R.I.P. Jerry Butler
May 13, 1959 – January 27, 2018

R.I.P. Jerry Butler <br />May 13, 1959 – January 27, 2018
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April Hall remembers Jerry Butler:

This one is a hard one to take.

Jerry Butler passed away last week. It makes no sense, because there was no one more full of life than Jerry Butler.

I first met him a few years ago, and within minutes he was stripped down to the waist to show me his physique, before dropping to the floor and challenging me to a press-up contest. I know a losing bet when I see one, and so declined. Jerry’s only complaint that day was that I wasn’t filming the interview.

He’d traveled across Brooklyn on his bike (he traveled everywhere on his bike), and arrived almost two hours early for our meeting. As I approached to greet him, he shouted, “Hey, do you wanna see my beaver?” as he threw a stuffed beaver towards me before I could answer.

Thereafter I’d hear from Jerry on a regular basis. He’d call breathlessly from the gym (Me: “Jerry, what on earth are you doing?” Jerry: “I’m benching 250!”), or with his mouth full (Me: “Jerry, what on earth are you doing?” Jerry: “Cheese and ham omelette with fries!”)

He was a hard guy not to like.

Last Thursday, I drove out to his funeral in Brooklyn, and his death didn’t make sense to anyone there either.

Apparently he’d had a tumor removed successfully a while ago. Then, a few months later, he was knocked off his bike. He wasn’t badly injured, but he was taken to hospital for routine tests. There the doctors found that the cancer had spread throughout his body, including his pancreas. It was inoperable.

At the funeral, there was a sense of bewilderment. Family members sat with friends in near silence. Former hockey player friends, broad-shouldered, taciturn, granite-like men in their 50s, shook their heads quietly. Jerry’s sister, Linda, held everything together, generous in greeting and thanking everyone individually who was in attendance.

Apart from Cathy Tavel, the co-writer of Jerry’s 1989 tell-all autobiography, Raw Talent, no one from the adult film industry was there.

Cathy remembered that interviewing Jerry was like trying lasso a wild horse with freshly-cooked spaghetti. He was incapable of sitting still, talked manically, ran around the room, binged on Oreos, and paused for a moment only to dry-hump her as she took notes. I remembered a similar experience when I recorded our podcast interview with him.

At the funeral, Cathy was wearing a t-shirt that Jerry had made for her. He would ask people what their favorite cartoon character was, and then show up with a hand-painted t-shirt featuring the animated figure. Several of these t-shirts were on display, as was his painting kit.

He was 58 when he died, but was still the biggest kid in the world.

Jerry was a lovable, crazy, mixed-up, kind-hearted soul.

When he finished his press-up demonstration, I complemented him on his still youthful appearance.

He laughed. “I intend to live forever. Or die trying,” he said.

 

April Hall has recorded a new introduction to her podcast interview with Jerry Butler. You can listen to it, or download it, through the usual channels.

Thanks to Catherine Tavel and Richard Pacheco for the generous use of their photos.

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Jerry Butler – A Life in Photos

Jerry ButlerJerry, with Richard Pacheco

 

Jerry Butler

 

Jerry Butler

 

Jerry Butler

 

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, with Catherine Tavel, 1989

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, with his dog, Little Guy, 1990

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, with Catherine Tavel, Coney Island

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, with Alice Springs

 

Jerry ButlerAt the Abe Stark Skating Rink, Brooklyn, 1991

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, at Harriman State Park, NY, 1992

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, 1992

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, in a photo from his MySpace page

 

Jerry ButlerJerry, in a photo from his Facebook page, 2015

 

Jerry ButlerJerry’s funeral

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50 Comments

  1. DW Washburn · February 4, 2018 Reply

    I’m sat with tears in my eyes at the realization that Jerry had died.

    He was the best actor in adult film and a good person. I’m so sad.

  2. Sam · February 4, 2018 Reply

    OMG!!!! I had no idea. This is is terrible news. In an industry populated with scumbags, Jerry Butler was a breath of fresh, happy, innocent air. One in a million.

  3. Casey · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Really, really, really sad to hear this.

    One things for sure. The Rialto interview was a classic – and it is why we need this site.
    Without it we’re left with shit liner notes from shit ‘historians’ from shit DVD companies.

    Thank your for recording Jerry’s story with such grace.

  4. Steve · February 4, 2018 Reply

    April, you’re right; Fucking Cancer!

  5. DC · February 4, 2018 Reply

    this is a tough one. how can Jerry Butler die? his autobiography is the most honest book written about male sexuality in the 20th century. honest about everyone and everything – especially himself. Ron Jeremy’s book reads like a resume and a rallying cry for the #metoo movement. You got to KNOW Jerry – crap and all.
    I hope his kid got to meet him before his passing. We never have enough time, do we? don’t put off ANYTHING…

  6. Annie · February 4, 2018 Reply

    I loved this man.
    And a shout out to Cathy Tavel, without whom his ground-breaking book would’t have been possible.
    Sad, sad days.
    Thank you for letting me get to know Jerry through this amazing interview with him

    R.I.P.

