Jeff Stryker: Porn’s Enigmatic Star
Podcast 26

Jeff Stryker: Porn’s Enigmatic Star <br>Podcast 26
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On this episode of The Rialto Report, April Hall and Laura Helen Marks go in search of the reclusive and elusive 1980s porn star Jeff Stryker.

With tales of Jeff’s upbringing, his start as a male stripper, delivering balloon-o-grams, meeting John Travis, Matt Sterling and Chuck Holmes and entering the adult film business, the success of films like Powertool and Jamie Loves Jeff, his notorious shower scene in Stryker Force and his escape from the public eye.

April and Laura are also joined by Jeffrey Escoffier, author of Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore.

This episode running time is 70 minutes.
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April Hall writes:

JeffStryker_PlayingCardsIt all started on my 18th birthday. As a gag, some girlfriends bought me a deck of playing cards. Each of the cards featured the same clean cut yet mysterious looking dark-haired young man in a different pose. Oh and he was naked. And incredibly well endowed.

That day my fascination with Jeff Stryker began. And even though this was well before the invention of the internet, Jeff wasn’t hard to find. At least his likeness wasn’t. There was the Jeff Stryker Realistic Dildo, the best selling sex toy in the world. And the Jeff Stryker action figure which if you’re lucky you can still find on eBay. And the photo stills. And the magazine spreads. And the films.

Jeff StrykerBut who was the man behind the image? The star of both the incredibly popular gay film Powertool in 1986 and then just two years later one of the best selling straight films, Jamie Loves Jeff. The actor who became known for dominating his sexual partners with his physical prowess and dirty talk.  The business man with a merchandizing empire.

In recent years, the internet provided me with a few more bits of information, but they only added to the mystery. I found his pay-to-view website, but also a profile of his country music band Jeff Stryker and His Soggy-Bottomed Boyz. And a review of his theater pieces Jeff Stryker Does Hard Time and A Sophisticated Evening with Jeff Stryker. And an article about a feud with a folk-music club owner who Jeff sued, stating noise from the club prevented Jeff from finishing his autobiography. And an ad Jeff did for a bankruptcy attorney who also happened to be his then wife. And a fundraising campaign for a medical marijuana book Jeff wanted to write.

But there were few first person accounts of Jeff and no clear way to contact him. My mission to track down Jeff Stryker began…

 

Jeff Stryker photos:

Jeff Stryker

Jeff Stryker
Jeff Stryker

Jeff Stryker
All images courtesy of Jeff Stryker.

For more information please visit the following sites:

Jeff Stryker’s Official Website

Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore by Jeffrey Escoffier

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story

36 Comments

  1. S. · December 1, 2013 Reply

    I was checking the site so often the past 24hrs that I must have listened to this a few minutes after you guys uploaded it. Lol! Great work as per usual, but the podcast should become weekly, and put out some t-shirts or something so we can support the site.

  2. Redskin Kai · December 1, 2013 Reply

    Good interview! I thought I’d miss Ashley West on this episode, but April and Laura do a great job. I love this episode.

    It is great to actually hear from these legends own voices, instead of through the usual fanboy/film review sites. And boy, does Jeff have a great voice! And he’s still coy about his sexuality…

    More please!

  3. William Margold · December 1, 2013 Reply

    Tried real hard to like this guy…but felt like I was being manipulated throughout the entire show by a fellow who barely knows the difference his cock and his elbow. Also it’s the first time that I have ever heard the word “dudn’t”… which may well wind up becoming the guy’s epitaph. I’ve got to wonder how much those lovely ladies like him now.

  4. roy karch · December 1, 2013 Reply

    A very interesting look into the other side of the coin.
    Stryker, well spoken, seemingly even keeled, with a life separate for under the sheets, reveals the truth that has been a secret for years. Good work from the ladies of the Rialto Report.
    Roy.

  5. Jason Colby · December 1, 2013 Reply

    I’m addicted to this series of podcasts. Every one is a unique, different portrait of a pioneer from the golden age – just when I never expected to hear from them. Thanks for documenting this neglected part of film history. Now I have to wait for 2 weeks until the next one?!

  6. John S · December 2, 2013 Reply

    Manful attempt (or should i say ‘womanful’?) to get to the bottom of Jeff Stryker (pun not intended).

    And you’ve probably gone further than anyone else has done in probing him around his background, sexuality and personality.

    And yet… somehow he remains an enigma. Is there in fact anything more to him?

    • April Hall · December 3, 2013 Reply

      I agree he remains a mystery. And from a personal perspective a part of me was almost happy that he did. Something about “meeting your heros” I guess.

