Tom Byron – A Life Choice:
Podcast 67

Tom Byron – A Life Choice: <br />Podcast 67
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In one of his first detailed interviews for many years, Tom Byron joins us to look back at one of the most prolific careers in adult film history.

His life story resembles the history of the adult film industry since the beginning of the video age, during which time he’s won just about every kind of adult film award going and is in every Hall of Fame invented by the industry. He’s appeared in literally thousands of films, and he’s directed, produced, and edited hundreds too. He’s weathered the storms of AIDS, obscenity charges, tax indictments, pro-wrestling, drugs, industry controversies, and much more.

So how does he make sense of it all? What does he remember about Traci Lords, John Holmes, Alex de Renzy, Marc Wallice, Ginger Lynn, Jim South, John Stagliano, Patrick Collins and others?

And, now in his 50s, what is he doing today? You may be surprised.

This podcast is 109 minutes long.

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If you’ve followed us for long here at The Rialto Report, you know how much we respect and admire actors like Jamie Gillis, John Leslie, George Payne, and others.

Tom ByronBut as a teenager growing up watching their films, I have to admit – I never watched the screen and really identified with them. I never saw myself in their shoes. I never looked at them and thought, hey, that could be me.

And then one actor came along who did look familiar. He looked like us, talked like us, and seemed just like all the teenage kids I knew. It was almost like watching ourselves onscreen. In an adult movie too.

And that was Tom Byron.

He looked like a naïve choirboy virgin who’d watched a golden age porn film in a theater somewhere in Texas, and decided it looked so much fun that he’d climb up onto the screen and join the action. And, as it turns out, that’s almost exactly what happened.

Tom Byron started appearing in adult films in 1982 often showing up in the role of the innocent brother or son who discovers sex. In the years since then his life story resembles the history of the adult film industry since the beginning of the video age. He’s appeared in literally thousands of films, and he’s directed, produced, and edited hundreds too.

Tom ByronHe dated Traci Lords when it was revealed that she was underage in one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the adult film industry.

He saw so many come and go, he weathered the AIDS crisis, drugs, tax investigations, and burn out.

He’s had his own film production company several times, including the controversial Extreme Associates which he started with his best friend Rob Black, which featured rough sex and ultimately legal charges for obscenity.

He tried his hand at launching a music career as a singer, and even formed a wrestling company, Xtreme Pro Wrestling.

He saw the industry re-invent itself – several times, and all the time he kept working and making more films. And he still looked like a teenager.

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In this podcast, Tom refers to the effect that the Frontline documentary, ‘American Porn‘, had on Extreme Associates, the business he owned with Rob Black. You can see the full documentary here:

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Tom Byron

39 Comments

  1. Jimmy · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Oh man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tom is the man. This is gonna be epic!!!!!!!!

    • Jason · March 29, 2017 Reply

      Ashley, you are so good. If you keep at it we are going to hear more from the second generation, which is right in my timeline. Don’t stop your work!

  2. Dan · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Started listening to this minutes ago and it is already 100% completely engrossing.
    I always wondered what TB was like as he seemed to be like a regular guy and he comes across as your favorite roommate. What a life…….

  3. anon · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Hey Tom great interview, any chance of a book??

  4. Gerbz · March 12, 2017 Reply

    That headshot of Tom looks like Mickey Rourke pre-mangling!!!

  5. Brad F · March 12, 2017 Reply

    A great interview of a pretty interesting life. He has an honest and fairly modest view of his life, and he didn’t have that set of rose colored glasses that some porn stars wear.

    The most stunning revelation was that after all of these ventures and various careers he’s ended up as an Uber driver! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it would be fun to get picked up at LAX by Tom Byron. But given the good years he had, I would have thought there would be some thought about saving for the future. On the other hand, financial planning was probably not being discussed on the porn set.

    It might have been fun to ask him about the details of the business: how did they get the yacht in “All American Girls”? Did he ever have difficulty getting paid? What strange things happen when you drive to someone’s suburban ranch home to shoot porn?

  6. TJ · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Great interview of one of the great guys of XXX. Tommy was the backbone of the biz for decades and deserves to be able to retire in comfort. His assessment of the current day industry is a searing indictment of “progress”. I can only mourn the loss of the golden age, and thank Tommy for his important role in it.

    Thanks T, and good luck.

  7. Harry Ferguson · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Time for the return of the Rialto fundraiser I think. Let’s get Tom the down payment for the car!!

  8. J. Walter Puppybreath · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Great stuff. RR!
    Tom (along with Peter North – interview, please) is one of the fews guys who slotted in well with the ’80’s LA ladies.

  9. Tom Peak · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Tom Byron…Is the man… He would be a great choice to be at 25th Anniversary of Nightmoves Magazines.. Caravan of Stars and Award Show in Oct.. Great.. Fffff ing interview.. Rialto report.

  10. Pssst · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Seriously, seriously good. All the usual Rialto trademarks are here… intelligent questions, plenty of time to answer them, no stone left unturned, human poignant stories, and intelligent thought provoking questions.

