Randy Paul entered the adult film industry in 1986 and racked up over 200 titles over the next 20 years. In many ways, Randy seemed tailor-made for the business: he had all-American good looks, prior experience as a model, and acting chops honed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
But though he entered the business with relative ease, he hit a significant roadblock early on. You see, Randy had gotten his start performing in gay films before he began doing straight work. He was surprised: describing himself as “70% straight, 30% bi”, he thought the adult industry was the last place he’d find any kind of sexual prejudice. But he was wrong.
Nevertheless, he persevered, and managed to carve out a respectable adult career between California and New York, straight and gay, standard and fetish, and worked with many of the big names of the time, like Amber Lynn, Jeanne Fine, Siobhan Hunter and Nina Hartley.
This is Randy Paul’s story.
Randy Paul: His Early Years
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Bayshore, Long Island. When I was very small, it was a big shopping town. There was a Grant department store right on Main Street. I remember walking down that street with my mother when I was young and it would always be packed with shoppers.
My extended family lived in Brooklyn and Queens. And I lived in Manhattan at times in the 1980s, all the 1990s, and then again on and off in the 2000s. So I knew New York City really well.
Did you grow up with just your mom?
My father and mother had separated when I was about eight. They were separated for four years and then he died. I wasn’t really close to him.
How about siblings?
I had an older brother, he was nine years older than me. And my father had a son from his first marriage but we haven’t stayed in touch. But my younger brother, who is three years younger than me, have always been thick as thieves. And we’re still very close. We used to surf together a lot – and still did up until I had a knee replacement a few years ago.
So were you active and sporty as a kid?
Oh yeah. I would play all sports – baseball, basketball, football, tennis, swimming, surfing. I was on the Little League baseball team until my mother wouldn’t let me do it anymore.
See, my father saw I was athletic and smart so he invested a lot of time in me and pushed me, even though he had his demons. Once he left… there was no one supervising me. I stopped doing my homework, but luckily I was pretty smart anyway and I loved to read.
I was picked to be in the honors program in middle school, but my mother complained and said I should just be in the regular class! She grew up during the Depression and had no respect for higher education. She wanted me to go the safe route, and just learn a trade.
I really loved my mom, but I still kind of resent her for that. She taught me to give up. I’d just give up if I didn’t feel like doing something. And by the time I got to high school, I was cutting class all the time. I went in for my European Studies midterm at one point and the teacher didn’t even know who I was because I was never there…
You said your Dad had his demons – what was he dealing with?
He’d get violent with my mom. He tried to shoot her right in front of me and my little brother. Because of that, he wasn’t around for a while, but four years later, my mother let him back in. Pretty soon they had another fight and my father stabbed my mother with an ice pick 18 times. I was hitting him over the head with my BB gun to try and get him to stop.
A couple of weeks later, he died. He had a heart condition and he just stopped taking his medication. I think he knew if he’d stayed alive, he’d have been put in jail.
That’s a lot of violence to grow up with. How did you cope with what was going on?
It wasn’t always like that. When my Dad wasn’t living in the house, he’d pick me and my younger brother up, and we’d go to Mets games and stuff like that.
But my younger brother and my mother, we were like pals. We rode our bikes together everywhere. She’d take us to Friendly’s for hot fudge sundaes and we’d go to the movies.
Even on the night my father stabbed my mother, he took me outside and asked me if I’d come live with him if he got another place. But I turned him down, and said, “No. We need our mother.”
What was your personality like as a kid?
I was introverted, but I was also quick witted. I used humor to get by, to make people laugh. But while I could be gregarious at times and had friends, I kept to myself a lot. I’ve always been my own drummer.
I also had a strong work ethic. My mother instilled that in me. I had a paper route, and a circular route, and a penny saver route. I sold Christmas cards in the summer. And I’d walk around with a lawn mower, knocking on peoples’ doors if their grass looked high.
Do you remember when you first became sexually aware?
I think I was pretty late on that. I can still remember the first time I actually masturbated. I was about 15. The thing I masturbated to… the thing that got me… was a National Lampoon Magazine. The magazine had this feature called Photo Funnies and there was this girl that was applying for a job as a secretary and her prospective boss asked her to take her top off. That’s what got me! And they must’ve had really inadequate health and sex education in my school, because what happened when I masturbated shocked me. I was like, “What the hell just happened?”
