Jamie Gillis (1943-2010) was one of the premiere stars and directors of the Golden Age of Adult Films. A classically-trained repertory actor, in the early 1960’s, in New York City, he answered an ad for nude modeling and then became involved first in peep show films and later in the Golden Age erotic films. His 470 moviesincludedThe Story of Joanna; The Opening of Misty Beethoven; Barbara Broadcast; Coming of Angels;Through the Looking Glass;Oriental Blue; and Ecstasy Girls. As a director, with his On the Prowl series, he created reality erotic films. (This inspired a scene in the movie Boogie Nights). He also co-produced The Dirty Debutantes series, the first casting series. Bisexual, he appeared in a several gay scenes or films. Gillis appeared in live sex shows, reciting Shakespeare soliloquies to provide a “socially redeeming purpose” and avoid obscenity charges. He appeared in some mainstream films, like Nighthawks, as well. A member of both the Adult Video Network and the X-Rated Critics Organization Halls of Fame, he was the recipient of 12 of those organization’s awards. He was a talented raconteur, who had wanted his ashes scattered in Times Square but years later changed his mind, declaring that the cleaned-up Times Square would contaminate his ashes.
I first saw Jamie Gillis in The Story of Joanna and thought he was remarkable. His pioneering work on reality and casting erotic films was a breakthrough. A great sexual artist.