      Thanks for listening!

  7. S. · December 2, 2013 Reply

    His claim that Jamie loves Jeff is one of the all time best selling (what? video, films?) flicks is hardly something one finds evidence for on the web. Surely the classic film era porn in the 70s by far outsells this, right?

    I ‘ll echo that Jeff is something of an enigma still. I get it that he got great money from the get go to be in gay flicks, but that doesn’t really explain why he almost exclusively went into gay porn. There’s one thing making a living fucking girls on screen, and quite another making one fucking assholes when you are straight, or thereabouts, on or off screen.

    Great job ladies, loved your wit and the production of the show today.

    • April Hall · December 3, 2013 Reply

      Thanks S! As Jeff tells it, he went into the gay market because there was more money to be made there. And based on our research of straight male porn stars from the 70s that seems to be true. In the straight films, the women tended to be the focus and got paid more. In the gay films, it was all about the men!

      • S. · January 1, 2014 Reply

        Sure, it was a good business decision, since he could handle it. I understand he worked hard for a niche that others wouldn’t touch and I think the gay community should, in a way, be indebted to him as much as he is to them.

        Let me take the chance to wish you a happy new year April, and I hope there’s more to come.

        A very happy new year to Jeff too, and I hope he has his babies and that he’s happy and prosperous.

  8. Gayzer · December 3, 2013 Reply

    Seems to me that the one thing that got to most of the pornstars interviewed is an awful lot of nicotine. Stryker is interesting, but I was disappointed that the end of the interview didn’t get to his current financial state, and I was confused as to whether he or his ex-wife has custody of his children. I also wonder why the interviewers didn’t get a little more info about how his oldest son had managed to get into a “whole lotta trouble.” I have no idea if Stryker is now broke or if he still has a nice home or what. I would have been interested to know that- sort of the end of the porn career story there.

    • April Hall · December 3, 2013 Reply

      Hi Gayzer – thanks for listening.

      As for Jeff’s financial state, according to him he did quite well with both real estate and blue chip stocks. As you heard from the interview, he states his wife took control of his assets and limited his access to them and since they are currently in the process of divorcing I assume those assets are under review by the court. Same thing with his young children though I am not sure who has temporary custody (or if it is shared custody).

      We asked Jeff a couple of times about his older son but he did not want to go into detail and we chose to respect that.

      Hope that helps. And thank you again for taking the time to listen and comment!

      • Gayzer · December 7, 2013 Reply

        And thank YOU for replying!

        Frankly, I didn’t find Stryker to be an “enigma,” and I didn’t find him so mysterious. He’s just a typical pornstar- not well educated, smokes a lot of cigarettes to the point that his voice sounds like a number of other ex-pornstars interviewed by Rialto Report, and not eager to look back nor regret much of anything.

        It’s perhaps remarkable that a man who proclaims that he always had women clamoring for him apparently chose women as his life partners who were, perhaps, damaging and unstable. I did, however, find him to be willing to explain himself and his history quite thoroughly and to open up considerably about his faults. He sounds like a tough guy- rather rough, actually, and the only surprise for me is that he “wanted to have more babies.”

        I’m left wondering if he has enough money to take care of his kids fully and to meet all of his needs, and lastly what had happened to his oldest son during the fallout with him and since. But, oh well.

        What I have always, always said about Jeff Stryker is that while I can appreciate a very well endowed man, I do prefer to have a some contour on a cock. He has a slab of beef that gay men idolized, but I’ve had other preferences for sure.

        He appears to be part Indian and/or part Asian, he had a baby face with pouty lips, and he was never my type. He had a look, but he was not, in my humble opinion, a genuine hunk. He had an Elvis kind of face, a slab of a dick and otherwise seemed rather petite.

        No matter the stunt dick in at least his first man-on man video, he created a screen persona that exuded confidence, power and a degree of uniqueness. His first masturbatory experience on video at the beginning of his porn career was impressive, however. I remember that he very simply was just into it. He was a horny guy, and it showed. He did stand out.

        What Stryker accomplished was being marketed in a manner that was consistent and lasted. He navigated the personalities and instability of the gay porn business in L.A. He certainly survived.

        But, that said, like many others, he’s just kind of an American redneck from the midwest who had a big dick, thick hair, a boyishly manly face and bad teeth. He struck a nerve, capped his teeth, and he went with it.

        I sincerely hope that he succeeds as a father and reconciles with his oldest son as well as secures his financial future. I also hope that he’ll find a way in the future to reconcile who he really is with the personal that he believes that he has to keep trying to sell.

