Bob Vosse: John Holmes was to the adult film industry what Elvis Presley was to rock and roll. He simply was the king.
Bill Amerson: The closest John ever got to UCLA was stealing something out of a car in the parking lot. John didn't go to UCLA, he quit school in the 9th grade.
Sharon Holmes: John asked me to come with him and start a new life and I told him, "You can't change"... It was the first time in my life that I used the word "fuck", and I told him to "Get the fuck out of my life"... And that was the last time we ever spoke.
[stock footage of a John Holmes interview]
Interviewer: [voice] Do you take drugs?
John Holmes: No.
Interviewer: Are you sure? Never?
John Holmes: No, I don't take drugs. Drugs take me.
Mike Sager: [commenting of John Holmes being a police informant] It's ironic that here he is credited with single handedly bringing porn to people's attention, yet at the same time he was simultaneously having all these other stars busted. It's almost as if he was creating ground for himself to be the only living star.
Sharon Mitchell: I know where he is, I can always push play.
Candida Royale: John had a real Jeckyl/Hyde personality. One minute, he could be sweet, charming, and pleasant to talk to. The next, if you say the wrong thing to him, or provoke him in the slightest, he could become this angry, ranting and raving guy you want to avoid at all costs. Now, I never was victim of any of his moodiness other than, he knew he could throw his weight around on the set. So if there was something he didn't want to do, if he wanted to stop, that shoot was shut down.
Bill Amerson: I first met John Holmes in 1969 while casting for some still work magazine at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard. We had an open casting call. It was towards the end of the day, and in walked this tall, skinny, very skinny, kid with somewhat of an afro haircut. He didn't look like the type of male model we could use for our nude photo shoots. My business partner said anyway to take him in the back room, have him take off his clothes to take some polaroid snap shots of him, say "thank you very much", send him on his way, and that was that. We went into the back room, he undressed, I set up the camera when he turned around, I took one look down at the size and lenght of his apendage, before I even took the first photo I said to him, "you're going to be a star." And that's how I met John Holmes.
Bob Chinn: I first met John Holmes in 1971 when this tall, skinny, scruffy, very scruffy looking, guy with a big blond afro hairdue, walked into my office and asking for a job as a film crew person. He said he was a gaffer. I said to him, "well we allready have a gaffer. Then he said that he was also a grip. So I said, "well, we have a grip too. I'm sorry, we don't need any crew people. But then he told me that he was an actor. So I said, "well okay. What have you done? Show me your credentials." And so, he pulled down his pants... and showed me his credentials.
[on the Wonderland murders]
Det. Tom Blake: John then told me, "hey, if I testify against these people who did the murders, or if I say anything to you about anything, Sharon's gonna be dead. Dawn's gonna be dead. The rest of my family and friends are gonna be dead. They won't kill me, they'll kill my whole family. What do I accomplish?" So then, John said, "look, you can put me in jail, charge me with those murders, I don't care. I'm gonna take my chances. I can't testify or tell you what happened. I'm going to take my chances." He finally said, "and Tom, I'll deny ever having this conversation with you. If you tell anyone what I said, I will deny ever talking to you about this."
Bill Amerson: John and I started HIV testing for all the adult film performers starting in 1985. We were the very first to insist that all porn actors and actress take an AIDS test. So... to show the industry that we weren't afraid of the test, both John and I went to a clinic and took the AIDS test together. We both came back negative. So, about four or five months later, we went back to take another test because we were going to do it every six months to show the industry that we weren't afraid of the test and that we were okay. On the second test, my test came back negative... John's came back positive. I was with John in the doctor's office when the doctor informed him that he was HIV positive. He explained to John about many things and what conversion was, and he told John that he could live a healthy life for another 15, maybe 20 years if John changed his lifestyle right away. The doctor told John that he should stop smoking cigarettes, quick drinking, quick doing drugs, start taking lots of vitamins and start watching his diet. John... didn't hear what the doctor said. He sat there, and he just didn't hear what the doctor said. And... that's a sore spot with me that lingers to this day. John could have lived a good number of more years had he not been that immature and reactive to the news. John, being immature and reactive as always, immediately doubled what he drank, doubled his drug usage, tripled his smoking habit. John just went from smoking a pack, to up to five packs of cigarettes a day. Drank a quart of scotch a day, and just didn't give a shit about anything. He knew he was going to die. John just didn't give a shit.
