Jim South: The Last Agent – Podcast 49

Jim South: The Last Agent – Podcast 49

Jim South didn’t act in many adult films, and certainly didn’t take part in any sex scenes.

He didn’t direct, produce, or finance many movies either.

But if you watch any film made in Los Angeles since the mid 1970s, the chances are that Jim South was intimately involved in who you’re actually watching on-screen.

For years his company, World Modeling, supplied talent to the adult film industry. Actresses would converge there from all over the country for a chance to be cast in X-rated films. The agency represented adult stars such as Shauna Grant, Marc Wallice, Ginger Lynn, Savannah, Katie Gold, and Christy Canyon. His office was a hive of activity, always at the center of things. His huge casting calls were legendary, as were the picture books that he meticulously kept with Polaroids of every actress taken on the day they turned up in his office for the first time.

His agency was successful and profitable, but not without controversy. He had to weather all kinds of storms – the police had him under surveillance, he was arrested for pimping and pandering on several occasions, several high profile actresses that he got started in the industry committed suicide, he was charged over the underage Traci Lords scandal, and rivalries with other agencies sometimes spilled into physical violence. Somehow Jim survived. Maybe being an Irish, right wing Republican from Texas had something to do with it.

Over the years the adult film industry changed, people changed, and social networking replaced the old order, but Jim South is still in business. The golden days may have gone but he remains the same. He’s still out there, looking for the next girl, the next breakout star.

He’s one of the last of the original dinosaurs, and this is his story.

This episode running time is 72 minutes.


Jim South’s World Modeling’s website is here.

Jim SouthJim South (with actress Lucky Starr)


Jim South


  • Posted On: 19th April 2015
  • By: The Rialto Report
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. Byron Bay · April 19, 2015 Reply

    Yesss! I’ve always hoped that the Rialto would give Jim a microphone to talk about his experiences.. He’s seen it all. Really looking forward to listening to this.

  2. Ed McBane · April 19, 2015 Reply

    Jim’s an original. I used to work at World Modeling back in the mid 1980s and it was like the stock exchange floor for porn stars. It was busy all the time with new girls just off the bus from the mid-West wanting to make money.

    Another Rialto alumnus, Rick Savage, was working there as well as former actor Ray Price. Sad to think that this part of the industry no longer exists in this form any more.

    Jim: if you’re reading this, I hope that all is good with you!

  3. William Margold · April 19, 2015 Reply

    Although our relationship began, in 1976, as competitors (I was running “Reb” Sunset International in Hollywood and he was World Modeling in Sherman Oaks),there have been very few people that have faithfully put up with me throughout my 40 plus years in XXX. Jim South is among those gentlemen that has had the common sense to realize that my heart and mind are almost invariably accurate when it comes to my concerns about the world of Adult Entertainment. He has been very special in my life, and I truly love the man on a multitude of levels, including, of course, our shared passion for Pro Football. His Dallas Cowboys are what I dream about my Detroit Lions becoming. As always…take care and care take.

  4. Roy Karch · April 19, 2015 Reply

    Jim was one of the first people I met In LA on ’77 when I arrived from NYC. I got lucky! A true gentleman , with real values, always giving everyone a square deal and always a straight shooter. Jim supplied the vehicle that all of us who made adult got onboard. For me, he was as sweet as cherry pie. Am proud to call Jim South my friend.

  5. Mykola Mick Dementiuk · April 19, 2015 Reply

    My bets on Lucky Starr, she’s beautiful!

  6. Mark Savage · April 19, 2015 Reply

    Another amazing interview with a man I’ve never heard anything but good things about.


    Not many folks can do straight-up these days like Jim and Bill M.

  7. Thomas Wood · April 19, 2015 Reply

    A correction to the above description. Jim South produced a number of videos under the name (or variations of) “Jimmy Houston”.

  8. Ralph D. · April 19, 2015 Reply

    TRR delivers another considered, informative and yes, even emotional conversation. Jim isn’t one for showing his emotions but his last answers here – about the slow death of the industry he has helped create – were quite moving.

    Very enjoyable.

  9. Hank Rose · April 20, 2015 Reply

    Ah, I smell a hint of bicoastal coverage parity. Let the 2nd left coast part of X history begin.

  10. William Margold · April 20, 2015 Reply

    JIM SOUTH is one of the TEN Most Important People in The History of XXX. Those silly San Francisco souls who disparage him simply don’t have any idea of what running a modeling agency business was like back in the days when we were “Outlaws on Movie Posters.”

  11. Sartre · April 20, 2015 Reply

    Well said, Bill. Very gracious words towards a controversial but important figure. Jim’s a unique character and his story is as important as many of the actors and directors.

    And speaking of which… when is your Rialto Report?!

  12. Louie Max · April 21, 2015 Reply

    Papa Bear once again on the MARK… West again phenomenal

  13. Frank F · April 22, 2015 Reply

    Another great effort by the Rialto Report, giving us a detailed look at yet another aspect of the adult film industry. RR gives in depth studies of not just the iconic adult film stars, but the directors, writers, producers, and now agents. Well Done!