  9. Sandovictor Hugo · December 4, 2013 Reply

    Great interview! Great journalists! They simply turned the sexual icon into a sweet human being. Thanks!

  10. Frank F · December 4, 2013 Reply

    Thought I’d take a pass on this podcast, as I have little interest in gayporn. I’m glad I chose to listen, as Jeff Stryker proved to be as interesting a subject as Herschel Savage, Jamie Gillis, Long Jean Silver and Eric Edwards. The interview was nicely structured, taking Jeff from his childhood in Illinois to his porn careerr (gay and straight), and his successes in other fields of entertainment. I appreciate that you didn’t just mention items or products in the podcast, but included them in the blog post (that action figure!). Again, the music behind the podcast intro and closing was both appropriate to the subject, and took me back to the period when the subject was most prominent.
    That eighties music that started the podcast – did Jeff Stryker choose it, or did the Presenters? And what was the title of the song – I couldn’t place it, or find it through google searchs.

    Great Job, April, Laura, and the rest of the Rialto Report gang!

    • April Hall · December 5, 2013 Reply

      Thanks so much for listening Frank and for the kind words!

      We the presenters chose the opening and closing music, trying to pick songs that reflect both the subject and the era. The opening song is Romeo by Donna Summers. I’m not sure what album it’s from but it’s on the Flashdance soundtrack.

      Thanks again!

      • Frank F · December 9, 2013 Reply

        April, Tailagent

        Thanks to both of you for the info re the opening music on the podcast. I again complement the entire Rialto Report team (and many of the podcast subjects) for the musical choices. Not only does the music “set up” the podcast for me (time period, subject), but it locks in that particular song with the podcast – I hear it on the radio, at the mall, or on CD, I identify it with the Rialto Report.

    • Tailagent · December 8, 2013 Reply

      Frank,

      The title of the song that opened the podcast is “Romeo” , sung by the late, great Donna Summer from the now classic FLASHDANCE soundtrack. I know because that’s my favorite song on that album.
      A big thank you to The Rialto Report staff, you guys (and gals) are the greatest. Wish the podcast was weekly and that each episode lasted 2 hours or more. I’m hooked.
      The main thing I got from the Stryker episode was that I learned to accept his apparent veiled attitude about what his sexual identity really is. Just trying to pin somebody down to a single sexual identity is like asking if there’s life after death. I realize that Jeff is just protecting his brand & that’s the smart thing to do. I appreciate that, after all these years, he didn’t turn his back on gays or spoke ill of them in any way (remember what happened to the owner of Barilla Pasta the other day?). “Jeff Stryker” is a construct, a performance persona that represents a fantasy to whoever wants to watch/buy his films.
      Can’t wait to see who will be interviewed – found next!

  11. Buckaroo · December 4, 2013 Reply

    Wait – has no one commented on the INCREDIBLE picture at the top of this page!?

    This belongs in a museum!

    Thanks for the care and attention that go into these shows. Smart without falling into the boring-as-crap academic analysis. Who’s next?

  12. Eric · December 8, 2013 Reply

    Great interview, but he didn’t come across as very likeable. I would love to hear from his gay for pay predecessor Rick Cassidy, Dick Cassidy. He moved from gay to straight and back again throughout the 70s.

  13. Rune Roman · December 10, 2013 Reply

    Glad you got him to do the interview. Been following his straight career for years. Wish he would finally release his last straight film called Raw but it seems to be forgotten. Too bad he didn’t hook up with Jamie Summers permanently. Maybe we would have had Jamie Loves Jeff 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. or better yet Cummin Together 2, 3,4, etc (the pairing of those two was mind boggling). The bio/book would be fascinating but seems like he wants to keep the aura of mystery about his career. I wish him the best at a regular movie career but that is probably as big a dream as my dream of a Jamie and Jeff reunion. Oh, and the true fans already knew about about the three kids so he was wrong there that nobody knew. But then I guess I am a nobody!

  14. John Wilson · December 13, 2013 Reply

    I’m not sure I buy his story at all. I grew up in Illinois and I’ve NEVER heard a real citizen of Illinois pronounce it as “Illinoise.” People who live in Illinois pronounce it “Illinoy.” ALWAYS. Is he trying to conceal his true origins?