Did you have any girlfriends when you were younger? When did you lose your virginity?
I think I was in seventh grade when I first kissed a girl. We called it French kissing. I didn’t have sex until I was 17. It was with my girlfriend. I woke up and we were just having sex. It was the middle of the night and I wasn’t even sure that it was real. All I knew was it felt good, so I didn’t stop until I…stopped.
When I woke up in the morning with her next to me, I thought, “Did that really happen?!” The thought of it got me aroused again. So we started having sex again, and I thought, “Oh yeah, I am doing this!”
Did you come across any pornography when you were a kid?
One day I threw something into the waste bin in the kitchen, and I saw this manila envelope in the trash with these colored pamphlets peeking out. I pick it up and there was all this porn stuff in there. My father must have ordered these things one time, and so they kept sending the pamphlets to him even after he’d left. The pictures all had a black bar over the sexual parts but still… they left little to the imagination. So I always kept my eye out for those envelopes.
Meanwhile there was a local movie theater called The Regent in Bayshore. And by the late seventies, it was showing two triple-X features each week. And those pamphlets had taught me about the stars: I already knew who Serena was, who John Holmes was… all those stars.
One night the cinema was showing a Russ Meyer movie. A bunch of us from high school – I forget how many of us there were – all tried to get in to see the film. The guy in the box office was a tall, gawky, glasses-wearing, nerdy looking guy, just a teenager himself probably. We made his life a living hell that night because we were desperate to get in. At one point, we all rushed in and sat down in the theater. But I was smart – I went right into the men’s restroom, and waited until I heard all the noise die down. All the other kids got tossed out but I got to see the film. It was just softcore, but it was exciting.
What did you think about these people that you were seeing in the pamphlets and on screen?
I was fascinated. Especially by the women. I thought it was just so hot and so sexy that a woman would do that. Knowing that it was being filmed and that other people were going to watch it… I just loved it.
Every week I’d look at the movie listings in the newspaper and after a while I got to know all the big players. I loved Serena, Samantha Fox, Veronica Hart. And when Loni Sanders came along, I really fell in love.
When you graduated high school, what did you do?
I decided to hitchhike out to California because I had some surfer friends out there.
Anyway, I hung out west for a while, then hitchhiked back to Bayshore. A while later, I hitchhiked to Boulder, Colorado and back. I was just exploring – it was all an adventure.
Were you on your own?
By then I had a serious girlfriend, Meg, who was the love of my life. I used to see her in my school hallways for years. She was a year younger than me, a petite girl with eyes as blue as the sky. Every time I would see her, I would think, “Oh, that girl.” I felt she was a kindred spirit. And then I finally met her. It was June 6th, 1980. I still remember the date.
For four years we were on and off. We never had a fight. We never broke up. It was just that our lives took us apart. I’m not the most patient person in the world, but somehow I knew I had to be patient with her and our relationship. She wound up going away to college, so I joined the Navy at age 19.
Meg died of cancer in 2003. Her sisters told me she had my picture in a frame beside her bed when she passed away.
Randy joins the Navy
Why did you join the Navy?
I just felt I needed to do something; I thought I needed to aim my arrow towards adulthood.
I’m glad I joined the Navy. I got a lot of good habits from that. I’m someone who makes his bed first thing every morning. I pay attention to detail. I take care of my body. I learned to go slow because slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
When I first enlisted, I thought I’d do at least 20 years and then retire. But I had a dream of being a writer. And then ultimately, I decided I wanted to be an actor.
How did you decide on acting?
I met a guy when I was hitchhiking from San Diego – where I was stationed – to L.A. He was a local entertainment reporter and we became really good friends. We went to the movies together, he took me to my first stage show, that kind of stuff.
One day he had a copy of GQ magazine and he pointed to the guy on the cover and said I should do that. He thought I could be a model. So when I got out of the Navy, I enrolled with a modeling agency. This agency was always giving me crap about my hair, but to be honest, I was a terrible model.
At the same time I was modeling, I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts – and I got in. So I packed up and moved back east to New York. I started waiting tables to pay for the Academy and moved into an apartment on 97th and Riverside. I did some maintenance work around the building so I got to live there cheaply.