    As a companion to this interview, I strongly recommend a 1985 documentary titled “Fallen Angels” by Gregory Dark. Jim South (and World Modeling) are prominent in this documentary, which follows three young women as they progress through the adult film industry from taking nude photos to acting in hardcore porn movies – Kimberly (Kristara Barrington, Lisa Lake, and Shanna Evans). This video shows that adult films can be a tough business, where some can thrive (Kristara) and others flounder (Lisa Lake). Jim South comes off as a straight shooter in this video, and everything Jim spoke of in the RR interview is shown in the documentary. It’s out of print, but it can be found if you look for it (as I did).

  14. William Margold · April 24, 2015 Reply

    For the record…the rest of the Ten Most Important People In XXX:

    and, as previously noted:

    • Sam Chambers · April 24, 2015 Reply

      I was just about to ask who the other nine were… and no space for Bill Margold..?!

      I’m sure that this list will surprise and shock – but in terms of what they did, or how they changed the industry, it’s to disagree with these choices.

    • Thom Pike · April 24, 2015 Reply

      I was rushing for my computer keypad when I first saw this list… to add people like Traci Lords (important, though unloved), Jamie Gillis (loved and unloved, but perhaps not ‘important’), and Sharon Mitchell (loved and important). But as I thought about it, I reckon Papa Bear might have got this just about right after all.

    • Deb Fan · April 28, 2015 Reply

      At the top of that list should be New York’s own Ed Powers. Ed single handedly redefined the porn business with his Dirty Debutante series. He was short, not considered handsome and had a small penis compared to Ron Jeremy, John Holmes, Field Marshall Bradley etc., and all Ed did was have sex with every major porn star in the 90’s and 2000’s.
      Many of the girls were not expecting much when they saw him but after the scene couldn’t believe how he was able to satisfy them, he was a true cocksmen. Ed came along at just the right time, by 1988 the porn biz was mostly in California and the films were very predictable, you had Ron Jeremy and a few other guys having sex with the same 10 girls on every VHS tape released, the industry was dying a slow death.
      Then Ed comes along with the Dirty Debutante series and the fans couldn’t get enough! You had Ed having sex with new girls in every volume and it was the same background for every scene and there was no cheesy porn music in his films. Before you knew it everyone was copying Ed in their videos with the interview first then the same style sex scene.
      There is no way you can make a list of the most important people in porn history without putting Ed Powers at the top of that list. Deborah Wells, KC Williams, Rikki Lee, Adriana Sage, Dana Vespoli, Ed made love to them all. My only regret was he never did a scene with one of porn’s all time best actresses the sensational Serenity.

  15. Hank Rose · April 25, 2015 Reply

    The way I see it, we’re not in high school and retired adult life is no longer a popularity contest. With some greater luminaries not here to tell their tale, a certain humility falls on the lesser known. And there comes a point when one’s time has past that you must expand your focus to discuss the industry as a whole and not just your place in it in order to best provide the most transcendent insight into the heart, mind and soul of X.

  16. j nass · April 27, 2015 Reply

    Jim South! i think you could have 2 versions .. a 2 hour + and the regular ..

  17. K marshall · April 28, 2015 Reply

    Always living in two worlds that for the most part
    were trying to tear each other apart…feet in both
    camps..hiding(from your wife’s friends!)in plain
    sight….now hanging on(past shelf date?) twas
    Ever thus in that world…times have changed, but
    The shaming society now engulfs half the planet.
    How many of us could have endured?

  18. Jeff Conrad · May 6, 2015 Reply

    Jim South has been a special guy on many levels for me….I was discovered by William Margold and managed for several years by Jim….He was always honest and noble about his business….I remember his strong convictions with vast knowledge of the industry and the trust that he earned with everyone….There was a true sense of pride being represented by Jim and World Modelling….His word is his bond….Extremely approachable and respectful of everyone ….
    Thanks Jim

  19. Lurky McLurkson · May 9, 2015 Reply

    First photo caption: ‘Jim South proves he still has wood’.
    Jim’s greatest contribution to the world: Christy Canyon!!

  20. Radio Ray · May 25, 2015 Reply

    I remember going into Jim’s office for the first time in 1979 on a suggestion from fellow porn actor, John Seaman.
    I remember how hot is was outside on Van Nuys Blvd. in July and how he had his window AC going, and all the cigarette smoke. Talk about getting dosed with second hand smoke, but it was worth it to get the kind of work that most guys could only dream about. Jim got me work with almost every producer that came through his doors. Mike Henderson, Ted Paramore, Suze Randall,etc. Those were the days. Thanks for all the wonderful memories Jim, I really enjoyed working for you,
    Radio Ray

  21. Alex Scarry · July 23, 2017 Reply

    Always gentleman Jim. On a trip from Florida, after the Video Sortware Dealers Association convention in Vegas in 1991, I was told to stop by World Modeling to meet Jim from my friends at World News. Jim immediately connected me with other producers and models and bought me lunch. Loved the casting calls. A real class act. What a ride. Thank you Jim.

  22. Alex Scarry · July 23, 2017 Reply

    Video Software Dealers Association…VSDA….Oops 🙂

  23. Lit · November 30, 2017 Reply

    Hats off yet again to Ashley and the team at RR.

    Re: Mr Jim South, the podcast is fascinating and full of no-nonsense, straight talking anecdotes.

  24. Splooge Gainsbourg · August 29, 2020 Reply

    R.I.P. Jim South. I’ve never read anything but nice things about him from credible sources. By all such accounts he was a gentleman of great integrity of which this sorry world could use many more. I envy the people who had the very good fortune to do business with him.

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