    Who does run the industry today, where is it heading, and what happens to its legacy?

    Great work!

  11. SAH · March 12, 2017 Reply

    It is a sad indictment of any industry if any of its most important and key players – of 30 years standing! – is not set up for life financially.

    We always hear that the XXX industry is bigger than Disney and Hollywood… so what gives? Where is the retirement package for one its most recognizable male stars? Something’s not right here.

    Thanks to Tom for his honesty and candor. We miss you!

  12. Jim Stevens · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Another great interview—wow, “Hands in My Pocket” as the fade-out song. Packs a punch.

    Whether it’s porn or any another entertainment branch where performers come into money quickly and don’t know how to handle it, I wish some sort of financial planning was mandatory. So many of the golden age performers seem to be hurting so much financially. Breaks my heart.

  13. Al · March 12, 2017 Reply

    Oh man this was great if you started watching adult films in the 80’s you no doubt grew up seeing Tom in countless productions. This was so much fun listening to this, I think Tom is the best! Absolutely great episode. Keep them coming!!!

  14. Just Afan · March 13, 2017 Reply

    His career would have had a better ending if he hadn’t been so involved with Rob Black. A lot of people thought there was something wrong with that whole situation and felt bad for Tom. He definitely missed out on opportunities because of that, but the whole industry changed, too. You don’t really hear many of these stories with a happy ending.

  15. Cathy Gigante-Brown · March 13, 2017 Reply

    I absolutely love this interview! Tommy, thanks for your candor. So refreshing. And Ashley and April, thank you so much for bringing us this interview. Thanks, also for being so honest about Jerry Butler’s stance on AIDS and him being a pariah. I have a “Tommy story” from 25 years ago which I’ll share with you privately one of these days!

  16. Captain Howdy · March 13, 2017 Reply

    What a great interview! What an amazing life Tom Byron has had! I always wondered why so many stars of the classic stained screen have such awful money management skills? Do they (like professional athletes) think it will last forever or is it something else? Byron may be going through tough times right now, but he is smart enough to re-invent himself. The fact that he had a successful career from 1984 to 2014 doing exactly what he wanted to do is pretty damned impressive!

  17. Roy Karch · March 13, 2017 Reply

    Tom Byron.. one of the true originals; tells it like it was; great to have on the set and always there when you needed him. Thanx to the Rialto Report for still keepin’ our business in deep focus.

  18. Dexter · March 13, 2017 Reply

    Good interview. Typical story …. Who from the golden age still has a pot to piss in? Sad but true.

  19. sybian22 · March 14, 2017 Reply

    Tom sounded like he had a lot to say about Stagliano. I wish he could have elaborated more.

  20. Diane · March 14, 2017 Reply

    What a great interview! Three things I would like to comment on:

    1. I totally agree with what he had to say about Traci Lords’ claim about being a ‘victim’ in the business! Total bullshit! I also believe that Traci Lords had a plan and then ran with it until it came crashing down on her and on those who were involved with her.
    2. I was shocked when TB said that the ‘walk out’ of the Frontline crew during the making of Forced Entry was actually staged! Talk about lack of integrity in reporting!
    3. I was also shocked when TB said that all the clips on the free porn sites were actually sold to the internet people by the porn insiders! I saw a recent interview with Ron Jeremy where is bemoaned how the free sites were hurting the porn industry!

    Keep up the great work! I love coming here for all your interviews and journals of this bygone era in porn!

    Thanks for all you do!

  21. FrankF · March 15, 2017 Reply

    Loved this Podcast! Yes, I was worried you weren’t making them anymore. And to return with this superb interview with Tom Byron. Thanks so much for all your great efforts.

    My first experience with adult films was back in 1983, here in NYC, when I was in my twenties. Tom Byron was the male performer I most identified with, my alter ego. I followed his work from the eighties to his “Season Players” series. I agree with him totally about the changes in the Industry. I have no idea who the current “stars” in the industry are these days. Makes me appreciate the Rialto Report even more.

    Wishing the best of luck to Tom Byron in his current endeavors.

    • V Fan · March 16, 2017 Reply

      I agree Frank F, I really can’t name one superstar in porn right now? I guess Eva Lovia? But when Tom was in his heyday in the mid 80’s, he always gave out this vibe as a kid in a candy store, like he knew he was lucky to be working with all the hot porn stars of the VHS 80’s, Kari Foxx, Keli Richards, Amber Lynn, Gina Valentino, Crystal Breeze, Vanessa Del Rio, Janey Robbins, Tamara Longley, Melissa Melendez, Gina Carerra, Sahara, Marilyn Chambers, Nikki Randall, Britt Morgan, these were the top stars at the time and Mr Byron was with all of them!

  22. V Fan · March 16, 2017 Reply

    I remember Tom looking like a kid fresh out of high school working with superstars like Marilyn Chambers and Euro powerhouse Teresa Orlowski, recently I saw him in a parody playing old man Obi Won, boy time flew by fast.

    I remember Tom was dating Gina Valentino during her brief career in 84-85, Tom whatever happened to her? You guys made a good couple back then.

