When we launched the Rialto Report a few years ago, one of the first people we were keen to interview was the actor George Payne.
He was a dramatic and intense on-screen presence in early 1980s New York adult films, often playing mentally unhinged characters. We wanted to know more about the man behind the craziness.
It turns out George is one of the most gentle people you could hope to meet, and we’ve kept in close contact with him ever since.
Sadly George and his wife Diane have recently been going through a difficult time relating to Diane’s battle with cancer, and are having trouble affording health care and housing.
This week we’re teaming up with the Golden Age Appreciation Fund to raise money for George and Diane, and are reprising our 2013 interview with George.
The fundraiser is active until July 17, 2015.
George Payne fundraiser
George Payne is one of the most recognizable stars of the golden age of adult film in New York.
After making his debut in Jerry Douglas‘ seminal gay porn film ‘The Back Row‘ (1973), George became a regular on porn sets for the next 20 years. He appeared in some of the genre’s most famous movies – including ‘The Tale of Tiffany Lust‘, ‘Tigresses and Other Man-eaters‘, ‘American Desire‘, ‘Public Affairs‘ and ‘Puss ‘n Boots‘ – working with all the best directors along the way.
George met his wife Diane over 30 years ago when Diane was a casting agent for mainstream films. They were married shortly afterwards and lived an apartment in Queens. Both worked hard, were reliable, and were well-liked in the film industry.
Ashley West met George in 2005 when he was working as a cleaner at a gym in Queens. Retired from films, George was exercising there every day and keen to develop a fitness video for senior citizens.
Despite his on-screen ‘crazy’ persona, George is one of the most gentle people you could hope to meet. He’s thoughtful, polite and considerate – he never forgets anyone’s birthday – and prefers to inquire about your well-being rather than talk about himself.
In late 2014, unable to afford their rent George and Diane were evicted from their Queens apartment and moved into a shelter. It was a unpleasant experience which became even more difficult when Diane underwent surgery for breast cancer. She required additional medical procedures at the beginning of 2015 and, struggling to pay for Diane’s medication, they moved to Florida where it’s more affordable to live.
Staying with friends before moving to temporary housing, life has remained tough as George stopped working to care for Diane. They are currently seeking more permanent accommodation and are eager to move back to New York, but with their lack of funds options are limited.
The Golden Age Appreciation Fund states: “George Payne, a legend of American adult films who is too proud to ask for help himself, should be the focus of our current fundraising efforts. Our goal is to help George and Diane get back on their feet by raising enough money for a housing deposit, so they can sign a proper lease and secure their immediate future.”
This fundraiser is active through July 17, 2015. Your help spreading the word on our efforts is appreciated and those interested in donating please visit the George Payne fundraiser page.