Eric Edwards: Twilight of a Shy Porn Star
Podcast 22

Eric Edwards: Twilight of a Shy Porn Star <br>Podcast 22
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On this episode of The Rialto Report, we speak to Eric Edwards – adult film actor and director from the 1970s through to the 1990s.

Tales of lives lived and loves lost.. 8mm loops, one-day wonders, feature films and video, Linda Lovelace, summer stock theater, John and Bo Derek, Waterpower, Arcadia Lake, Gerard Damiano, Renee Summers, Firestorm, Cecil Howard, Long Jean Silver, Chris Jordan, and much more – all on this episode of The Rialto Report.

This episode running time is 92 minutes.
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Eric Edwards is a shy man. And he’s deeply romantic too.

Eric EdwardsSo how did he have such a successful career in the adult film industry, outlasting everyone else from the early days?

Eric was there at the beginning appearing with Linda Lovelace and others in silent black and white loops that look prehistoric today.

For the first fifteen years, he acted in the full range of adult features, from ambitious productions by Radley Metzger, Gerry Damiano and Cecil Howard, through to cheap one day wonders whose titles he never knew.

Then in the mid 1980s, he moved behind the camera and shot a series of sensitive and artistic features for the couples market.

Throughout this time, he had significant relationships with several notable women from the industry. Firstly he married Chris Jordan, who featured in a number of soft core films in the early 1970s.

Eric EdwardsThen he lived with Arcadia Lake – star of films like Debbie Does Dallas and Neon Nights.

Finally he married the actress Renee Summers in the 1980s. All had their moments but failed to give Eric the long-lasting romantic dream he craved.

Recent years have been tough for Eric, with a series of personal tragedies and health issues that finally forced him into retirement, but his experience in the industry over three decades is second to none.

I’m very happy to be joined today by my co-presenter, Laura Helen Marks, our resident Doctor of golden age adult film.

This is the story of Eric Edwards. An unlikely porn star.

 

Eric Edwards photographs:

Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards

62 Comments

  1. Hank Rose · October 7, 2013 Reply

    The gentleman’s porn star. A real people class act. Of
    all of us, this is the guy who could have made it big in
    the mainstream. But that doesn’t lessen his X legend.

  2. Shagg Muttley · October 7, 2013 Reply

    Best. Interview. Ever.
    No other interview with Eric will come close to this one. Thanks for setting the gold standard.

    Shaggs

  3. NYCrex · October 7, 2013 Reply

    Great Interview. Thanks Ashley & Laura. I loved the story about “Love You” and John Derek. If you ever get to interview Annette Have or Leslie Bovee please corroborate it.

  4. Bob Devlin · October 7, 2013 Reply

    Just finished listening, and so wanted to send you a big thanks from Tokyo.

    This show just keeps on getting better! You guys should be on national radio.

  5. Frank F · October 9, 2013 Reply

    During the 70s, and into the 80s, the number of actors/actresses working in adult films were relatively small. Kelly Nichols once put the number at 35 at one point. It was virtually a small repetory company, with the same performers showing up again and again. Because of this, the performances and personalities of the Golden Age adult films stars stay with to this day. Eric Edwards is one of those performers, and I thank you for another excellent podcast, great work by you and your co-presenter, Laura Helen Marks. Your interviews give an extra dimension to Mr. Edwards, much appreciated. Rene Summers was another favorite of mine, very sorry to hear about the choices She made in her life.

    As with your Long Jean Silver podcast, great choice of music to open the podcast. Your musical choices always bring back memories, and match up with the topic of the podcast.

    Note: Regarding why Arcadia Lake chose her porn name; according to Wikipedia, “She took the name Arcadia Lake from a resort of the same name.”

    Keep up the great work.

  6. Tailagent · October 9, 2013 Reply

    Another fantastic show.
    Loved his memories about Chris Jordan.
    All the best.

  7. Christopher Todd · October 10, 2013 Reply

    An informative and moving interview. Kudos to The Rialto Report for a job well done. Special thank you to Eric Edwards for sharing the ups and downs of his life in such a thoughtful and open fashion.

