everybody felt that way. It was [Harold Lime’s] movie, and the feeling that night was just warm and cozy and fuzzy and wonderful. Everybody was happy for them for winning those awards, and we were staying at the Holiday Inn, I think it was on Hollywood Boulevard, at that time, and the next day we were going to travel to—I was going back home, and we were traveling to San Francisco with [Harold] and Jesie St. James and a bunch of other people; we were going to do a movie up here. So before we went to the airport, we met in this little lounge where we had a bite of breakfast or something, and I was talking to Jamie, and I said, ‘What a wonderful night that was.’ I didn’t want it to end, it was such a beautiful night, and I remember him saying to me, ‘It was bittersweet, you know.’ So we went to the airport in Burbank and we’re together and we both see this woman, and Jamie goes, ‘Oh,’ and he goes over and starts talking to her, and I’m right with him, and her and I lock eyes, and that was it. That’s my wife. So we got on the plane, and Kathleen and I were sitting and talking, and we weren’t talking to everybody else, and actually everybody left the plane, and the next thing I knew, they were tapping us on the shoulder, saying, ‘You’ve got to get off the plane now.’ And we’ve been together every since. And Jamie felt very much a part of our relationship, and very close to us, and obviously he was at our house many, many, many times once she moved up here and we married and everything. It was part of how close we were; all this stuff built into our relationship, you know. And he always respected me so much for what I did and my paintings and my music, and obviously my acting and directing.”
Another highly recognizable face would have been Ron Jeremy’s, and he too has good memories of Gillis.
“When I first got in the business,” Jeremy recalled, “Harry Reems had retired, John Holmes was in and out of jail, and so the guy that I looked up to the most was really Jamie Gillis; he was like the number one guy when I got into porn. He was the top guy. He was like number one, Marc Stevens was like number two, and then John Leslie was number three. Jamie was number one. He was also a Jewish boy, we used to talk about that as well, and also was a college graduate; he went to Columbia. And Jamie kind of took me under his wing a little bit; he helped me get a part in Dracula Exotica where I played a henchman. My first dialogue scene was with Jamie, and he had sex with Marlene Willoughby on the big feast table, and I did a sex scene later on in the film.” Read the rest of this entry »