Terri Hall:
The Artist’s Muse

Terri Hall: <br />The Artist’s Muse

Almost forty years after her career in adult films, Terri Hall continues to fascinate. Barely a day goes by without someone contacting The Rialto Report to ask for information about her life.

Terri had a brief but memorable involvement in the golden age, with appearances in films such as The Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Story of Joanna, and Through The Looking Glass.

Her striking yet haunting looks, vulnerable manner, and lithe movement cast a spell whenever she appeared on screen.

In this Rialto Report, we learn about Terri through one particular relationship she had – with the artist Sir Alex Schloss – and feature a selection of photos of her that were taken by Alex in the early 1970s.

With special thanks to Gloria Schloss and Jennifer Arnold.

 

Sir Alex Schloss’ artwork can be seen and purchased here, and Gloria Schloss’ artwork can be seen and purchased here.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Sir Alex Schloss had a studio on Eighth Avenue in the Times Square area of New York. The studio was on the top floor of a low-rent building reserved for artists of all stripes.

He took the space in 1972. The area may have been one of the sleaziest in town at the time, but the studio was a haven. It was spacious, open, and topped by a skylight that bathed the room in bright, natural light. It was a perfect place to take photographs of the models who came to pose for him.

Sir Alex died in 2011, but the studio is still there, unchanged since the early 1970s. Nowadays the walls are covered by his oil paintings, and his favored themes are evident: New York cityscapes of Central Park, Fifth Avenue, and the Plaza Hotel, horses, and ballet dancers. Lots of ballet dancers. Today his widow, and fellow artist, Gloria lives in the studio surrounded by a life’s worth of art. She may be 94, but she carefully keeps everything relating to their artistic lives preserved and intact in the space. And her memory is sharp as a tack.

*

Alex Schloss was born in New York City in 1921. An early love of gambling led him to take up boxing, with some success, to cover his financial losses. He boxed in basement clubs around the city where he became known as the Walloping Welterweight on his way to winning Golden Gloves titles. He joined the army and served in the Pacific in World War II, and when he got out he took advantage of the GI Bill to become a hairdresser.

But Alex had seen too much of the world to settle for life in a humdrum hair salon, so soon he was working in the fashion world styling models. Miss Universe 1962 was one of his clients.

Alex’s contact with models also gave him the chance to indulge in his great love, painting. He developed a style that gave his paintings a deeply textured and 3-dimensional quality by mixing oil paint with sand and marble dust. In the 1960s, he started to exhibit his paintings – including at the 1964 World Fair and the Brooklyn Museum – and received commissions from an eccentric and eclectic mix of the rich and famous, including the royal family of Morocco, wealthy industrialists, and performers like John Huston, Barry Manilow and Herve Villechaize. His interest in ballet led to portraits of Nureyev, Baryshnikov and Susan Jaffe. He and Gloria frequently traveled to Europe, and became friends with old-money nobility – such as Count Bonifazi of Italy and Monaco. The Count was impressed with Alex’s work and conferred upon him an honorary knighthood.

In 1972 Alex became the owner and curator of the much-loved Gallery At The Plaza Hotel – a position that he would keep for the next 30 years. The Gallery was a place where Alex could show his work, hold parties, and mix with the wealthy visitors to the hotel – many of whom bought his work.

*

One day in 1973, Terri Hall, a 20 year old ballet dancer from upstate New York, came into the Gallery. She was just back from Europe where she’d danced for the Stuttgart and Monte Carlo City Ballet companies, and was looking to earn some extra money as a model. Alex was happy to hire her.

Terri first posed for countless photos in her ballet costume, then for nude pictures. After a while she sat for Alex in longer sessions so that he could paint her. Her only stipulation to Alex was that he never reveal to anyone that she posed nude for him. She feared her family’s reaction, concerned they wouldn’t understand her new life in the city.

Alex and Terri bonded quickly. Over the course of many sittings, they spent hours in each others company and developed a close friendship. Alex became a father figure to Terri, and Terri opened up and talked to Alex about her life, her dreams and her family. Terri had an unusual duality about her. She was strangely shy while also enjoying the limelight of performing. She also came across unusually innocent yet clearly sexual too.