Sharon Holmes: By early 1980, John couldn't find work, or couldn't get enough money from work to support his escalating drug habit, is when he began robberies. Breaking into peoples houses and cars to steal anything of value. Soon, he began pilfering stuff out of our own house. Out went the jewelry. Out went the china. Out went all my antic furniture. In one month's time, John emptied out both our joint checking and savings accounts, and took both our credit cards and charged over $48,000. He bought jewelry, furniture, home appliances, etc. What he would do is buy these items from local retail stores, and then sell them at pawn shops to get cash to pay for all the cocaine, pot, crack that he was smoking and snorting on a daily basis. Honestly, it really didn't bother me at this point in time because John was completely out of control. He was often out of the house on robbery or drug runs and the less I saw him, the happier I was.
Bob Chinn: By 1979, it was difficult for John to maintain an erection when he done so much cocaine. To require him to get erect would take a lot of time and a lot of patience. But I didn't have the time, the patience, or the budget to deal with that. One day during the filming of Prisoner in Paradise, I caught John snorting cocaine on the set after I told him again and again: "do not bring drugs onto the set". I took the stash away from him and flushed it down a toilet. John exclaimed at why I just did that for that for he just bought that stash and he paid $1,500 for it. For the first time ever, I yelled at him saying: "John, you can't keep doing this!" Immediately, John became very petulant. He wouldn't work, costing me a lot of time and money. When I persuaded him to return to work, John's ego took over and he began copping an attitude to me saying things like: "you don't tell me that to do! I'm the star! You need me! You can't make this movie without me!" A little later when John calmed down a bit, he asked me if he could borrow some money, saying he was broke and that he'll pay me back as soon as he could. In my opinion, it was to buy more drugs for himself. Incredulous, I yelled, "John I haven't even paid you yet! Why don't you just finish the movie, get your money, and do whatever you want!" My outburst seemed to work as John managed to return to filming... he finished the movie, got his paycheck and left. But after that, I just couldn't work with John anymore. It got too difficult.
Larry Flynt: John Holmes' name is sinuous in the adult entertainment industry. I think his participation is legendary and always will be for many decades to come.
Ron Jeremy: What was so fascinating about John Holmes was the fact that he had this gigantic penis. He was just this tall, skinny guy with this huge sholong. And when it comes down to porn, no matter how you slice it... that's is what people seem get a kick out of. I mean in porn movies today, you can have all the good-looking guys with the muscular, body-builder physiques. But guys in the audience just want to see this long, gigantic penis on some skinny guy going into the vagina of some cute little blond or brunette.
John Leslie: John Holmes was the first, and you can't replace the first even if some guy can come long and be even better than Holmes. But once you lay the first foundation, you're the guy that's built on. John was that guy, I mean he had the package. That's why he will never be topped in that sense.
Bob Vosse: Almost no one in the business knew John Holmes or anything about his personal life about where he was born, lived, his family, his wife, or anything. John had almost no social life and very few friends. He didn't want you to be his friend. I tried to be John's friend, but I can't say that I was ever his friend. He didn't want friends. I shot much more than half of the films John made in his life. John never trusted me, but he never trusted anyone. Believe it or not, I never had John's home phone number. In all those years, in the nearly 20 years that I knew him, I never had a phone number to reach him at, and he never told me or anyone his phone number or his home address. If I wanted to contact John, I would have to phone this answering service in Santa Monica, leave a message, and wait for him to call me back. And this was true with everybody. Even at the height of his career, directing the Swedish Erotica films, I never had his address or phone number. Despite working with him all those years, and all the money we paid him, we never had a phone number for him.
Al Goldstein: [Talking of Holmes] To think he walked amog us with that massive tool. Like a dinosaur with that thump thump thump! But it was not his feet hitting the floor. It was his dick hitting the floor. It was his BALLS hitting the floor!
William Margold: [regarding Holmes] He was just a little boy with a big dick who found a pot of gold at the end of his zipper.
Mike Sager: He...
Mike Sager: was the ultimate cocksman with the ultimate weapon. But he was not so threatening that all men couldn't love him.
Sharon Holmes: John never considered anyone in the porn business his friend. He used people, just like he felt that he had been used all his life. I never met any of the people that John worked with. To John, everyone in the business he worked with he referred to them as "dirt," "scum", "slime", or "bastard." And I'm not talking about "bastard" in a kind way.
Bill Amerson: John had so many stories about who he was, where he was from, where he'd been, what he'd done, all of which was to cover up his pain. John had a very painful childhood with an abusive and alcoholic father and stepfather, so John needed to be someone else. He needed to adopt another persona for a certain time. That's why John was able to lie all the time, to dance. Because that's how he got out of the pain, to forget about his painful childhood memories.
[when asked if John belived his own lies]
Bill Amerson: Oh yes, John did believe a lot of his own lies. John often got so carried away with lying about stuff that he frequently began to believe his own lies himself. One of the stories that John told to the public was of my doing. During the early years of his career, John and I came up with a story about John being a gigolo. Once a year during the late 1960s and early 1970s, John would fly to England to stay for a week with a wealthy, middle aged widow named Lady Agatha to be her companion and escort. She would pay him $10,000, as well as pay for his round-trip plane ticket and give him a one diamond a year so he could put onto a ring that he wore on his right forefinger. Now for the record, none of that was true. But the public loved hearing it and the press ate it up. Many years later during the summer of 1984, John and I rented a fishing boat and we went fishing of Catalina Island. John then started talking about the old days, and how he loved traveling on location to Mexico, Hawaii, etc, to film some of his films. During that time he said, "remember when I used to go to England once a year to meet with Lady Agatha?" Incredulous, I looked at him and patiently said, "John, you never went to England in your life." John said, "what do you mean?" I said, "we made that up. Don't you remember? That was a story you and I made up together for the press." After a pause, John said, "oh, that's right." So, bottom line, he did believe a lot of his own bullshit.
Bob Chinn: John had this compulsive, tendency to lie all the time. He loved lying. Tall tales, white lies, you name it. He would go on lying about stuff even after you knew he was lying, and he would still go on lying after he knew that you knew he was lying.
William Margold: [referring to Holmes' manhood] We're talking about a dick from my elbow down.
Ron Jeremy: By the mid 1980s, John really couldn't get a job in America after doing a gay film. He supposedly got the AIDS virus while he was in jail in 1982 for the Wonderland thing. One of his gay lovers, Joey Yale, whom he worked with in 1983, supposedly contracted and died from it in 1986. So, during that very summer, John went to Italy... knowing he had the virus, to work with Ciccolina and others on porn films in Italy. He worked with such stars as Tracy Adams... he definately fucked Ciccolina because she told me all about it when I was in Italy years later. I was suprised that John Holmes was HIV-positive, but the actresses that he worked with, including Ciccolina, have tested negative since having sex with him. When I returned to the USA, I looked up and contanted John's former manager, Bill Amerson, where I asked him, "did you know that John was HIV-positive when he went to Italy during 1986 to film porn over there?" Bill replied that he knew. Incredilous, I asked Bill why didn't he stop John from going to Italy. Bill told me that they tried, but John wanted to do the movies anyway because he needed the money. I then told Bill, "if you couldn't stop John from leaving the country, did it ever occur to you to pick up the phone and call Italy to warn them about what's comming across the Atantic? Couldn't you've just picked up the phone and say: Hello? AIDS comming across the Atlantic!"