John Holmes

John Curtis Holmes ( Estes; August 8, 1944 – March 13, 1988), higher often known as John C. Holmes or Johnny Wadd (after the lead character he portrayed in a sequence of associated movies), was an American pornographic movie actor. He ranks among the many most prolific grownup movie performers, with documented credit for not less than 573 movies.[2]

Holmes was finest recognized for his exceptionally massive penis, which was closely promoted for its dimension, rigidity, and purported endurance. Nonetheless, no documented measurement of Holmes’ precise penis size, girth, tumescence, sexual stamina, or ejaculate quantity has ever been confirmed.[3]

Close to the top of his life, Holmes attained notoriety for his reputed involvement within the Wonderland murders of July 1981 and ultimately for his loss of life from issues brought on by AIDS in March 1988. He was the topic of a number of books, a prolonged essay in Rolling Stone and two feature-length documentaries, and was the inspiration for 2 Hollywood films (Boogie Nights and Wonderland).


John Holmes was born John Curtis Estes on August 8, 1944, within the small rural city of Ashville, Ohio, about 11 miles (18 km) south of Columbus. He was the youngest of 4 youngsters born to 26-year-old Mary June (née Barton) Holmes, however the identify of his father, railroad employee Carl Estes, was left clean on his delivery certificates. Mary had married Edgar Harvey Holmes, who was the daddy of her three older youngsters – Dale, Edward and Anne. She and Edgar had been married and divorced 3 times, as is documented by marriage ceremony certificates dated April 13, 1936, August 13, 1945, and September 12, 1947.[4] On the time of their first marriage in 1936, Edgar was 35 years outdated and divorced, whereas Mary was 17.[5] After divorcing for the third and last time, Edgar and Mary every married yet another time.[6]

Mary modified John’s surname from Estes to Holmes when he was a toddler. In 1986, when Holmes utilized for a passport for the primary time previous to a visit to Italy, his mom reportedly offered him with the handwritten copy of his authentic delivery certificates, which led Holmes to study that his organic father was Carl Estes.

Holmes’ mom was stated to be a religious Southern Baptist and together with her youngsters recurrently attended church in Millport, Ohio. In distinction, his stepfather Edgar was an alcoholic who would come house inebriated, stumble about the home and even vomit on the kids. As a toddler, Holmes loved a reprieve from his turbulent house life when he visited his maternal grandparents, John W. and Bessie (née Gillenwater) Barton.[5] Mary divorced Edgar when Holmes was a toddler and moved together with her youngsters to Columbus, the place they lived in a low-income house mission with a pal of Mary’s and her personal two youngsters. The 2 girls labored as clerks and waitresses in an effort to assist their youngsters.

When Holmes was aged 7, his mom married Harold Bowman on December 31, 1951. Shortly afterward, Holmes and his household moved from Columbus and settled within the small city of Pataskala, about seventeen miles east. Holmes recalled that Bowman was a great father till his youthful half-brother David was born, at which level Bowman reportedly misplaced curiosity in his stepchildren and commenced neglecting them.[7][3]

Holmes left house at age 15 and enlisted in the US Military, along with his mom’s written permission. He spent a lot of the three years of his navy service in West Germany within the Sign Corps.[3] Upon his honorable discharge in 1963, Holmes moved to Los Angeles, California, the place he labored in quite a lot of jobs, together with promoting items door-to-door and tending the vats at a Espresso Nips manufacturing facility. Throughout his stint as an ambulance driver, Holmes met a nurse named Sharon Gebenini in December 1964. They married on August 21, 1965, in Fort Ord, California,[8] after Holmes turned 21.[9]

In April 1965, Holmes discovered work as a forklift driver at a meatpacking warehouse in close by Cudahy. Nonetheless, repeated publicity to the freezing air within the massive walk-in freezer after being outdoors inhaling the desert-hot air triggered him extreme well being issues, resulting in a pneumothorax of his proper lung on three events through the two years he labored there.[9] Sharon additionally had well being issues, as through the first seventeen months of her marriage to Holmes, she miscarried three separate instances.[10]


Movie profession

John Holmes was to the grownup movie trade what Elvis Presley was to rock ‘n’ roll. He merely was The King.

— Cinematographer Bob Vosse within the documentary Wadd: The Life & Occasions of John C. Holmes.