She was still dancing when she and Alex met, but the work seemed to be drying up and she was looking for new ways to make money. Alex liked and admired her; he even tried to set Terri up on a date with his teenage son Paul. But Paul chickened out when confronted with the idea of dating a physically formidable woman such as Terri so it never happened.

*

Alex and Terri’s friendship soon extended beyond the modeling work, and Terri would call Alex often from her apartment in Soho to talk and ask for advice. She was living in a troubled relationship with a fellow dancer, someone Alex believed was named Steven. Terri was by nature submissive, but Steven’s behavior verged on the abusive. He exerted a mind-control over her that could leave Terri distraught at times. It was Steven that decided what Terri could – or more often couldn’t – do. Together they seemed to be playing out an S&M affair. Alex also remembered that Steven was mainly interested in making money, and that extended to ways that Terri could make money for him. Alex was concerned for Terri.

One day Terri mentioned that she was considering making a film. One of the new-ish wave of explicit adult films that were in vogue. Alex tried to talk her out of it. He said it wouldn’t be good for her future. He said that she should think about dancing or teaching instead. Terri countered that she’d always wanted to be an actress. She loved the theater and this would give her the chance to learn how to act. Besides, Steven thought it would be a good idea.

Terri went ahead and appeared in a string of X-rated films after that – a few of them featuring Steven as well. She used a variety of names – National Velvet, Judy Holland – but unusually for the era, she appeared most frequently using her own. Alex was aware of the films but didn’t ask questions. He had no interest in pornography. That was her life, her choice. He continued to act as a reliable, calming presence in Terri’s life.

Once Terri invited Alex and Gloria to watch her dance with Steven. Steven had rented a dance space and they were putting on a show. When Alex and Gloria turned up they were struck by how dark and sinister the atmosphere was. Neither of them felt safe, so they made their excuses and left before the entertainment started.

*

Alex and Terri continued to see other until one day in late 1977 when Alex received a phone message from Terri. She thanked him for their close friendship but said that he wouldn’t hear from her again. True to her word, Terri disappeared and never again contacted Alex.

The consistent rumor among her friends was that Terri’s family had found out about her life in New York and had staged an intervention, coming down from her home town of Elmira and forcibly taking her back.

Over the years, Alex and Gloria often wondered what became of their friend. Gradually all of the oil paintings that Alex had painted of Terri sold, but the reams of photos he took – hundreds of them – were kept in filing cabinets in the studio.

*

In early 2007 The Rialto Report tracked Terri down to a nursing home in Athens, PA where she was living, suffering from ill-health. We spoke with her. Sadly she passed away later that year.

We are indebted to Gloria Schloss for sharing Alex’s previously unpublished photographs of Terri with us, and we’re pleased to share a selection here.

 

Terri Hall: Ballerina

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall: Studies

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall: Nudes

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall: Flower Portraits

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

RR_Terri_01

 

Sir Alex Schloss

Sir Alex Schloss

Sir Alex Schloss

 

Terri Hall

 

Terri Hall

 

Gloria Schloss

Gloria Schloss

*

 

34 Comments

  1. Clemens G. · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Breathtaking.
    Amazing.
    Terri Hall.

    I am forever indebted to you at the Railto. Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Joe James · September 18, 2016 Reply

    As one of the many people who have been hounding y’all for something…. anything…. about Terri Hall, this answers all my prayers…. and some. Happy, happy Sunday.

  3. anonymous · September 18, 2016 Reply

    The Rialto Report hits another one straight outta the park.
    Truly outstanding story and pictures.

  4. Anon · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Wow.

    …………….Wow.

    ……………………………Wow.

  5. Luke reilly · September 18, 2016 Reply

    In my opinion hands down the most stunning woman from the golden age. Thank you so very much to the Rialto Repot For this one. Terri will continue to amaze always.

  6. Gerard Damiano Jr. · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Great Stuff! Always love seeing images of Terry Hall. She was perhaps the most striking of all the stars of the Golden Age. My father felt the same way. It could be said that she was his muse as well for “The Story of Joanna”.

  7. Scott H. · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Terri Hall is one of my all time favorites. CJ Laing and Terri Hall. Both of them had this mesmerizing presence to me. The way Terri moved, her amazing body, her face, etc.

    I’m sad she is gone but she will definitely never be forgotten.

  8. Steven Otero · September 18, 2016 Reply

    It truly becomes Sunday when you see the latest posting for The Rialto Report !