  15. PORNO BUZZ: Jeff Stryker doublé, Brent Corrigan en mini string et un livre pour devenir passif ! | Têtu, Le site du magazine gay · December 15, 2013 Reply

    […] que l'ex pornostar vient d'avouer dans une interview accordée au site The Rialto Report, Jeff y explique que ce n'est pas son pénis qu'on voit en action dans les scènes de […]

  16. David Jarrett · December 17, 2013 Reply

    I still have his rubberized cock and ball — housed in a drawer. I wonder how many are still existing. Maybe I should donate it to a gay museum.

  17. John A. Mozzer · January 28, 2014 Reply

    I remember seeing this article when it was published:

    No Peace in the Valley
    According to former porn star, Kulak’s Woodshed is barely legal
    By Steven Mikulan Wednesday, Feb 21 2007
    http://www.laweekly.com/2007-02-22/news/no-peace-in-the-valley/

    I lived very close to Kulak’s Woodshed at the time. Jeff Stryker must have been my neighbor, though I never met him.

    He sounds like a nice guy in this Rialto Report interview to me.

  18. sucre · April 4, 2014 Reply

    “Jeff Stryker” in so many ways is a perfect foil for America in the 80s. People may not know or remember how awful the 80s were and how that was an era of accelerated political and economic collapse in the US, that includes the disintegration of working-class America, the rise of gay rights side by side with with the catastrophe of AIDS. The world we see today essentially was born in the 80’s.

    “Stryker” himself is this sort of goofy, working class kid who staggers on to the scene by virtue of his over-sized manhood and obvious horniness. But he surpasses the dead end this may have been become and actually parlays his porn opportunity — which was largely a fake manipulation of images– into a small international enterprise where he gains and loses millions over the course of decades..

    “Jeff Stryker” did for gay porn what “Deep Throat” and Linda Lovelace (tragically) did for straight porn. But more than this, “Stryker” — a 100% straight youth– helps ignite a major turn in gay culture. This was the era when gay men headed to the gym, and the old order of fey twinks, rough trade that orbited around high-culture trends setters (typified by Vidal, Auden, Leonard Bernstein etc) were completely eclipsed by drug- disco- buffed gym rats.

    Stryker embodied that gay buffed body type as well as the sexual style of the Power Tool type-top. He survived all this and AIDS and now struggles to keep what’s left of his empire from a series of harpies he’s fallen in with (along with a brood of kids). Porn… Hollywood… Reagan… AIDS… Rust Bowl… gold-diggers…

    I can see a major motion picture that captures this whole era … perhaps with “Stryker” playing his character/ alter ego in his later years. When you think about it the “Stryker” story is an amazing, and farcical story about America’s late Roman Empire collapse phase.

    • April Hall · April 7, 2014 Reply

      What an insightful comment – I’d love to see that film too. From your lips to Hollywood’s ears!

  19. KravN8 · June 27, 2014 Reply

    This one star burned brighter and longer than any
    before OR after . There are still wealthy men and women who would pay LOTS of money for one night with this man.He was and is the pinnacle of
    what we define as sexy. PERIOD!

  20. Mark · July 16, 2014 Reply

    i love april hall’s voice

  21. Tony F · August 11, 2014 Reply

    What can I say, I really didn’t figure I would be interested in this one as I don’t watch gay porn.Well what another super interview by RR. They all are Ashely and April. The RR website has taken over my spare time. I took exception with one small thing though. Jeff Escoffier acted like Jeff was the first gay film star to crossover in a big way. That’s just not correct. Jack Wrangler did it before Jeff. Jack even had a touring night club act at one time.No disrespect intended as Jeff’s career stands on its own.

  22. kevin · July 26, 2015 Reply

    I have exchanged emails and purchased films directly from jeff. He is amazingly friendly and professional.
    He is as great in politeness and honesty in small business exchanges as he is in movies. And that says it all.
    Thanks for the great interview.Still have not figured how he gets straight men to love all his films.
    Amazing

  23. James · August 22, 2015 Reply

    I would say it’s a toss up between Jeff Stryker and Peter North for hottest male porno star of all-time.

  24. Giacomo · April 7, 2016 Reply

    I don’t recall the notorious shower scene in “Strykerforce” referenced in the intro, but oh well. I’m a huge fan nonetheless, and this is by far his most extensive interview.

  25. DavidZzz6 · August 2, 2016 Reply

    YES, he was {is?} good-looking, but I could never get “excited” by watching his movies. Sorry, but I found him to be boring, still and dull……. I must rather look at his XXX pictures. He appeared on the Robin Byrd Show [maybe 2-4 times] in NYC back in the mid to late 90’s, where she had a rather long boring interview [taped] with him and then had sex with her, and the other times, he stripped on her show. Robin used to interview porn stars and strippers.

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