In 1971, Holmes’ profession started to take off with an grownup movie sequence constructed round a personal investigator named Johnny Wadd, written and directed by Bob Chinn. The success of the movie Johnny Wadd created a direct demand for follow-ups, so Chinn adopted up the identical yr with Flesh of the Lotus. Many of the subsequent Johnny Wadd movies had been written and directed by Chinn and produced by the Los Angeles-based firm Freeway Movies.

With the success of Deep Throat (1972), Behind the Inexperienced Door (1972) and The Satan in Miss Jones (1973), porn turned stylish though its legality was nonetheless hotly contested. Holmes was arrested throughout this time for pimping and pandering, however he averted jail time by seemingly turning into an informant for the Los Angeles Police Division (LAPD).[11] Holmes’ “handler” throughout his time as an informant was LAPD vice detective Thomas Blake. Of his involvement with Holmes, Blake stated, “It was a pleasure working for him.”[12]

By the late Nineteen Seventies, Holmes was reputed to be incomes as a lot as $3,000 per day as a porn performer.[7][11] Round this time, his consumption of cocaine and freebasing had been turning into an more and more significant issue. Professionally, it affected his capability to keep up an erection, as is clear from his flaccid efficiency in Insatiable (1980). To assist himself and his drug behavior, Holmes ventured into crime, promoting medication for gangs, prostituting himself to each women and men, in addition to committing bank card fraud and varied acts of petty theft. In 1976, Holmes met 15-year-old Daybreak Schiller, whom he groomed and abused. After he turned determined for cash, Holmes compelled Schiller into prostitution and sometimes beat her, which he did not less than as soon as in public.[13][14][15]

Quantity and gender of companions

Within the 1981 biographical function documentary Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Actual Story, from director and Holmes confidante Julia St. Vincent, Holmes claimed throughout an interview section that he had had intercourse with 14,000 girls.[11] The quantity had actually been invented by Holmes to assist salvage his waning picture.[7] The true variety of girls (and males) with whom Holmes had intercourse throughout his profession would by no means be recognized. After his loss of life, his ex-wife Sharon claimed to have come throughout a footlocker, plated in 24k gold leaf, which contained photographic references to Holmes’ “non-public work” and which she burned.[16] Holmes’ performances included not less than one gay function movie, The Non-public Pleasures of John C. Holmes,[17] and a handful of loops which contained anal intercourse with males.

Medication and the Wonderland murders

In late 1980, a mutual pal launched Holmes to Chris Coxx, who owned the Odyssey nightclub. In flip, Coxx launched Holmes to Eddie Nash, a drug supplier who owned a number of nightclubs, together with the Starwood in West Hollywood.[18] On the similar time, Holmes was intently related to the Wonderland Gang, a gaggle of heroin-addicted cocaine sellers, so known as for the rowhouse situated on Wonderland Avenue within the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, out of which they operated. Holmes often offered medication for the gang. Gang members included Ronnie Lee Launius, David Clay Lind, Pleasure Gold Miller, Billy DeVerell, and their wheel-man, Tracy McCourt.

After utilizing greater than his share of the Wonderland Gang’s medication,[19] Holmes discovered himself falling out of their favor. In June 1981, Holmes advised Launius and Lind about a big stash of medication, cash and jewellery Nash had in his home. Holmes helped to arrange a house invasion and armed theft dedicated on the morning of June 29, 1981. Though Holmes was not current through the theft, Nash apparently suspected he had an element in it. After forcing Holmes to admit to his participation and threatening his life and people of his household, Nash dispatched enforcers, accompanied by Holmes, to precise revenge in opposition to the Wonderland Gang.