  8. Richard Pacheco (Howie Gordon) · October 11, 2013 Reply

    If I were to ever to actually grow up, I’d love to be Eric Edwards!

    xo,

    Howie

  9. Richard Pacheco (Howie Gordon) · October 11, 2013 Reply

    If I were to ever to actually grow up, I’d love to be Eric Edwards!

    xo,

    Howie

    (If I’ve already said that, I must’ve really meant it.)

    • Rudy · October 12, 2013 Reply

      You did amazing scenes with the Faye Dunaway of porn Jesie St. James. I still remember the Diamond Collection loop where Jesie takes on King Paul’s huge black python. Back in those days interracial was not done as much as it is today. Jesie and King Paul were part of that San Francisco porn scene, I wonder if they are still alive? Great memories

    • Eric Edwards · October 15, 2013 Reply

      Howie,
      Thanks for the compliment, but enjoy your youth (Peter Pan) and best of luck on your new book, Hindsight. To all the others who have given their comments on this podcast… Thank You! It’s nice to know that you cared.
      -Eric Edwards

      • Kevin · January 15, 2016 Reply

        Eric,

        Almost hate to ask, but did you enjoy working with Brooke West? You have any idea whatever happened to her?

  10. Rudy · October 12, 2013 Reply

    Eric got to do a scene with the most under rated porn star of the 1980’s, the sultry Gina Valentino. Gina had a brief stint in 1984 but if she stayed around she would have been a huge star. For some reason Gina and Tamara Longley were second tier to the blondes of that era.

  11. Rudy · October 12, 2013 Reply

    I would love to see you guys do Where Are They Now updates on the Video stars of the 80’s. A lot of these woman would be in their early 50’s now but they will always be in their early 20’s on our VHS tapes. Where are Tamara Longley, Crystal Breeze. Susan Heart, Gina Valentino, Nikki Randall, Kimberly Carson and Melissa Melendez?

    • Frank F · October 16, 2013 Reply

      Rudy, there used to be an excellent blog titled “Porn Stars, Where Are They Now?” that gave excellent updates on porn stars of the golden age, and more recent starts. One of the last blog posts was on the passing of Jamie Gillis. There was another, lengthy interview with Michelle Maren, who had a rather scathing observation of her time in adult films (Public Affaires, FlashPants, Piggy’s). As with the Rialto Report, adult film stars (Annette Heinz) would somtimes leave comments for a particular post. Great blog, just faded away after 2010, and disappeared.

      The Rialto Report has done a magnificent job of finding “lost” porn stars, and telling their stories. Update posts on 80’s stars such as Kelly Nichols and Melissa Melendez would be welcomed! I’d also like to know the backstory of the trangendered star of the classic 1985 movie “Passage Thru Pamela”.

      • Guest · October 17, 2013 Reply

        Melissa Himes, as she is known now is still in Cali. It was odd that the Melendez sisters actually used their real names when they did porn

        • Frank F · October 19, 2013 Reply

          I hope Melissa is doing well! She was underrated (and underused) during her time in adult films. She was memorable in Pretty Peaches 2 (as an Asian!) and as Barbara the Lobster women in “Dr. Penetration. She even sang “Gloomy Sunday” in one of her videos (not bad).

  12. William Margold · October 12, 2013 Reply

    A lovely hour with a lovely man presented by two lovely people.
    If this sterling serving of THE RIALTO REPORT doesn’t make you cry…then you’ve got no soul.

  13. Afan · October 13, 2013 Reply

    It’s disheartening to hear how these people who have brought so much pleasure to others for decades are living on Social Security while the companies made millions. Eric, Gloria Leonard and Jennifer Welles should be doing the autograph circuit. Marilyn Chambers did it, Seka is doing the CHILLER show in New Jersey in a few weeks. Traci Lords will be there too. You get to meet fans and make money too. They are all over the country. I’m sure there are booking agents that would love to get them into the shows.

    http://www.chillertheatre.com/gt/gtc4.htm

  14. C. Elam · October 19, 2013 Reply

    Eric Edwards was literally the first face I saw in the first adult movie I ever saw – Robert McCallum’s SEX PLAY. I’ve always admired his screen presence, and now I can say I admire him as a person as well. My heart breaks to hear some of those stories, but I commend him for his strength and courage. Can’t help but wonder how differently things might have gone had Arcadia Lake been able to conquer her demons – his love for her is still apparent to this day.

