Jamie Gillis, un ricordo. Memories.

Jamie Gillis, è stata la vera pop star del cinema porno, per tutti gli anni '70 e
 anche in seguito. A New York, dove era nato e viveva, era considerato un buon attore, e un valido conversatore, uno con cui si poteva parlare di pittura e temi sociali e politici. Aveva 66 anni, vero nome Jamey Ira Gurman, NY 20 Aprile 1943 (di origini ebraiche come molti dell'ambiente del porno), spirito libero ma dotato di capacità intellettuali e creative notevoli. Laureato in biologia alla Columbia di NY, con lode nel 1970, dopo aver frequentato corsi di recitazione dell'off Broadway, nel '71, rispose a un annuncio del Village Voice, il giornale di NY, cofondato anche da Norman Mailer, totalmente gratuito, oggi reperibile solo sul web, e assai letto e diffuso, e si ritrovò a girare in uno scantinato, quelli che erano dei piccoli loops, cioè dei filmati in 8mm a colori, senza suono, destinati ad essere visti nei peep show, quelle macchinette dove si infilava una monetina da 50 cents, che faceva partire la pellicola, che girava dall'inizio alla fine, per una durata di due o tre minuti, lunga 25 metri. L'anno successivo, il porno fu sdoganato con il famoso Gola profonda, e da quel momento fu girato su regolare pellicola da 34mm e proiettato nei cinema di quartiere. Gillis divenne subito uno dei pochi leader del genere, esibendo anche doti recitative non comuni per l'ambiente. Memorabile resta una delle sue performance in un film di Redley Metzger, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, girato tra Parigi e Roma, da un maestro cult del cinema per adulti, all'epoca passato per un breve periodo ai film porno, che fruivano di un notevole mercato. Altro ruolo cult, sempre con Metzger, l'aveva avuto l'anno prima, in un altro classico, memorabile film del 1974, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, in cui gli fu affidata la scena dello stupro. Ha ottenuto ruoli anche in una decina di mainstrem film, specie dopo essersi trasferito in California, unico luogo di produzione del porno, dopo gli anni settanta. La sua compagna della vita era Zarela Martinez, una leader nella cucina etnica, con un proprio ristorante e molto nota nell'ambiente gastronomico di NY. Lascia Zarela, tre sorelle, due fratelli e un figlio. Il suo rapporto con Zarela era del tutto normale e non influenzato dalla sua attività di porn star e regista, anche se da almeno dieci anni non faceva più parte attiva dell'industria.
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Non ci crederete, ma tra i suoi molti amici, tra i più stretti annoverava James Watson e sua moglie, proprio quello che ha scoperto il DNA, nonché Oliver Sacks, famoso neurobiologo.  Area(18+) jamie-gillis-and-constance-money  Continua a leggere

Jamie Gillis, the seventies porn legend who died last month at the age of 66, liked to tell a story about the time Scorsese’s people came calling. They were filming Raging Bull, and they wanted him for a small — well, actually rather substantial — part: a body double for De Niro’s privates. Disappointed — he always wanted to be an actor — Gillis asked how much they’d pay. $500 was the answer. “Well, for that,” he said, “you’ll have to take all of me."

Actually, Gillis was much more than a porn star, as could be seen at a memorial held at Zarela’s, owned by his longtime partner Zarela Martinez, on Sunday afternoon. Among the 70 or so people in the upstairs room were New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin; Barney Rosset, the former owner of Grove Press who won legal battles to publish the uncensored version of Lady Chatterly’s Lover and later brought to market, after a historic ruling from the Supreme Court, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer; and Veronica Vera, a former porn actress turned educator in the art of cross-dressing. Gillis counted among his friends James Watson, the discoverer of DNA (Watson's wife Liz was on hand), as well as the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks.
“Now it’s all about the big paycheck,” Vera told the crowd. “But in the early years many of us got into porn for fun; there was a lot of idealism involved. To many of us, Jamie really represented that idealism.” Gillis was a stage name. His real name was Jamey Gurman; he was a native New Yorker and “renaissance Jew” who graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University and, in the spirit of countercultural exploration and open-mindedness, ended up in porn. He loved the work, and was loved in return — “As you can see, we like to include all of the women Jamie loved,” Zarela said. (“Not all!” a voice from the exes table called out, to laughter and applause.)
Gillis met Zarela at a birthday party of his longtime paramour, the writer Gael Greene. “He went home with her and never left,” Greene said. Early on in their romance a friend had told her, "You can’t date him! He’s a user." To which Zarela replied, “Well, he can use me anytime.” Zarela, an Elaine Kaufman–esque saloniste with an eclectic taste in friends, broadened Gillis’s circle still further. He was a gifted dinner-table raconteur, recalled the comedian Gilbert Gottfried. “He told me girls in porn were mainly Catholic,” Gottfried recalled. “And that there was a higher content of Jews on the male side. He had a whole theory!” Others had different memories. “He was kind of like Beckett in a way,” the publisher Barney Rosset told me. “We’d gone over the same material so many times, there wasn’t a need to say a lot.”
Gurman finished his memoirs shortly before he died, and wrote his own tribute to the character he created. “Jamie Gillis will always be the bad boy of porn, the lover of life — eager to taste everything, in a way, even immortally so,” he wrote. “I salute him because I honestly feel he represents something wonderfully outrageous and exuberant. Hats off to you, sir.”
By: Spencer Morgan