Within the early hours of July 1, 1981, 4 of the gang’s members had been discovered murdered and a fifth severely crushed of their rowhouse. Holmes was allegedly current through the murders and left a left palm print (not “bloody” as Los Angeles media retailers overlaying the story erroneously reported) over one sufferer’s headboard, however it’s unclear whether or not he participated within the killings. Holmes was questioned however was launched because of lack of proof; he refused to cooperate with the investigation. After spending almost 5 months on the run with Schiller, Holmes was arrested in Florida on December 4, 1981, by former LAPD murder detectives Frank Tomlinson and Tom Lange (who later gained fame for his involvement within the O. J. Simpson homicide case). Holmes was extradited to Los Angeles, and in March 1982 was charged with personally committing all 4 murders. After a three-week trial, Holmes was acquitted of all prices besides committing contempt of courtroom on June 26, 1982.[20] The homicide trial was a landmark within the historical past of American trial process, because it was the primary by which videotape was launched as proof.[21]

Later life and loss of life

After his launch from Los Angeles County Jail for contempt of courtroom in November 1982, Holmes shortly resumed his movie profession with a brand new era of porn stars. His drug habit continued off-and-on, and though work was nonetheless plentiful, it was not as profitable because it had been with the appearance of cheaply made videotapes that saturated the porn market. Many of the grownup movies and movies he made through the Eighties had been little greater than cameo appearances.

In February 1986, 5 or 6 months after testing unfavourable, Holmes was recognized as HIV-positive. In accordance with his second spouse Laurie Holmes, he claimed that he by no means used hypodermic needles and that he was deathly afraid of them. Gebenini and pal/former colleague Invoice Amerson individually confirmed later that Holmes couldn’t have contracted HIV from intravenous drug use as a result of he by no means used needles.[7]

Throughout the summer season of 1986, Holmes was provided a profitable deal from Paradise Visuals, which was unaware he was HIV-positive, to journey to Italy to movie what had been to be his final two pornographic movies. Holmes’ penultimate movie was The Rise of the Roman Empress (initially launched in Italy as Carne bollente) for director Riccardo Schicchi. The movie starred Holmes, the later Italian Parliament member Ilona “Cicciolina” Staller, Tracey Adams, Christoph Clark, and Amber Lynn.[22] His last movie was The Satan In Mr. Holmes, starring Adams, Lynn, Karin Schubert, and Marina Hedman.[23] These final movies created a furor when it was revealed later that Holmes had consciously chosen to not reveal his HIV standing to his co-stars earlier than partaking in unprotected intercourse for the manufacturing.[22][24][25][26] Not desirous to reveal the true nature of his failing well being, Holmes claimed to the press that he was affected by colon most cancers.[19]

Holmes married Laurie Rose on January 23, 1987, in Las Vegas, Nevada, after confiding to her that he had AIDS.[27] Over the last 5 months of his life, he remained within the VA hospital on Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles. On March 13, 1988, at age 43, Holmes died from AIDS-related issues, which per his loss of life certificates, had been described as cardiorespiratory arrest and encephalitis because of AIDS, related to lymphadenopathy and esophageal candidiasis.[17] His physique was cremated, and his widow Laurie and mom Mary scattered his ashes at sea off the coast of Oxnard, California.[28]

Private life

Vital others

  • On August 22, 1965, Holmes married a younger nurse named Sharon Ann Gebenini at Fort Ord, California.[9] Their divorce was finalized on October 19, 1984.[29] She died on October 28, 2012.[30]
  • In 1975, Holmes met Julia St. Vincent on the set of his movie, Liquid Lips, which was being produced by her uncle Armand Atamian. Holmes and St. Vincent remained shut till the Wonderland murders in 1981. St. Vincent produced the ersatz biographical movie of Holmes’ life, Exhausted (1981).[31]
  • In 1976, Holmes met and groomed 15-year-old Daybreak Schiller.[32] After descending into extreme drug abuse, he beat and prostituted Schiller, who, whereas they had been in Florida fleeing legislation enforcement following the Wonderland murders, broke free and was persuaded by her brother Wayne to show Holmes in to the authorities. In her memoir, The Highway By way of Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes (2009), Schiller additionally described her and her sister Terry’s observations that Holmes was a voyeur who seemed by their bungalow home windows in Glendale, California, in addition to strangers’ lodge home windows on the Biltmore in Palm Springs.[33]
  • In 1982, Holmes met his second spouse Laurie Rose; they married in January 1987,[34] which made Holmes stepfather to Rose’s younger son.[35]

Charitable work

Regardless of Holmes’ notoriety and infamy, he devoted vital time to charities involving the surroundings. He was concerned with Greenpeace[36] and was recognized to marketing campaign and gather door-to-door for charities resembling Save the Whales[34] and Save the Seals.[37]


Holmes loved clay sculpting, woodworking, and outside actions resembling visiting seashores, tenting, fishing, and mountain climbing.[10][37][38]

Penis dimension

Holmes’ signature asset within the grownup movie enterprise was his exceptionally massive penis. No definitive measurement or documentation verifying his penis’ size or girth exists, leaving its precise dimension unknown. Holmes was uncircumcised.