    There are indeed people who care, Eric/Rob. All the best to you.

    Fantastic interview all around.

    • Eric Edwards · October 29, 2013 Reply

      It’s really nice to know that people have appreciated my decades of work in the adult film industry. Yeah, it’s extremely sad about Arcadia Lake, but she once told me, “Once an addict, always an addict.” I didn’t want to believe it and tried my best. At least I enjoyed a few years of her being “clean.” Those were the best years of my life.
      –Eric Edwards

  15. Norman · October 26, 2013 Reply

    I met Eric via Shaun Costello and the Kariofilis brothers. He was working with Andrea True at the time. Eric was different even then like his peers a real actor, but most of the small “repertory troupe” then centered in NYC were. Joey Nascivera was a barker at The Show World…I met John Leslie on the street. It was a very, very different time. So different that we all thought (ha ha….) that adult films would pretty soon transition over into a parallel circuit just like “art” films and foreign films, if not more. Seems really naïve now, but we thought all the nudity in Hollywood films would meet the real sex at an artistic intersection and that would be that. Never happened. I wonder if the heavier mob influences in adult directed that – along with the Great Move to California, which changed everything. Eric was a nice guy, a gentleman. Easy sense of humor that remember him using with Sonny Landham. I am really, really happy you were able to “preserve” this interview for posterity. More interesting for future generations will be Eric going to Baylor, Jamie Gills graduating from Columbia University et al. Not the gutter our present culture would like you to believe these men emerged from…but following another poster here, please seek out King Paul…..and Annette Haven….and Jesse St. James….and Lilli Marlene. Please.

  16. Ann Chere · October 28, 2013 Reply

    Eric Edwards (Rob Everett) provided the best interview I have heard in a long time. Thank you Ashley West and co-presenter, Laura Helen Marks for your graciousness in handling all the twists and turns of his story with dignity. Eric you were so respectful and tasteful as you shared even the most painful moments. You remained so positive throughout the discussion and never lowered yourself to finger pointing even during the most difficult subjects. I was deeply touched by your story; I laughed, I was surprised, I blushed (a little), I found much to admire about your work and ethics and I cried at times due to a heartfelt sadness and other times from the joy of your victories. I have a tremendous amount of admiration for you, Eric, and I am sending positive healing energy to you and your family. Godspeed and peace. Hugs! Ann Chere

    • Eric Edwards · October 29, 2013 Reply

      Wow! Such a compliment coming from an apparently caring and sensitive woman. Doing this interview was a real catharsis for me. Ashley and Laura dug deep into my heart and brought out things that I haven’t thought about in decades. You seem to be a sensitive person and I would love to communicate with you if you wish. As you know, I love to hear about a woman’s point of view of the films that I’ve made. You can contact me at: robeverett@sbcglobal.net.
      –Eric Edwards

  17. Big Star John · October 29, 2013 Reply

    Eric – so many people are talking about this interview; it seems that your humility and sensitivity has knocked people out. The interview was tremendously moving.

    Thanks for this career-defining, definitive, unparalleled interview.

    And thanks to the Rialto – for this incredible series of interviews. They should be in the Library of Congress!

  18. Todd · October 30, 2013 Reply

    Eric had sex with my 3 favorite porn actresses, Jesie St James, Kimberly Carson and Gina Valentino. I have no idea what ever happened to Kimberly Carson but it was reported that Susie Kretlow (Jesie) was still looking great and living in Cali and that Rosalind Lowe (Gina) was living in Colorado with her family

    I wonder if King Paul is still alive? He was a hard working stud for Diamond Collection and never really received the praise that the other black star from the 1970’s Johnny Keys got

    • Eric Edwards · November 3, 2013 Reply

      From what I have heard, Kimberly Carson (not her real name) became a Veterinarian somewhere. I wish her the best. It was always a joy to work with her.