It was then that I met Veronica Hart.
Randy Paul: The Adult Years
How did you meet Veronica Hart?
I had seen her a couple of times pushing a baby stroller through Bryant Park. I recognized her immediately because she was one of my favorite adult actresses. I thought she was so beautiful and I could sense that she was smart. She was also a good actress – really a great actress.
So one day, around 1983 or 1984, I was walking along 44th St and she passed by and looked right at me and smiled. So I went up to her to let her know what a big fan I was. We got to talking and she told me they were shooting a softcore thing that evening and that they could use some extras. She said it wouldn’t pay but asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said yes.
The shoot took place at one of those places on Seventh Ave near the fifties where they used to have live sex shows. Cody Nicole was there – she was part of a couple having sex on stage, unrelated to the movie. I also met Veronica’s husband, Michael, and her friend Doug Kane – who went on to become a good friend of mine. And Tim Connelly – he was there that day too.
At one point, Veronica asked me if I would be willing to wear a pair of bikini underwear and let her pretend to give me a blow job. I immediately said yes and when she walked away, her friend Doug said, “so you’re really shy, huh?” It was just so spur of the moment. There I am with one of my favorite porn stars, Veronica Hart, naked right in front of me. And I’m just like, wow.
Did you think that was the start of something?
Not really. I was still serious about my acting. I was about to start my second year at the Academy – they only invite 75 people back after that first year and I was one of them. So I thought I was going to make it as a legitimate performer. I thought I would be a theater actor.
Also it was during this time I met a woman and started a relationship. Nancy was a waitress in the same restaurant where I was working. She had a young son. We became close, and I loved her kid so I moved in. Even though Nancy and I didn’t work out as a couple I stayed close with her son and am still close to him to this day. He’s like a son to me.
So what eventually leads you more fully into the adult business?
Being in that relationship and Having a responsibility to Nancy and her son, I felt I needed to make more money. So I began to think about using my acting talent to get into porn so I could make a bunch of money, and then do move on to something better suited to raising a young child. Nancy was on board with it at first, probably because she thought I’d get the porn out of my system.
It’s the 1980s calling
How did you get into the business?
I met this photographer. He lived in the city but was originally from Bayshore like me. He shot pictorials for gay men’s magazines and asked me if I wanted to model for him. At first I said no, but then I did it.
He told me I should go out to California to meet this agent called Terry who could help me get into films. He said that Terry booked bisexual and gay films.
What was your reaction to that?
The fact that it was bisexual and gay didn’t put me off because when everyone I talked to in the business pointed me towards gay movies. And even though I was mainly into women, I’d had some gay sex before and I enjoyed it. Back then, there were all these well-produced bisexual movies and I saw that guys like Peter North were doing them – and still doing straight films.
So I didn’t think it was a big thing. I thought that everyone would be open-minded and cool about it.
What happened when you got out to California?
In early 1986, I met up with this agent Terry at a Howard Johnsons, and he wound up taking me around to different producers. Almost immediately I was booked to work in two films, both gay movies. The first one was for a producer named Terry LeGrand and it was pretty cheap. The second one had higher production values. It was actually supposed to be a bi film but I didn’t see any women on the set.
Both shoots were very professional. And I enjoyed making the films. I felt like a rebel, like I was being a bad boy and I was going against societal norms.
But little did I know I was also going against porn society norms.
What do you mean?
I didn’t realize there was a stigma in the porn world about going back and forth between straight and gay films.
After the two gay films, I went back to New York to see my girlfriend. I told her a little bit about my experience out west, but I didn’t tell her that the films were gay. I thought that might be too much for her and that she’d judge me. I hadn’t used anything close to my real name on those films – I called myself Robert Harris.
Back home I got a call from a guy with a gay advertising business in Los Angeles. He’d seen my Polaroid from my agent, Terry, and wanted me for a 900-number phone sex ad. So I wound up going back out to L.A. and staying with him. He was also a gay film critic. We became friends, and we fooled around sometimes too. He asked me what I charged for a night but I told him I didn’t do that. If I had sex off-camera it was because I wanted to.
I wanted to find more film work and someone told me that if I wanted to do straight porn I should call Jim South. So I met with Jim and he introduced me to a bunch of still photographers – I think that was his test to see if a guy would be OK to perform in an actual movie.