  23. Sven · March 18, 2017 Reply

    His comment on Ron Jeremy seemed to be one of the most honest. How could a pretty girl not come away from her time in front of the camera wanting out? I wonder if that was the case with several other would- be starlets. Gabrielle Freeman perhaps?s

  24. C.R. · March 19, 2017 Reply

    GREAT interview, you pretty much covered all the bases here, I can’t think of anything in particular else you should have asked. I must say though I was left shaking my head at the end and I would have liked to know a bit more about how someone like Tom was not able to save more money in his career after so much success especially during the time he was a director. And the fact that this business has absolutely no appreciation for those who created it. Tom Byron of all people should have a place of employment for life among the various facets of the business. I just do not understand this. I live in the San Fernando Valley and I use Uber fairly often, I hope I’m lucky enough to snag Tom for a ride sometime! Maybe you should have asked how often he gets recognized…hell, this could be the concept for his next porn series!

  25. Jorge Maranville · March 19, 2017 Reply

    Couple of things: This interview was the porn version of the Ramones documentary “End of the Century.” Entertaining but left me shaken…unscientific opinion, open to much debate: Male porn actors have a more difficult time adapting to life after porn than women (I’m complimenting the women here.) Second, RE: A Peter North interview…could be interesting but I’m not sure there’s “any ‘there’ there.” The literary classic “Penetrating Insights” might be as penetrating as PN cares to get with his career.

  26. Mike Rudolph · March 20, 2017 Reply

    Never thought I’d feel sorry for a man who had bedded all those beautiful starlets males of the 1980’s and early 90’s could only fantasize about – but I do – best of luck Tom. A first class outstanding (as always) Rialto report.

  27. Jorge Maranville · March 21, 2017 Reply

    I still can’t shake this one.

  28. Sly · March 22, 2017 Reply

    Tom is clearly not a fan of Bill Margold either and implies that was a common perception in the industry. Interesting juxtaposition with R/R who lionise him

    • SAH · March 22, 2017 Reply

      I’m curious… how does the Rialto lionize Bill Margold? By publishing an obit?

      Also Tom said that Bill wasn’t well liked by the industry at one stage because he made controversial comments. I know that Bill and Tom were friends until Bill’s passing so what is this comment based on?

      • April Hall · March 26, 2017 Reply

        Such a great question about how to lionize Bill SAH. As you’ll read in our goodbye to Bill at http://www.therialtoreport.com/2017/01/19/bill-margold/ we always were pushing Bill for an interview but he always wanted to wait for the perfect circumstances. Now sadly it’s too late for that but we’ll always warmly remember Bill for what a great supporter of the industry and our work he was.

  29. Howie Gordon · March 26, 2017 Reply

    Finally, found the time to sit down and listen to Tom’s story!

    WOW!!!! AND ANOTHER . . .

    WOW . . . TIMES TEN.

    Look forward to our paths crossing one day, Tom, in this, the afterlife of our porn.

    My best to you always,

    – the ghost of Richard Pacheco

  30. Keith J. Crocker · March 27, 2017 Reply

    Now, this was an excellent interview. Brutally honest and insightful. I liked him far better than I thought I was going to. He was a super big deal in the mid 80’s, you couldn’t watch a video shot porn without him showing up. Of interest he was on the cusp of the film era, I have an Super 8mm loop he starred in (I also have one with Marc Wallice). He was dead on about the High end video cameras, when we sold our home made porn video to a distributor, he was very interested that both myself and partner in film-making (at the time) had experience with TV cameras, as a lot of porn was being shot using a three camera TV system (kind of like the way I Love Lucy and the Honeymooners were shot). We were being considered for camera work, nothing came of it (we are talking 1993 and a short time after). I was only going to listen to an hour of this, go back to work and catch the rest later, but it was such a good interview I had to hear it out…..

  31. David Maloney · March 28, 2017 Reply

    Anything goes came out in 1984.. was it shot and held back? Because Tom Was in Up ‘n Coming in 1982.

  32. Dick Hangsten · April 9, 2017 Reply

    This is a great interview and is full of interesting information about Tom. I feel bad that he is driving for Uber, and that he is not making the amount of money that he should be, or is not as rich as he should be. I do consider myself lucky. I am a former businessman who has owned, and sold, various vending businesses. I was able to retire a wealthy man at the age of 48, back in 2010. I have been enjoying my retirement and wealth ever since. Tom Byron should be in the same position that I am in today. I now enjoy my time operating my own erotic escapade story site, Dick Hangsten. The site contains sexual stories from my past escapades, that are 95% true. I have had as much fun as Tom Byron, and many other former porn stars has had. I still have fun at the still-hot age of 54.

  33. Punchy the Clown · September 21, 2017 Reply

    He did a smoking hot scene with Ginger Lynn where he is the lingerie assistant helping her try on different outfits.
    Not sure what movie it is from but it is a classic.
    Read somewhere that Tom Byron holds the record for most scenes ever.

  34. edward kern · November 5, 2017 Reply

    great interview tom. what was TANYA FOXX like to work with?

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