      • Matt · November 8, 2013 Reply

        Thanks for the Kimberly update Eric! What was it like performing with Gina Valentino? I remember you did a scene on a pool table with her. I always thought Gina would have been a huge star if she didn’t quit the biz so fast. I remember reading in 1986 Gina shot her boyfriend?

  19. George · November 3, 2013 Reply

    As someone mentioned earlier, this IS indeed a gold standard interview. I’ve never been disappointed with ANY Rialto Report podcast, but you’ve truly outdone yourselves here. Thanks for all that you do, and thanks also to Mr. Edwards for your work and for being so open and honest in this amazing interview. I know I’m not the only fan who was touched by your words here.

    All the best to everyone involved at The Rialto Report
    G

  20. Heather Drain · November 3, 2013 Reply

    One of my favorite shows ever interviewing one of my favorite actors ever. A dream combination. Eric Edwards is one of the most underrated actors and it’s nice to see that his talent is matched by his personality and heart. It makes me so happy to see an artist like Edwards get such a respectful and well researched interview. Primo work from both Ashley and Laura. Thank you both and thank you, Eric, for doing this interview and for being such a stellar and solid artist.

    Heather

  21. Mick Dennis · November 4, 2013 Reply

    I’ve listened to this interview 3 times now – and it gets me every time. Very emotional.

    Have you seen this review of the show? It nails why you guys are so successful:
    http://davesstrangeworld.com/2013/11/02/the-rialto-report-podcast/

  22. Matt · November 8, 2013 Reply

    Eric also did a scene with one of the unsung stars of the 80’s Victoria Knoll. Victoria only appeared in a few films but was in the classic film Bad Girls. She appeared in just about every mens mag there was in 1981-82. I can’t remember what the title was but Arcadia Lake, Jesie St James and R Bolla were in it. Victoria was dressed as a ballerina and Eric and R Bolla have all 4 girls at once that were in the ballet class

    • Eric Edwards · November 14, 2013 Reply

      I believe you were talking about the film, Indecent Exposure, but I may be wrong. I had a lot of fun making that one! I think that was when I first fell in love with Arcadia (and her grapes!)

      • Matt · November 14, 2013 Reply

        Wow! great memory Eric! yes, I remember that title now. I just remember that it had three of the best looking women in porn at that time Arcadia Lake, Jessie St James and Victoria Knoll. Now I can go out and find the DVD, thanks!

  23. Andrew Lapointe · November 12, 2013 Reply

    Wow. What an interview. These survivors of the early era of porn have some fascinating stories to tell. Eric’s tale is quite sad and compelling. I’m glad he’s overcome all the tragedies that he’s experienced; he seems like a very nice man.

    Keep up the great work on this podcast!

  24. VAN W. · December 26, 2013 Reply

    I’M A 70’S MAN,AND I REMEMBER THIS MAN WELL! GREAT INTERVIEW ON MR. ERIC EDWARDS,THE LAST 10 MINUTES I GOT A LITTLE TEARY EYED!!!

  25. Scott · January 6, 2014 Reply

    Such a moving interview. Mr. Edwards, you have my respect and my wishes for a thousand tomorrows.

  26. Eric Edwards · February 19, 2014 Reply

    To everyone who has given me such great compliments, thank you. I have totally enjoyed my career in the industry, from those early days aka “the golden years.” I totally appreciate those who have appreciated my efforts. So much so, that I have been enticed to write a book about my years in this business by a beautiful writer, Heather Drain, whom you will notice has commented slightly above these comments. Together, we have begun collaborating on a highly unusual book that I hope you shall enjoy. Look for it early next year. We are still working on a title, but you will all know soon enough.

    Love to all–the women and the men in the world who have enjoyed my contributions to the adult film industry.

    Take care,

    Eric Edwards

    • Ashley West · March 1, 2014 Reply

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for stopping by – especially with this excellent news.
      With Heather as your co-pilot, this will be a book that we at the Rialto Report will be eagerly anticipating!