I met with this couple, Rudy and Blanca – he was European and she was from South America. And, as we were getting to know each other, one of the first things they said to me, was that I was going to approached by gay film producers because of my looks – and that I definitely should NOT do that if I wanted to be in straight films. They had no idea that it was too late.
How did your first straight porn shoot go?
I was nervous. With the gay porn I really didn’t care what the guys thought of me – but it was different when it came to women. While I was waiting to shoot, Nikki Charm walked past me and said the girl I was going to work with wanted to have an orgasm and that I’d better give her one. So the pressure was on.
PT was producer of the film and Robert McCallum was the director. I was there to do a three-way with Brittany Stryker and Peter North. When one of the guys on set heard I was working with Peter, he said: “I hope you brought your goggles.” Peter was notorious for his prodigious cum shots.
During the scene I got so excited, I accidently came inside Brittney. She was really sweet about it, telling me not to worry and kissing me until I got aroused again, but ultimately Tom Byron had to stunt cock for me. He was really cool about it, saying he used to have that problem too.
From then on, I associated PT with not being able to perform. He loved my acting and would hire me all the time, but I just couldn’t perform sexually with him in the room.
Randy Paul with Honey Wilder
How did you get work after that?
I met Bill Margold at a party thrown by some guys from XRCO, and he told me I should sign with this agent called Reb Sawitz in addition to Jim South because it would increase my chances of getting work. When I went to meet Reb, he showed me his book of what he called ‘Jim’s Butt Boys’. That was his term for guys repped by Jim South who did gay as well as straight porn. He had people like Peter North and Marc Wallice in there. I thought to myself, “Oh shit, what if he finds out I’m a ‘butt boy’ too?” In the meantime, I left his office with three straight acting jobs.
One of the jobs was with Jerome Tanner from Western Visuals. At first, Tanner was worried I might be a snitch for the cops. That was because there was a rumor circulating that some members of the adult film industry were ratting out adult film sets. I don’t know if it was true, but the rumor was that it might be Tom Byron, because the IRS was on his ass for back taxes.
Anyway, the movie was called Twins and it starred Careena Collins. Careena worked a lot with Jerome and Western Visuals. When I got to the set, Careena jumped into my arms and started making out with me. She told me she had seen me at Jim South’s office and had wanted to work with me since then. Then she pulled out a copy of ‘Trial of Socrates’ by Plato and went to read it, and Bunny Bleu walked in. Bunny was drinking and smoking even though she was pregnant – but she told everyone she was getting an abortion so it didn’t matter.
I shook my head and thought to myself, “This is a wild business I’ve gotten into…”
This was the mid-to-late 1980s. Were you worried about AIDS?
You know, I wasn’t really. I didn’t know that much about it. It wasn’t being talked about a lot at that point in the circles I ran in, even the gay film circles.
When and how did people on the straight side of the business start learning that you were also doing gay films?
It took a little while. I was getting a ton of straight work, especially from Reb. But then my friend who got me the gay 900-number told me that Reb had found out I’d done gay work – and he wasn’t happy about it. He told my friend he’d continue using me if people asked for me but he wasn’t going to actively promote me any longer. And Jim had stopped booking me because he didn’t like that I was working through Reb as well.
So I stopped getting work in LA. It was homophobia. And there was so much hypocrisy in it all.
Randy Paul, top left
So what happened when the LA work dried up?
I got contacted by Sam Schad the production manager/director and sometime gay performer. Henri Pachard was about to shoot a movie called Sweet Revenge in New York and he wanted to hire me. For the most part Sam was very professional, but once in a while he’d offer me $50 to let him give me head. I didn’t do it – I just wasn’t a hustler.
I also auditioned for Chuck Vincent, who had Platinum Pictures. And he hired me to work with Sheri St. Claire which was great. There was very little locker room talk among the porn guys back in the day, but a few years ago I was talking with Rick Savage on the phone, and we were reminiscing about the great blow jobs Sheri gave.
Did you pick up regular work in New York after that?
Yes. For example the Zane brothers were doing a bisexual series and I worked with them. Cara Lott did a bunch of those Zane films too. I was really excited to work with her – she was already famous and for some reason that excited me.