“When an actress did her first scene with John Holmes, this was the second the place she realized if larger was higher or not. There was no different check.”

— Actor/raconteur Richard Pacheco within the documentary Wadd: The Life & Occasions of John C. Holmes.

Veteran porn actress Dorothiea “Seka” Patton has stated that Holmes’ penis was the largest within the trade.[39] Within the documentary movie Exhausted, she described oral intercourse with Holmes as much like fellating a phone pole.[40] Holmes’ first spouse recalled his claiming to be 10 inches (25.4 cm) when he first measured himself.[41] On one other event, Holmes claimed his penis was 16 inches (40.6 cm) lengthy and 13 inches (33.0 cm) in circumference.[41] Holmes’ long-time pal and trade affiliate, Invoice Amerson, stated, “I noticed John measure himself a number of instances; it was thirteen-and-a-half inches [34.3 cm].”[7] In distinction, medical research of human penis dimension have constantly discovered erections common between about 5 and 6 inches,[42][43][44] with fewer than 0.2{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} of penises 9.5 inches (24 cm) or extra.[45]

“We’re speaking a few dick from my elbow down” (gesturing to his outstretched arm)

— Grownup trade historian Invoice Margold within the documentary Wadd: The Life & Occasions of John C. Holmes.

So celebrated was the dimensions of Holmes’ penis that it was used as a promotional device for movies by which he didn’t even seem. The movie Anybody However My Husband ran a promotional tag line of, “Tony ‘The Hook’ Perez has a dick so huge he offers John Holmes a run for his cash.”[46] On the top of his profession, Holmes claimed to have had his penis insured by Lloyd’s of London for US$14 million. Holmes reveled in claiming he was insured “for $1 million an inch”.[47]

“To assume that he walked amongst us with that huge device, like a dinosaur with that thump, thump, thump! But it surely wasn’t his ft hitting the ground. It was his balls hitting the ground, it was his DICK hitting the ground!”

— Grownup trade writer and commentator Al Goldstein within the documentary Wadd: The Life & Occasions of John C. Holmes.

One other controversy was concerning whether or not Holmes ever achieved a full erection, though a lot of his early work clearly revealed he was in a position to obtain a considerable erection. A well-liked joke within the Nineteen Seventies porn trade held that Holmes was incapable of reaching a full erection as a result of the blood movement from his head into his penis would trigger him to go out.[48] Fellow movie actress Annette Haven acknowledged that his penis was by no means significantly laborious throughout intercourse, likening it to “doing it with a giant, mushy kind-of loofah”.[48]

‘How huge is it?’ My followers would scream. ‘Larger than a payphone, smaller than a Cadillac’ was my reply.”

— Actor John C. Holmes in his posthumously-released autobiography, Porn King.

After Holmes’ loss of life, the size of his penis continued for use to market Holmes-related materials. For instance, on the premiere of the movie Wonderland (2003), patrons got 13

12-inch rulers as gag presents.[49] When Los Angeles-based S&M Bikes debuted its first extra-long bicycle body for BMX racing in 1989, the brand new mannequin was dubbed the “Holmes” as a tribute to the actor.[50]

Enterprise actions and endeavors

In 1979, alongside along with his youthful half-brother David Bowman, Holmes opened a Los Angeles locksmith store managed by Bowman and an hooked up used items retailer known as The Simply Trying Emporium, named by Gebinini and managed by Schiller. Nonetheless, due to Holmes’ escalating drug habit, which distracted him from shopping for stock for the Emporium and siphoned its working capital, the Emporium “shut[d] its doorways ceaselessly by the top of September 1980”.[34][51] In accordance with Schiller, “David [kept] his a part of the enterprise open whereas John take away[d] our stock and [sold] all of it for coke.”[52]

Later, after Holmes’ acquittal, he and Amerson based and operated Penguin Productions, the place Holmes could possibly be a triple-threat: writing, directing and performing.[34] Holmes appeared in seven of Penguin’s twenty productions between 1985 and 1988. After requesting permission to make use of the identify “Johnny Wadd” from his outdated director and pal Bob Chinn, Holmes reprised the function for Penguin’s The Return of Johnny Wadd (1986) – certainly one of his final movies.