      Happy that the Rialto Report could be a small part of the first step in this great journey.

      We wish you every success!

  27. Sonny McHale · March 1, 2014 Reply

    Rob – this is fabulous news. My congratulations to you as you are an American original and you truly deserve to have your story told in the form of a book. I loved this episode and have listened to it countless times, and it never fails to move me.

    Roll on the book tour!

  28. Japanese Boy · March 1, 2014 Reply

    So happy to hear this! You have lived and worked longer than any body else in the industry: your moment has arrived – and the bio story shall be told. Cool.

  29. K Graves · March 1, 2014 Reply

    The Rialto strikes again! Did the inspiration for the autobiography come from this show? I’m not surprised – it is awesome.

    Hope you cover the films you directed – criminally underrated IMHO!

  30. Joomla Jaz · March 1, 2014 Reply

    Writing a book is a long journey – I know, I’ve tried a few times. But don’t be deterred by the hard work – this story will live on as a result.

    • Eric Edwards · April 4, 2014 Reply

      Thank you all for your support. Yes, I have launched myself into writing a book about my life, with the help of my partner, Heather Drain. It shall be a totally unique and unusual format coming from two different points of view, but it will include all of my memories of those early days, and also including some of my personal photos and memorabilia, never before published. Hey, at least it gives me something to do in my retirement!!! I will let everyone know when it’s available. Thanks to all of you for being such loyal fans………… E.E.

  31. Choo- Jung · April 26, 2014 Reply

    Eric Edwards was the Warren Beatty of porn. I think my favorite scene was Eric with the sexy and beautiful Tamara Longley on a lounge chair by a pool. Though Tamara was thin she had an amazing pair of legs with very big calves. Her and Eric looked great together. Did Eric ever do a scene with Crystal Breeze? anyone?

  32. Annette Heinz · June 25, 2014 Reply

    Hello Eric! Much love, longevity, and success to you. Always a gent…a handsome gent 😉

  33. Dianse · August 14, 2014 Reply

    Eric – I loved your scene in SUMMER CAMP GIRLS. Beautiful and hot!!!

  34. Peter · August 20, 2014 Reply

    Just finished listening – another EPIC interview! You can hear the expertise, research, preparation and love that went into this. Big thanks to Eric as well for being so open and willing to share the good an less good parts of his astounding life and career. He sounds like a real gentleman and I wish him all the best.

    Although I realize the eighties weren’t part of the Golden Age, when touched upon the ‘video years’ there is very seldom any mention of Traci Lords – I would love to hear an inside view on what was the biggest story & star of that time (pre & post scandal) and I know Eric made a lot of movies with her.
    Maybe the subject matter is still somewhat taboo (although bestiality is discussed as well) so I’m left wondering about Eric’s recollections regarding Traci.

    Yet overall these Rialto interviews far exceed my expectations and I’m eagerly looking forward to much more.

  35. Anonymous Coward · October 2, 2014 Reply

    Just had another look at “Blue Summer”, a silly Chuck Vincent romp from 1973..

    Am I right that Kathi Fitch aka Chris Jordan was Kathi2 from the interview? From the interview it was not clear that EE ever married Kathi2.

    Now I’m really confused. IMDB says she was born in Wilton, CT which strongly suggests she’s Kathi1 but the interview says she wasn’t all that into sex but she did swing and perhaps acted in soft core and even a few hardcore features..

    These Kathis are too mixed up.

    Kind of sad that apparently she passed away from cancer in 1990. Such is life.

    • Eric Edwards · October 19, 2014 Reply

      I know that some of the loves in my life have been confusing, but let me set the record straight on this one… Kathie #1 (later to become Chris Jordan) and I were married for 10 years, before she succumbed to breast cancer. During that period, at a summer stock theater, I was doing a show without her and met another Kathy (#2– notice the different spelling). Even though Kathie and I were swingers, I accidentally fell in love with Kathy #2 during a three-month run of shows.

