Deep Throat @ 50: Searching for the Real Harry Reems – Podcast 117

Deep Throat @ 50: Searching for the Real Harry Reems – Podcast 117

For a time in the 1970s, Harry Reems was the biggest and most recognizable male sex star on the planet. He was a porn Burt Reynolds, famous for his mustache, his sense of fun, and his sexual prowess. One critic described him as being all the Marx brothers rolled into one, a big mess of zany humor, tinged with a hint of melancholy.

Harry’s public life had a three-act structure:

He was famous because of Deep Throat (1972) – the groundbreaking adult film which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Then he was infamous because of the federal trial that followed in which he and various New York mobsters were accused of interstate distribution of pornography.

And finally he was forgotten when he ended up a helpless alcoholic in the 1980s, sleeping in a dumpster, unable to take care of himself.

But what happened when the three acts were over? The public narrative was simple. Harry managed to get off alcohol and clean himself up. Harry became a successful realtor in Utah. And Harry got religion and became a born-again Christian.

As for his porn past, well, that was ancient history. He refused to talk about it, everyone told me. It was contrary to his new-found Jesus beliefs, and he regretted every minute of it. So he never gave interviews. The one exception was when Hollywood came calling, and he spoke briefly about his most famous film for the documentary, ‘Inside Deep Throat

So what happened to this household name of adult film history whose rise and fall felt so emblematic of the golden age of adult film itself?

The Rialto Report‘s Ashley West became friends with Harry, and spoke with him on many occasions.

The is the search for the real Harry Reems.

This podcast is 61 minutes long.


Harry Reems

Harry Reems


Linda Lovelace


Deep ThroatHarry with Ben Gazzara


Harry ReemsHarry, with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty


Harry Reems


Harry Reems


  • Posted On: 17th April 2022
  • By: Ashley West
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. Jeff · April 17, 2022 Reply

    Rialto Report peeps. Everyone has said it – but it is my turn now: WOW!!!!!!!!!!
    Each week you deliver something new and incredible.

    I mean Harry Reems – 10 years after his passing – this is unbeleivable. What more have you got in your warehouse!!??

    Please don’t stop. This is toooo good..

  2. James Mindham · April 17, 2022 Reply

    Amazing to have this in 2022. Harry was the original and most entertaining of all the adult film actors. This is an important conversation. Take notes historians, The Rialto’s got it right here..

  3. Rog K. Johnson · April 17, 2022 Reply

    This is a breath of fresh air. Film history has rarely been as through or as fun.

    Are you guys sitting on a Linda Lovelace interview???? Wouldn’t;t surprise me.

    Btw, Harry description of one of his fellow cohorts in XXX is priceless. “An ego that went on forever”. Amen to that 😉

  4. Steven Otero · April 17, 2022 Reply

    It just doesn’t get any better ! Long live the Rialto Report.

  5. Jeff Robertson · April 17, 2022 Reply

    Harry Was Cool Cat Awesome Article And Podcast Keep Up Good work Ashley

  6. Philip Cramer · April 18, 2022 Reply

    Hello folks, I really enjoyed the interview. What stood out to me is when Harry was remembering and talking about Tina and Jason Russell. It always go’s back to Tina. Her life’s story has really stuck with me. I don’t want to say I feel empathy but I really do. I’ll be honest with you. I think Jason was a effing pimp and that broke her heart This is what bothers me. I hope I’m wrong. Anyway thank you folks once again for more great stories. sincerely Philip

  7. Chris Flash · April 18, 2022 Reply

    Another home run by Rialto Report!

    Despite the professed disdain for his life in porn since he found religion, it seems to me that Harry/Herb, at the time of this interview anyway, still had fond memories. I’m glad to hear them. So much vital energy and so full of humor. Such a shame to lose him at such a young age.

    Thank you soooo much for doing what you do, Ashley!

    – Chris Flash

  8. Art Williams · April 18, 2022 Reply

    Simply, thank you.

  9. Keith L. · April 18, 2022 Reply

    The curation and care that goes into this collection is truly majestic.

    It is one of the biggest treasures relating to film history that exists and the fact that you have democratized it for the access of all is remarkable.

    A big thank you, and may your hard work never end!

  10. Chris Koenig · April 18, 2022 Reply

    Ashley West, this is without question one of the best interviews you have done, and it’s right up there with the one you did with Tom Byron. Harry Reems was, in my humble opinion, not only good in hardcore but he really should’ve had that mainstream career as he had both the looks and the acting talent. He certainly got a raw deal over the whole Memphis trial, and I wished he would’ve committed “his” story to print before he passed away. And I love how you posed the question to Harry if he had to do to theatre, the loops and the movies all over again: Harry’s answer was satisfying and very honest, I felt.

    I will say this, I think it was a missed opportunity at the time to ask Harry about being in Andy Milligan’s “Fleshpot on 42nd Street”, which also featured Janet Lynn Channin (under the screen name of ‘Diana Lewis’). Harry is just so GOOD in that one; considering Andy had disdain for “straight” characters in his stories, Harry’s role as a likeable fella with a heart of gold attempting to rescue a woman from the life of prostitution was a slight breath of fresh air in the wacky misanthropic world of Milligan (but that ending man…it’s a DOWNER!). Andy claimed he and Harry were at odds with each other on the production of that one, as well as claiming that Harry said the end product was the best thing he ever did on film (no disagreements there, Andy!).

    And I wonder if Harry ever remembered taking a jaunt to Japan to act in “Harry and His Geisha Girls” (1978) for Toei Company (man, someone should release that one on video in the US; those who have seen it says it’s quite the funny sex comedy and seeing Harry dubbed in Japanese is quite amusing)?

    Keep up the good work, Ashley!

  11. JL Hayseed · April 24, 2022 Reply

    Harry’s laugh is so endearing. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  12. JACKSON AXE · April 24, 2022 Reply

    Thanks! Very entertaining listen.

    …I’d LOVE to know what Jamie Gillis did to get himself thrown out of the Playboy mansion. lol

  13. George Maranville · April 24, 2022 Reply

    Elated, stunned, sad, happy/sad, jesus guys. This is amazing. I have no thoughts or memories of his work, I just hear his laugh and see his smile. I’m so happy he didn’t die in an alley dumpster. But still melancholy. I can’t shake it. But I’m so satisfied every time I listen to your work. Keep digging or showing us the gold you’ve found on your digs.

  14. In Sin · April 24, 2022 Reply

    Thanks for a great interview. Harry had a great sense of humor. It’s difficult to keep a straight face during his dialogue as the dirty doctor in Ginger’s Sex Asylum.

    One question: For the album Mother’s Milk byThe Red Hit Chili Peppers, the first person John Frusciante thanked was Harry “Calamari Butthole” Reems. Do you know what this is referring to?

  15. Todd · April 27, 2022 Reply

    Deep Throat porn star Harry Reems, 1976: CBC Archives

  16. Mort · June 12, 2022 Reply


  17. Steve · June 21, 2022 Reply

    Flashback – I remember there was a movie theatre in Times Square & the only movie it played was ‘Deep Troat’ The Golden Era

  18. David · September 4, 2022 Reply

    Fascinating stuff here. But why did Harry wear that mustache? He looked so much better without it!

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