Were you doing anything else in the late 1980s while you were making films in New York?
I was working as a waiter at Raoul’s, the famous bistro in SoHo because I was only making the occasional film then.
What did your family think about you being in the business?
At first, only my younger brother knew. Like I said, we were thick as thieves so he was the first I told about it. He didn’t really say much, but he didn’t judge me.
But back at my mother’s house, I kept a bunch of porn-related stuff in an old suitcase I didn’t think anyone ever used. Later I found out that my Mom had opened it, and found a video tape with the name ‘Randy Paul’ on it – Randy is my real first name, Paul is my real middle name. So she put the tape in the VCR and that’s how she learned I was in the business. She never said anything to me, but it was clear she was a little pissed off.
One day there was a family barbecue and people were making fun of the fact that I was in movies – and I was told my mom said, “Well, at least my son’s a star.”
Did having sex on film impact your personal sex life?
Yeah, it kind of did. Sometimes I found myself with a girl that I had a relationship with and the sex would be difficult. I felt like I was performing. So I would take a break from sex to get things back on a real level, where I could connect with someone. I would abstain from sex for long periods of time.
And you continued making the occasional film in New York?
Yes, and at some point I went back out to L.A. I figured I’d make some more gay movies to make some more money. So I went out west and met Matt Sterling.
Matt told me he wanted to hire me to work with Jeff Stryker. He said he’d pay me a lot of money to do it. Matt was an older guy at that point, and this was going to be the last movie he’d make with Jeff so he wanted it to be extravagant.
What did you think of Jeff Stryker?
He was friendly enough, but also odd. There’s something off with that guy. I’m not a psychiatrist but it seems like he has narcissistic personality disorder or something. But the day I had sex with him, it was fine. I’d been drinking and doing cocaine the night before, and for some reason whenever I did that, I’d be horny as hell the next day. And Jeff had the attributes I needed to get off.
The movie was Stryker Force. And even though it starred Jeff and this guy Steve Hammond, Steve couldn’t do the sex scenes. So I acted as both stunt cock and stunt butt for Steve. I didn’t get the star billing but I got a lot of money. With all the re-shoots and the stunt sex work, I made well over $50k in total. That was way more than I’d ever earned for any sex film, ever. Matt Sterling thought I was a genius negotiator. He’d come to me and say, “How much do you need to stunt cock for this guy?” and I’d answer whatever you think is fair. And he thought I was playing hardball… but really, I just didn’t know what to ask for.
When I was done with that film shoot, I knew the movie wouldn’t be out for a few months so I went back to Jim South to see if there was any straight work to be had. Jim was happy to have me back. I also got contacted by the guys at Falcon Films and they agreed to pay me $5,500 for a movie – which was $3,000 more than usual.
So all in all, I had another good run in L.A., but eventually I returned to New York.
What did you do back in New York?
That’s when I got into the fetish films. Sam Schad approached me about working with transsexuals, or chicks with dicks, or whatever the nomenclature was. He said it wouldn’t be sex – it would be spanking and stuff like that. The movies were filmed out in Brooklyn – the crew were all these guys I knew from Vince Benedetti and Adventure Studios where I’d shot many scenes over the years. Sharon Kane was making those fetish films too.
The guys from Adventure Studios told me to call Vince about fetish work, so I did. Vince asked me if I thought I could be dominant in a film and I said yes, even though I didn’t really know what the hell he was talking about. And that’s what lead to the ‘Toe Tales’ series. I showed up for the first ‘Toe Tales’ shoot and there were these two beautiful naked girls there. I’d been abstaining, so I was really excited and I just dove right in and started having sex with them. I was having a ball, but Vince started yelling at me from behind the monitor, “The feet Randy, get to the feet!”
I also worked a lot for Ron Jeremy too. Whenever he directed, there was no script and they were always just cheap productions. He’d feed us the lines right before he called, “Action.” But I was good at improvising so it was fine. And I could tell him I wanted to work with a certain girl, and he’d make it happen.
What were your impressions of Vince Benedetti?
Oh, he was the funniest guy. He had this sly sense of humor. I saw him at an awards dinner and he asked me if I could dance in a film. I told him yeah and I started describing my skills. He finally said, “OK. That won’t work. I don’t want it to look professional.” I thought that was hysterical. I loved that guy.