      Since I was in love with both of them, my wife (Kathie), suggested that Kathy #2 move in with us, and we had a rather unusual three-way marriage for about a year or so. I hope that clears up your confusion.

      –Eric

      • Anonymous Coward · November 7, 2014 Reply

        Indeed it does. Thanks so much Eric for your reply. I hope you’re doing well and I look forward to reading your book.

  36. Lauren · October 8, 2014 Reply

    I have loved all of the interviews and content so far but this one, with Eric Edwards, has stayed with me. It is moving and emotional and fun and interesting all at once. Kudos to everyone involved. This website and podcast is where I send people who want to know why I’m so fascinated by a time and an industry that they only see as seedy. The Rialto Report is the best place to change their minds.

    I’m also really looking forward to Eric’s book.

  37. Natasha Stevens · January 29, 2015 Reply

    Wow, absolutely amazing.He really seems like a gentleman and a scholar. Back when porn actors were actually actors, and not just prostitutes-on-film.

  38. Wes · January 30, 2015 Reply

    Any chance the Clise-Up toothpaste commercial link could be posted?

    • Eric Edwards · August 28, 2015 Reply

      Wes,

      Here’s a link to my toothpaste commercial shot in the early 70’s… https://vimeo.com/134237279

      Enjoy,
      Eric

      • Corey · December 6, 2015 Reply

        Thanks for posting! I have just recently discovered the Rialto Report and have been listening to as many podcasts as I can. Eric, you have always been one of my favorite actors and I have enjoyed listening to your interviews and commentaries on classic DVDs (the one with Veronica Hart on Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann remains a favorite). So many of my favorites from yesteryear (John Leslie, Jamie Gillis, Harry Reems) are no longer with us and I’m so thankful that you are still here to give us your insights and allow us fans to interact with you. Thank you Rialto Report for another great interview and thank you Eric Edwards for doing what you do!

  39. Chris · February 13, 2015 Reply

    Eric, i don’t know when this podcast was released or if you still go through these comments. Your story has given me inspiration and enlightenment. Im 16, going through many struggles, seeking lifes meanings for myself since i have a warped perspective on life. I will remember you and your story, EE, for your 90 minutes of insight makes me feel as if I lived your amazing life. I’d love to know when you finish that book. And It’s a damn shame what happenned to Michelle, she was beautiful… became my favorite favorite pornstar in just the three videos I saw her in before she lead me to this… I wish you luck

  40. Colleen Brennan · April 30, 2015 Reply

    Eric,
    When people have asked about memorable shoots I have told of being trapped for days on a houseboat in the Sacramento Delta with the cast and crew of a light-weight fake-incest movie I came to think of as “Helter Delta”. You and I claimed bunk beds and shared a bit of weed and vodka in our little island of peace amid the chaos. I think you might have already met Cheree at that point. I know you were together when I left the business around ’86 . She was such a cute little bubble and your face lit up around her; I had hoped to hear you two were still happy together. Yeah well, I’m wrong a lot. But I think my impression of you as one of the sanest among us and a genuinely good guy was spot on. (And fun to “work with” sure, but all the girls knew that!)
    All the best,
    Colleen

  41. Eric Edwards · July 17, 2015 Reply

    Coleen,
    I remember very well being trapped in the Sacramento Delta with you during one of those shoots where you say, “Where the Hell am I.” At least we grabbed the bunk beds before anyone else did! I totally enjoyed working with you, getting to be friends with you, and being the adventurer that I am, I actually enjoyed the shoot, even though I wondered if we’d ever be rescued–Shades of Gilligan’s Island!

    Love,
    Eric

  42. Barney Walker · October 15, 2016 Reply

    Bob,
    Here’s a blast from the past. This is Barney Walker, your college roommate at Baylor. I saw a picture on a website that could be no one but you. Saw the name change and tracked you down to this podcast. When I heard your voice I knew it could be no one else. I recall the great times at Penland Hall and working the shows at the theater with you, the Cooks, Talley and Hannah. I also remember you visiting one night when you were home from NY and performing Hamlet’s soliloquy in my front yard. Good to hear that you have weathered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Stay well, my old friend.

    Barn

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