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Porn Star John Leslie Dies: Reached Height of Fame During 'Boogie Nights' Era

John Leslie Porn StarJohn Leslie.

John Leslie dead at 65: Adult film star prior to video invasion

John Leslie, one of the best-known adult film performers of the 1970s and 1980s, died of an apparent heart attack on Dec. 5, '10, at his home in Mill Valley, California. Leslie was 65.

The Pittsburgh-born actor (as John Leslie Nuzzo on Jan. 25, 1945) appeared in about 300 pornographic productions, most of them during what's known as the (American) Golden Age of Porn. Additionally, he directed and/or produced nearly 150 sexually explicit movies/videos.

Porn auteurs

In the '70s and early '80s, after U.S. obscenity laws were changed and before the video invasion, the mostly Los Angeles-based American sex film industry gave rise to various “porn auteurs,” e.g., Gerardo Damiano (Deep Throat, Devil in Miss Jones), William Higgins (Sailor in the Wild, Leo & Lance).

None of John Leslie's films achieved the renown (or notoriety) of Damiano's box office hits, but he was featured in several relatively well-known titles from that era, among them:

  • Gail Palmer's Candy Goes to Hollywood (1979), with Carol Connors (mother of American Beauty actress Thora Birch) as Candy.
  • Anthony Spinelli's Talk Dirty to Me (1980), with Jesie St. James and Richard Pacheco.
  • Anthony Spinelli's High School Memories (1980), with Annette Haven.

John Leslie was last seen in front of the camera in Bryce Wagoner's 2012 documentary After Porn Ends, about the post-porn life of several adult film performers, among them Asia Carrera, Nina Hartley, Randy West, Richard Pacheco, and Amber Lynn.

'Boogie Nights'

The milieu in which John Leslie dwelt was superficially covered in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997), starring Mark Wahlberg as the John Holmes-like porn star Dirk Diggler, Burt Reynolds as dedicated porn auteur Jack Horner, and Julianne Moore as drug-addicted actress Amber Waves.

Both Reynolds and Moore were shortlisted for Academy Awards in the supporting categories, while Anderson received a nod for Best Original Screenplay even though Boogie Nights was based on Anderson's own 1988 mockumentary short The Dirk Diggler Story.

 

John Leslie movies' info via the IMDb.

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