Holmes mythology

Holmes’ profession was promoted with a sequence of outrageous claims that he made over time (many made up on the spur of the second by Holmes himself). Probably the most doubtful ones embody:

  • Holmes’ penis was so huge that he needed to cease sporting underwear as a result of: “I used to be getting erections and snapping the elastic waist band 4 or 5 instances a month”.[53]
  • Holmes had levels in bodily remedy, medication, and political science from UCLA.[54] Holmes was actually a highschool dropout who by no means returned to high school and, in response to Invoice Amerson, “the closest John ever received to UCLA was breaking into vehicles within the faculty’s parking zone”.[7]
  • Holmes and Ken Osmond, who performed Eddie Haskell within the TV sequence Go away It to Beaver, had been the identical individual. In actuality, the 2 males merely shared a passing resemblance.[55]
  • Throughout the filming of a homosexual function movie, Holmes inadvertently killed two male performers and was tried for manslaughter. The decide within the case sentenced Holmes to abstain from performing anal intercourse in any future movies. Nonetheless, that is an city fable.[56]


Productions within the Johnny Wadd sequence:

  • Johnny Wadd (1971)
  • Flesh of the Lotus (1971, credited as John Duval)
  • The Blonde in Black Lace (1972, credited as John Duval)
  • Tropic of Ardour (1973)
  • The Danish Connection (1974)
  • Across the World with Johnny Wadd (1975)
  • Right here Comes Johnny Wadd (1975)
  • Liquid Lips (1976)
  • Inform Them Johnny Wadd is Right here (1976)
  • Tapestry of Ardour (1976)
  • The Jade Pussycat (1977)
  • The China Cat (1978)
  • Blonde Hearth (1978)
  • The Return of Johnny Wadd (1986)

Different vital performances:

  • Zodiac Rapist (1971)
  • Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak (1975)
  • Cream Rinse (1976)
  • Dracula Sucks (1978)
  • California Gigolo (1979)
  • Insatiable (1980)
  • Prisoner of Paradise (1980)
  • Up n Coming (1983)
  • The Non-public Pleasures of John C. Holmes (1983)
  • Younger & Hung (1985)
  • The Good, the Dangerous, and the Attractive (1985)
  • Searching for Mr. Goodsex (1985)
  • Puss O Rama (1986)
  • Saturday Evening Beaver (1986)


  • February 14, 1985 – First inductee into the X-Rated Critic’s Group (XRCO) Corridor of Fame
  • 2008 XBIZ Award – Lifetime Achievement – Male Performer[57]



  • Holmes, John C. (1998). Porn King: Autobiography of John C. Holmes. (out of print)

    • Holmes, John C.; Holmes, Laurie (2012). Porn King: Autobiography of John C. Holmes (Revised with added materials and photographs ed.). Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-685-3.
  • Sager, Mike (June 15, 1989). “The Satan and John Holmes”. Rolling Stone. Archived from the unique on September 17, 2015.; reprinted in Scary Monsters and Tremendous Freaks (2004).[58]
  • Sugar, Jennifer; Nelson, Jill C. (2008). John Holmes, A Life Measured in Inches. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-302-9.; up to date 2nd version (2011; ISBN 978-1-59393-674-7)


  • Exhausted: John C. Holmes, the Actual Story (1981)[59]
  • Wadd: The Life and Occasions of John C. Holmes (1999)[60][61]
  • XXXL: The John Holmes Story (2000; often known as The Actual Dirk Diggler: The John Holmes Story)[62]
  • John Holmes: The Man, the Fantasy, the Legend (2004)[63]

See additionally

  • Golden Age of Porn

Additional studying

  • Braunstein, Peter (October 20, 1999). “Inside John Holmes: Filmmaker probes the notorious porn star”. Dust. Archived from the unique on December 30, 2002.

  • John C. Holmes on the Grownup Movie Database
  • John Holmes at Discover a Grave
  • John C. Holmes on the Web Grownup Movie Database
  • John C. Holmes at IMDb
  • Transcript of 2004 documentary “The Actual Dirk Diggler”

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