  9. Roy Karch · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Uh huh…Terri Hall.

  10. Alexander Portillo · September 18, 2016 Reply

    What a beauty, amazing photos

  11. ozzy · September 18, 2016 Reply

    One of the most truly beautiful women to ever appear in films. I always wondered what became of her. Sorry to read that she passed. Another outstanding report

  12. Jen Arnold · September 18, 2016 Reply

    What a beautiful and touching tribute to both Terri and Sir Alex. You told the story with such sensitivity. You’ve really captured Terri Hall’s struggle between the artistic life and how to survive economically. You see from the photos how much training and discipline she devoted to her art. Thanks.

  13. Cathy Brown · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Absolutely breathtaking.

  14. Carter Stevens · September 18, 2016 Reply

    I only worked with Terri the once for ROLLERBABIES but was struck the moment I saw that wonderful splay footed walk of only a true Ballerina. She was in my memory a bit spacey but got into the goofy fun of the ice cream sex scene. I had no idea she had passed and it hits me deep in the gut to know we have lost another porn dinosaur but thank you for another wonderful walk done my happy past.

  15. Phil Smith · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Terri was one of the true stars – enigmatic, mysterious, beautiful, vulnerable, delicate, distant, tender, emotive…. how many times I wondered what her story was and where she went afterwards.

    I join the previous commenters in thanking Rialto for filling the gaps in the history of this much misunderstood industry and era.

  16. Tim · September 18, 2016 Reply

    It’s heartening and gratifying to see so many fans of Terri come out of the woodwork! We’ve all been wondering about her in silence over the years it would seem.

    And it’s a shame Terri may have not known the warmth and affection people had for her.

    Has theRialto Report ever thought about an exhibition of many of the items featured here?

    • April Hall · September 19, 2016 Reply

      We have Tim and have had discussions with several galleries. Nothing is concrete yet but hopefully one day!

  17. Wayne Pawelski · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Terri was stunning.

  18. TM · September 18, 2016 Reply

    Excellent piece of work that leaves me wondering if anybody here knows who this ‘Steven’ might be. Just wondering.

  19. David · September 18, 2016 Reply

    I think the Steven was Steven Lark. He is in almost all of her films

  20. J. Walter Puppybreath · September 19, 2016 Reply

    Fascinating!

  21. Thomas Brown · September 20, 2016 Reply

    Was she aware of how many people were fans of hers, or was that period of her life the least of her concerns when you spoke with her? I never saw her in her heyday, but only after seeing her in the Rialto Report (I was in grade school during the “Golden Age”).. She was an instant favorite, and it’s a shame she’s not here to tell her story. RIP Terri Hall, and thank you.

  22. Bj.L. · September 20, 2016 Reply

    Here is to hoping that Gerard Damiano Jr. will soon succeed in restoring his genius father´s masterpiece “The Story of Joanna”, so we can all be swept away by Terri´s timeless elegance and delicateness on the big screen again.

  23. Albert Mudat · September 21, 2016 Reply

    Albinoni’s adagio is playing in my head as I watch these photos.

    Thank you Rialto Report.

  24. Resophonic · October 14, 2016 Reply

    Thank you Rialto Report for this great story. She is one of my favorite of all times. So beautiful,talented,elegant, innocent and sexy. Rip Terri

  25. Phenny Malakian · October 18, 2016 Reply

    The beauty made Woman! The class! The Sweetness! I love her the best and The Only! In loving memory! Phenny

  26. Ron Martin · October 25, 2016 Reply

    “The consistent rumor among her friends was that Terri’s family had found out about her life in New York and had staged an intervention, coming down from her home town of Elmira and forcibly taking her back.”

    In fact Terri’s mother asked me to arrange an afternoon meeting at a restaurant next to the Melody Theatre, where I had booked Terri as a feature. An ad in the Daily News had made its way to her home town.
    Terri was enthusiastic about the idea of reconciling with her parents. The meeting went very well, and at no time was there anything but cordiality and smiles. Terri decided on the spot to return home, although she did finish out her week. There was no “force”, and love was the order of the day.

    In the years that followed I spoke twice with Mrs. Hall, who first informed me that Teri was institutionalized with a bi-polar disorder and later that she had passed away.

Leave a reply