If ever there was a need for a trained actor, or to fill the bill for a really unusual role in 1970s porn, they’d usually call Jamie Gillis. You might say he was the Harvey Keitel of porno. Gillis died on Friday. From the obituary:
Adult film industry legend Jamie Gillis succumbed to a battle with cancer and died in New York City on February 19, 2010. He was 66.
“Jamie was a magnificent spirit,” said author Larry “Ratso” Sloman, a close friend. “He was a kind, gentle, compassionate soul with an insatiable thirst for experience – equally at home at the opera, the OTB parlor, an elegant restaurant, a hockey game or Plato’s Retreat. He was a Renaissance Jew.”
His live-in partner of seven years, the Manhattan restaurateur Zarela Martinez, was quickly able to separate the man from the myth, the person from the persona. “After my initial reservations about being involved with a notorious porn star, I got to know a cultured man of great depth and warmth.”
Another friend, Ashley Spicer, who was working with Jamie and others on a documentary about the birth of the New York adult film industry, noted, “While he became known for the darker roles he sometimes played, off-screen Jamie was a sensitive and loyal friend. He was a unique, irreplaceable person.”

Born Jamey Ira Gurman on April 20, 1943 in New York, Jamie Gillis was one of the adult film’s first genuine stars and one of the genre’s most recognizable, charismatic, and influential figures.
After graduating with honors from Columbia University in 1970, he became an aspiring theater actor and mime artist supporting himself by working part time as a taxi driver. In 1971, he answered an advertisement in the Village Voice for a nude model; this lead to work performing in short films known as loops and subsequently in the first wave of explicit adult feature films.
He quickly established himself as the leading male performer and best actor in East Coast adult films during porn’s golden age, which lasted from 1972 to 1983. During this era, porn was shot on film, had reasonable production values, genuine story lines and aspirations to mainstream acceptance. Gillis starred in all the major productions at this time, including “The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann” (1974), “The Story of Joanna” (1975), “The Opening of Misty Beethoven” (1976), “Through the Looking Glass” (1976), “The Ecstasy Girls” (1979), “Amanda By Night” (1981), “Roommates” (1981), and many others. He was also an occasional performer in live sex shows in Times Square, where he recited Shakespeare soliloquies on stage ostensibly to give the shows a “socially redeeming purpose” and thus avoid obscenity charges.
In the 1980s when porn production moved to California where it was predominantly shot on video, Gillis relocated to the West Coast where his prolific acting career continued. He also appeared in a number of roles in mainstream films, including “Nighthawks” (1982) which starred Sylvester Stallone. In 1989, he turned director / performer, creating the series “On the Prowl” which initiated the “gonzo” style of porn videos – a genre which returned to the raw aesthetic of the loops he had made at the beginning of his career.
He continued to work in the adult film business until the early 2000s, increasingly appearing in non-sexual roles before announcing his retirement at the end of 2007 as a Christmas present for his partner Zarela. It is estimated that he appeared in over 500 feature films and loops over the course of his four-decade career.
A ubiquitous participant in New York’s sexual subculture of the 1970s, he appeared more recently in documentaries paying tribute to Plato’s Retreat (“American Swing”) and fellow adult performer Jack Wrangler (“Wrangler, Anatomy of an Idol”).
He is survived by his partner Zarela Martinez, three sisters (Phyllis Conley, Diane Lane, and Judy Caiati), two brothers (Wayne and Allan Gurman), and a daughter, Debbie Gurman. Gillis will be cremated at a private ceremony. He requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the NYC Police Athletic League, an organization that assisted him as a boy and continues to aid New York City children. Donations can be made here.

Via Michael Simmons