John Holmes Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (28)  | Personal Quotes (7)  | Salary (5)

Overview (5)

Born in Ashville, Ohio, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (AIDS-related illness)
Birth NameJohn Curtis Estes
Nicknames The King of Porn
The Sultan of Smut
Johnny Wadd
Long John Silver
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born John Curtis Estes on August 8, 1944, in rural Pickaway County, Ohio, the youngest of four children, porn legend John Holmes was raised by a religious fanatic mother named Mary and an abusive alcoholic stepfather named Harold Bowman. He was a bible student, but at the age of 16 dropped out of school, left home and enlisted for a hitch US Army, where he was stationed in West Germany for three years. After his discharge he moved to Los Angeles in 1964 where he married a young nurse, and worked odd jobs such as taxi driver, door-to-door salesman, postal clerk, temp worker, coffee vat attendant, ambulance driver and forklift driver.

In the late 1960s he gravitated to the underground porno industry. One story was that a female neighbor was making porno loops and advised Holmes he could make good money. Unfortunately, his first check bounced and, after that, he always insisted on payment in cash. Another story is that in 1967 Holmes was frequenting a mens card playing club in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena when a photographer for an underground magazine noticed his large "member" while standing next to him at a restroom urinal and gave Holmes his business card, telling him he could get plenty of work in still photo magazines. By 1969, with the advent of X-rated porn films, Holmes moved into the movie business. His tall, slim build, curly light brown hair, a light mustache and bright blue eyes made him an instantly recognizable star. John was not lacking for work, bringing not only a professional attitude but also his legendary endowment (12-5/8" long, according to a Screw Magazine interview, while other stories put it at 13-1/2" long). His enormously long penis got him starring roles in over 2,000 loops, stag films and adult features in a career that spanned nearly 20 years (with a peak of a $3,000-a-day salary). His lucrative off-screen penis-for-hire business took him around the world.

His most famous character is probably Johnny Wadd, a lusty, always-on-the-make private detective he played in several crude porno films like Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here (1976), The Jade Pussycat (1977), China Cat (1978), Liquid Lips (1976) and Blonde Fire (1978), the last of which is considered the best of the so-called "Wadd films". Better still were the big-budgeted pictures that co-starred some of the adult film industry's top leading ladies, including Marilyn Chambers, Seka, Annette Haven and even a young--and underage--Traci Lords.

In the late 1970s Holmes developed a serious drug habit, which prevented him from performing in the on-screen sex he was famous for, resulting in his dropping out of the adult-film business. By late 1980 he was broke, most of the huge amounts of money he made having gone to feed his drug addiction. He was reduced to making money by robbing people's houses and stealing cars, as well as delivering drugs for the local gangsters. The lowest point in his life was when he was implicated in four grisly, drug-related murders on July 1, 1981. He was allegedly present at the drug-related torture and murders at a house in the hills above Hollywood of William Deverell, Ronald Launius, Joy Miller and Barbara Richardson--a group suspected by many in the drug underworld of specializing in ripping off drug dealers--by a gang of killers sent by a powerful local gangster named Eddie Nash. A fifth victim, (Susan Launius, Ronald Launius' estranged wife), barely survived the attack and had no memory of the event. The bloody crime made lurid headlines throughout Southern California and became known as The Wonderland Murders, after the street in the wooded Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles where the killings took place. Holmes was implicated in the crime but refused to tell police what he knew and went on the run for nearly six months with his teenage mistress, Dawn Schiller, before he was arrested while hiding out in Florida and returned to Los Angeles. The L.A. authorities, angered by Holmes' refusal to cooperate with the investigation, charged him with committing all four murders. After a three-week, public trial, Holmes was acquitted on June 26, 1982. Although found not guilty of the murders, he remained in jail on previous burglary and contempt-of-court charges until his release in November 1982. The true nature and details of the Laurel Canyon murders remains unsolved to this day.

After his release from prison, Holms tried to clean up his act and continue his porno career with a new generation of porno stars. His drug addiction continued off-and-on, and although work in the porno business was still plentiful, it was no longer as lucrative as it had been, given the explosion in the use of cheaply made videotapes that saturated the market. In addition, Holmes was no longer the powerhouse star that he had once bean. He was diagnosed with AIDS late in 1985 but continued working--without telling producers or his co-stars--until 1986, when his increasingly gaunt and frail physical appearance sent up "red flags" in the industry and he could no longer find work.