During that time, I also was contacted by Joe Sarno to work on a movie for Video-X Pix. I was surprised to hear from Joe because we’d worked together once before and it didn’t go well. That time the female lead had been Alexis Firestone and I didn’t find her appealing in the slightest, so things didn’t go well.
But Joe said that this time Rachel Ashley had asked for me specifically. It was a Honeymooners parody and she said I’d be good for the role of Norton. Then Sam told me that Rachel told she was nervous about the idea of working with me. I couldn’t believe it: I thought, “How is that possible – everyone wants her!?”
Were there other performers you enjoyed working with or remember well?
I remember Amber Lynn. When I did gay films, there was often straight porn on set to get the straight guys hard. And more often than not, it was a film or magazine with Amber. She fueled many a gay film! And when I worked with her, she was even more than what I hoped for. She was just very, very sexy.
I remember Siobhan Hunter because she always had these medical textbooks with her on set. Between takes she’d actually study. She also had a bit of a heroin problem so she would nod out frequently. Many years later a girlfriend of mine was going to medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico. And she called me to say, “Hey, I have a friend here that knows you.” And it was Siobhan Hunter! Siobhan said that she got talking to my friend, and when she heard about this cool guy that was in adult films in New York, she wondered if it was me.
I loved Candida Royalle. I had worked with her on a Femme production and we got along great. At first she didn’t want to hire me because she thought I’d be too young for the part. But then she got me to read, and she hired me. And she was always out at Fire Island and I was working in Fire Island so we became friends. I always loved her… man I just loved her. I was so sad when she died.
And Randy West comes to mind. I worked with him a few times and he always struck me as sad. It seemed like he wished he’d done more with his life. He was a minor league baseball player and a great golfer but maybe didn’t take it as far as he hoped. And he always seemed like he was looking for real love but couldn’t find it. It’s tough to find love in this business.
And I’m friendly to this day with Veronica Vera. I remember going to an awards show with her in 1986 in New York. We walked in and there was Samantha Fox surrounded by photographers, looking gorgeous. I didn’t know Samantha but she saw me and pulled me in to take photos with her. She was writing a column for one of the adult magazines at the time, and asked me if she could write that we were having an affair together. Of course I said yes. She was gorgeous.
Outside of the films what else where you doing in the 1990s and early 2000s?
Well in the late 1980s I went down to Key West for a while to get away from everything. I waited tables and then started to cook in the restaurant’s kitchen. And in the 1990s I was cooking in New York at some pretty fancy places – a 5-star French restaurant in a French hotel, Sarabeth’s Kitchen.
When did you start thinking about transitioning out of adult film?
It wasn’t so much that I thought about transitioning out as the fetish people who I was doing most of my shooting with stopped working in New York. By 2005, no one was calling me anymore. If they’d kept calling. I would’ve kept working. I might even do it now if I got a call.
So what did you do instead?
I kept doing restaurant and catering work. And eventually I kind of retired. I still do small jobs here and there but that’s about it.
Right now, I’m back home in Bayshore living in a house for veterans while I wait for permanent housing. I’d really like to finish writing two books that I started and some other short stories. I write every day.
And I don’t discount the fact that I might do some acting. I practice different monologues all the time. Last year I had a traumatic brain injury. I got hit a few times in a row by cars when I was on my bike and I couldn’t speak for a while. I went into a rehabilitation center and eventually I got my speech back. I’ll never take the ability to speak for granted ever again. Plus, I’m a pretty good singer.
Randy with his nephew/godson
What makes you happy nowadays?
The young man I call my son – he’s the greatest thing I ever did in my life. You know, there’s people that have complimented me, saying most guys wouldn’t have stayed in touch once they broke up with his mother. But I love this kid. I’ve been in his life 38 years and there’s no way I’m letting him go.
I wouldn’t mind having someone in my life. And that someone is never going to be a male, I just don’t feel that way towards other males. I like girls. I just love them. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the gay sex I’ve had, but I just feel I could never be a soulmate with somebody that wasn’t a female.
I’m almost 60 now, albeit a good-looking 60, and I don’t know how many more years I have. I hope I have a lot of years left, but I’d like there to be someone special soon.