  7. Joe Toobin · February 4, 2018 Reply

    A good man. I knew him, and he was truly a good man.

  8. Tony F · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Awww. This makes me very sad. He was a real character in the movies and in real life to hear the tales. He told those tales so well. Fun to listen to,so much manic energy. Sad that Cathy and the RR were the only representation from the adult community there. Jerry was a credit to their industry when he was in it and after he left unlike some other performers. Thank you for sharing Jerry’s stories with all of us. I thoroughly enjoyed his podcasts,interviews and book. Not to mention his movies of course. His zest for life always came out through his characters.
    R.I.P. Jerry. Thanks for entertaining me.

  9. Ed · February 4, 2018 Reply

    So, so sad. Just from the podcast alone, you could tell that he was a guy with a good heart. Such a shame to lose somebody like Jerry so young.

  10. Chamdirt · February 4, 2018 Reply

    So sad. I hate sad endings, but most endings are sad. Thank you RR for fleshing out Jerry before and after his way to early passing.

  11. 80's guy · February 4, 2018 Reply

    RIP Jerry, he was still in great shape in those recent photos. I believe the girl sitting on the bed with him in the black and white photo was Aussie porn star Alice Springs? I also read his book and thought he was totally honest about the people in the porn industry, I remember he did not like Tony Montana at all and did not get along either with Chelsea Blake or Kimberly Carson, but had a fling with Nikki Randall. Yea, Ron Jeremy’s book was a PC waste of time but Jerry’s was raw and honest. I also remember him being one of the better character actors in the industry, thanks Jerry for your contribution to this industry.

    • Chamdirt · February 4, 2018 Reply

      Raw Talent was a great read. I was jealous that Jerry made love to so many ladies I loved (LOL). In Raw Talent, he spoke about Angel, who I think was an awesome, sexy lady. I wish we knew more about her, and her feelings about Jerry.

      • 80's guy · February 4, 2018 Reply

        Yea, I remember Jerry talking about Angel too in his book, it sounded like she came from a bad family background. I thought it was interesting in the book that Jerry said he was not attracted to Kimberly Carson at all and didn’t like her as a person yet did some great scenes with her?
        He had a fling with Vanessa Del Rio and Nikki Randall, two of my favorites, what a lucky guy. I thought it was pretty funny when he said he thought Chelsea Blake looked like Margaret Hamilton who played the witch in The Wizard of Oz. Raw Talent was very under rated, what other book about the porn industry has that kind of honesty, Jerry told it exactly how he saw it, no sugar coating, that’s what made his book such a good read.

        • Yizmo Gizmo · February 8, 2018 Reply

          I think Jerry’s book said Angel was with some abusive guy who chained her up like a dog.
          I saw a film years ago (2000 or so) that said “Goodbye Angel, we hardly knew ya” after the credits.
          Any possibility she’s not alive anymore? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. Roger Sirk · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Such a great actor and he seemed to be a great guy. So sad!!

    • Yizmo Gizmo · February 11, 2018 Reply

      Can you post a link to the Angel picture? I don’t know the other two actresses. I saw the Vintage Erotica thread
      but only saw mention of Angel *Kelly*.

      • 80's guy · February 13, 2018 Reply

        You don’t know Crystal Breeze and Nikki Randall? They are two of the best looking girls from the 80’s, both beauties burst on the scene in 1984 and both made brief comebacks around 1995. Nikki Randall came out of retirement to appear in that John Wayne Bobbitt disaster!

  13. Mike Coldwell · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Jerry was an fantastic character, the podcast interview with him will now stand as a great memorial to that. Raw Talent? Damn right he was.

  14. Steven Otero · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Mr. Paul Siederman A True Original RIP .

  15. Annette Heinz · February 4, 2018 Reply

    We made 10 real xxx movies. He always knew his character and lines verbatim. A prince of the Golden Age will be sorely missed by me. Jerry always treated me so wonderfully. A true gent. His humor made the oft grueling hours go bye so quickly with his rapid fire humor. Good night old friend. See you later.

  16. Cathy Gigante-Brown · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for doing this. It was a pleasure for “Catherine Tavel” to supply you with photos. A big shout-out goes to Richard Pacheco, who so kindly shared his pics from his personal stash taken behind the scenes of BAD GIRLS IV/NICE GIRLS DO. It meant a lot to me to see April and Ashley at Jerry’s funeral. And I know this will mean a lot to his family.

  17. Dennis D. Menace · February 4, 2018 Reply

    Wow! A shame that most performers in the adult film industry are not recognized as the genuine celebrities they are. Read Jerry’s book a few years ago, a pretty good read and a real eye opener. Nobody gets out alive, but I hope despite his illness, he found some degree of genuine happiness. RIP.

  18. Adrian · February 5, 2018 Reply

    So terribly sad, Jerry will be missed!

  19. Patrick Palmer · February 5, 2018 Reply

    Like his book title… he was Raw Talent. I chatted with him a couple of times on the phone during call in sessions to Bill Margold’s radio show. What a handful, but a tragic loss.

  20. Marek Czuba · February 5, 2018 Reply

    A very nice tribute to Jerry. I did not know Jerry but felt like I did after listening to the podcast, he seemed like a very genuine person with a zest for life. It’s sad that no one from the Adult industry came to his funeral. He was an integral part of it’s history.

  21. Me and Me Alone · February 5, 2018 Reply

    This one *is* hard to take.

    What I liked most about Jerry was precisely that he *was* a flawed guy. He came across as insecure in the masterful Rialto audio interview – and that made him all the more appealing and sweet. He came across as crazy and manic at times, but that made him all the more entertaining and engaging.

    He was unique. A sad clown. But a beautiful human. And that’s more than could be said for many.

  22. Glen · February 5, 2018 Reply

    Thank you Cathy, and The Rialto Report for two of the definitive accounts of an adult film career.

    Jerry / Paul: you are missed, but have been superbly served by these chroniclers.

    xxx

  23. caviar red · February 6, 2018 Reply

    Shocking. Just out of the blue. And 58 is nothing. Too young, way too young.

    RIP, Jerry. Your images will live on.

    🙁

  24. panto · February 6, 2018 Reply

    I’ll never forget reading raw talent and being completely riveted. The first film I think I saw him in was In Love. He had a great vulnerability and likability on screen.

  25. Lit · February 7, 2018 Reply

    Very sad news

    That fascinating RR interview (thank you Team Rialto) the honesty was refreshing and truly reflected Paul’s complex, whirlwind early years with the clear coexistence of chutzpah and self-doubt. As for talent, it was there in abundance.

    RIP and SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND!!

  26. Kolby · February 8, 2018 Reply

    The interview is absolutely incredible. Jerry seems like such a passionate and genuine human being when he speaks. Also very brave to challenge gender conditioning. It’s too bad that he didn’t become a psychologist or an educator or something… Because it seems like he had a very strong desire to connect with human beings.

  27. Elle Rio /Tina Marie fan · February 8, 2018 Reply

    A terrific all around actor. Im stunned to hear he has passed

    I thought where Jerry really shined was on the several TV talk shows he did back in the 80’s and early 90’s. Jerry stole the show every time with his quick wit and overall energy and charm.
    When I heard he had a book out, I immediately wanted it and managed to track down a copy via the phone book where I found a book store in Fullerton, California special order it for me around the time it came out
    “Raw Talent” did not disappoint. I found it fascinating, insightful and brutally honest. Ive read it several times and it never it gets old.

    I later tracked down a DVD from 2003 that had Jerry doing an extended interview. I was laughing so hard my stomach started to hurt. So witty and quick, its almost surreal. If Jerry went into standup instead of porn I believe he would have been one of the best ever, and would have his own hit sitcom on a major network.

    Jerry Butler was one of a kind.

  28. pudgym29 · February 9, 2018 Reply

    This is startling. I would have expected Jerry Butler to have a third go-around on the movie exposition circuit [e.g.: Cinema Wasteland].
    My copy of "Raw Talent" (the tome), the revised 1992 paperback edition, is perched on a table behind me to my left, atop David F. Friedman’s "A Youth In Babylon".
    I can recommend you listen or download the Projection Booth’s "Raw Talent" (the movie) podcast. There is also a bonus interview of Jerry available.

  29. King Midas In Reverse · February 10, 2018 Reply

    An old friend of mine was actually an acquaintance of his here in Brooklyn. They talked exclusively about hockey (as I believe Jerry did try out for the NY Rangers at some point).

    No disrespect to other male performers of his era, but thought back in the day Jerry was by far the best looking male performer on screen by a country mile. But, as Rialto Report always does, it provides a great picture of who these people are as human beings beyond the screen.

    Condolences to his loved ones.

  30. John · February 12, 2018 Reply

    So sad. I really liked him.

  31. Wes · February 14, 2018 Reply

    Another voice is silent.

    Speak to your fans before you are silent too. We want to hear your story.

    Please?

  32. Bobby · February 15, 2018 Reply

    Raw talent was a good book, and he seemed a character. There seems to be a great interest about Angel in the comments since his passing. Does Rialto Report have any info on her now?

  33. Elias Samson · February 16, 2018 Reply

    What a wonderful podcast you had with him. So very sad! It’s so sad that those from the 70’s-80’s are leaving us and I’m so grateful to the Rialto Report for these interviews and learning where they are in their lives now. Thanks again!

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