John Holmes died at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Sepulveda, California, on March 13, 1988, of AIDS-related complications at age 43, with his second wife at his side, former porn star Misty Dawn. Holmes once estimated he'd had sex with over 14,000 women (on and off screen), and was truly a porn legend. His life was the basis for the film Boogie Nights (1997), and he was portrayed by Val Kilmer in Wonderland (2003), about the infamous murders, but the conflicting truths about his life, as always, was stranger than fiction.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Shreck & matt-282

Spouse (2)

Misty Dawn (24 January 1987 - 13 March 1988) ( his death)
Sharon Holmes (April 1965 - 1983) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

Gold ring with diamonds in the shape of a dragon fly, which he designed
Always carried a briefcase which contained a fifth of J&B Scotch
Aside from the Brobdingnagian size of his endowment, Holmes was unique in American porn as he was uncircumcized
His role as Private Detective Johnny Wadd
Long hair and thick Beard

Trivia (28)

Boogie Nights (1997) is based on his life.
On June 26, 1982, he was found not guilty of the infamous Wonderland gang ("Four on the Floor") murders.
Diagnosed with AIDS in February 1986.
Holmes made about 2,000 full-length hardcore films and videos, including a 3-D thriller and a film about his life story - Exhausted: John C. Holmes, the Real Story (1981).
Appeared in 2,274 pornographic films, more than anyone else.
Since having lost his virginity at age 12 to a 36-year-old friend of his mothers he is said to have copulated with more that 14,000 women in his life, both on- and off-screen.
His mother's maiden name was Barton.
Nicknamed himself Johnny "Cash" Holmes during the early years of his porn career because he would only take his payments in cash since he was supposedly swindled out of $100 by a bad check for his very first porn loop.
Did not tell the porn industry that he was HIV positive and continued to star in films. Even went so far as to go to Europe to make porno movies because they didn't know he was HIV positive.
His Los Angeles quadruple-murder trial in 1982, in which he was acquitted, was the first trial in American Jurisprudence where videotape was introduced as evidence.
Is portrayed by Val Kilmer in Wonderland (2003).
In the early '80s, he was a frequent visitor to the Hollywood Hills.
He would always sing Gordon Lightfoot's song "If You Could Read My Mind" to his girlfriend Dawn Schiller. The song is played in the movie Wonderland (2003) at the end of the film.
He often claimed to be a college graduate with majors ranging from physical therapy to political science. The truth was that he never graduated from high school, having dropped out of public school in the ninth grade.
He was so successful as a performer in the adult film industry, and was in such high demand, that if it wasn't for his voracious cocaine habit he would have been a millionaire while still in his 30s.
Youngest of four children.
Served three years in the U.S. Army (1960-1963) where he was stationed with the Signal Corps in West Germany from ages 16-19, and was honorably discharged.
Before his career in porn, he worked as a forklift operator in a meat-packing warehouse in Cudahy, California from August 1965 to June 1967 in which he had to quit his job as the contrast between hot and cold temperatures of driving a forklift vehicle in and out of a large walk-in freezer led to severe health problems, including three incidents of lung collapse between seven to nine months during the two years that he worked there.
His first stepfather Edward Holmes was an alcoholic who often came home drunk and would vomit on the children. The second, Harold Bowman, was bipolar--what used to be called "manic depressive"--and prone to violent rages that he would take out on John.
He devoted much time to environmental causes and often went door to door collecting for the "Save The Whales" Foundation.
He ran away from home and joined the Army, after an incident where he pushed his violent abusive stepfather down a flight of stairs.
He did not learn the name of his biological father until 1986.
He continued performing in adult films after his trial and did much work as a producer and director.
The exact size of his member has never been confirmed, with reports varying from ten inches to 14 inches.
At the height of his career he had his penis insured by Lloyds of London for $14 million. He reveled in claiming that he was insured "for $1 million an inch".
Was stepfather to his second wife Misty Dawn's son.
Was godfather to Bill Amerson's children.
In 1979, Holmes with his younger half-brother, David Bowman, opened up a locksmith and used furniture store called The Just Looking Emporium in Los Angeles which both managed. But because of Holmes' escalating drug addiction and of the lack of money to operate the store since Holmes was squandering all of his and other people's money to buy cocaine for himself, the business failed by the end of that year.

Personal Quotes (7)

Friends will get you killed.
[Asked why he stays in the bathroom so long on sets] I don't always hide in the bathroom, sometimes I hide other places. It's just that the bathroom is usually the only room with a lock on the door.
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. I'm very lusty.
I don't take drugs. Drugs take me.
I've never found a girl who could not take it. It's really in the way you do it, though. I've had some women say they've had guys half my size who couldn't get it in. The problem is that most guys don't know how to read a lady and what she really wants. With some, you have to be gentle and romantic and with others you just have to get down and dirty. The secret is you have to get in touch with what they want.
Personally, I think it's all great fun. It's something everybody does and the more you practice the better you get at it. I can see a girl in a restaurant now and tell you how to approach her.
Sometimes you get a girl to work with who is gorgeous and with a fantastic body. That makes it all much easier. But I can concentrate on just one aspect of a girl if she doesn't sexually appeal to me. I can concentrate on the color of her nipple or something like that and it gives me the necessary mental focus.

Salary (5)

Johnny Wadd (1971) $75
Flesh of the Lotus (1971) $150
Eruption (1977) $2,000
Erotic Adventures of Candy (1978) $1,500
The Private Pleasures of John C. Holmes (1983) $5,000

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed