Alex Mann was the renaissance man of the adult business. Or the Marlon Brando, if you listened to him.
He started out in teen films in the 1960s, moved onto starring roles in the sexploitation movies of Joe Sarno and Barry Mahon. He then appeared in the first grainy 8mm sex loops that played in peep shows in Times Square, graduated into the earliest explicit sex films, before retiring from the business in the early 1970s. Then returning to feature in XXX cult favorites such as Winter Heat (1976), Doris Wishman’s Satan Was a Lady (1975), Joe Sarno’s Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town (1975), Sometime Sweet Susan (1975), and The Defiance of Good (1975). Then he moved to Hollywood and made a series of cult T&A classics, including Malibu High (1979) and Microwave Massacre (1979), before voicing video games and appearing in TV shows such as Weird Science (1994) and Strong Medicine (2000) with Whoopi Goldberg.
He was a self-confessed street hoodlum from an early age, dealing drugs, running brothels, organising (and appearing in) live sex shows – and when I met him, he was still an underworld enforcer, for gangland club owner Eddie Nash, the shadowy figure behind the Wonderland murders. On the day I spent with him, he was boxing at Manny Pacquiao’s gym in Los Angeles.
Alex lived his life as living performance art, a tough guy telling tall tales, full of ago, piss, and vinegar. I sent him a box of his own film appearances on DVD to remind him of his onscreen presence – and he admitted he hadn’t seen most of the films before. Nevertheless, his memory was remarkable – and so what if he embellished history when it suited him? He was often crude, sometimes disrespectful, always funny, and mostly great company.
Tell me about your upbringing.
I’m from Brooklyn. Basically, Brownsville and Coney Island. The rough areas. Went to Abraham Lincoln High School at 2800 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn. Finest school in the world. Home of Nobel Prize winners, and Harvey Keitel, Neil Sedaka, Leona Helmsley, Lou Gossett Jr., Arthur Miller, Neil Diamond, and Joseph Heller.
And Alex Mann. That’s quite a group of us.
I was friends with Keitel. He was in the class ahead of me but we chased tail together. Both of us, born actors.
What did your parents do?
My old man was a hustler, gambler. He played pool for money. Nickname was ‘Cue Stick.’
My mom worked at Loew’s Pitkin Theater. Just down the road from our apartment in Brownsville. One of the biggest cinemas in the city. She worked the candy counter.
What was your childhood like?
Going as far back as kindergarten, I was always interested in the film industry. I wrote high school plays, and acted at every opportunity. In first grade I won a competition for writing and reciting a poem. I was always interested in artistic, creative endeavors. I still am.
What films made an impression on you?
All of Brando’s films. He was a genius. A big influence on me. ‘Streetcar Named Desire’, ‘On the Waterfront’, ‘The Wild One’. He had a muscular physicality like me.
I like to think I was the Brando of so-called exploitation film.
What were your first acting experiences outside of school?
I was about fifteen, maybe younger, and I did two films in the West Village for a cat named Hal Vincent. Low budget, experimental things. One was called ‘Snidgey’ and the other was ‘Just A Chameleon.’
What were you like as a teenager?
A bad kid, some would say. The New York, the Brooklyn, the Coney Island that I knew was a jungle. There were no rules. You had a lot of freedom, and you did whatever you liked. I chose trouble. I got involved with every two-bit crook in town.
What kind of trouble?
I was never out of trouble. Being arrested was a weekly event.
What were you doing?
At first it was small stuff. Breaking and entering. Stealing cars. Some fights. Then I worked for local gangsters. Numbers rackets. Running drugs.
I began using drugs in high school. So a lot of my memories of that time are kind of hazy. Drug hazy.
What drugs were you taking?
I’ll start by listing the drugs I didn’t take: none. I took everything.
I’ve had a lot of problems because of drug use. My liver, I lost teeth, I overdosed a few times. I had legal problems, and seen friends killed.
But there was a plus side to it. I know what you’re thinking: “How can there be a plus side to using drugs like heroin and shit, and nearly getting killed?”
Well, I knew the best gear was in the Village so I hung out there all the time. I became friends with people like Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Thelonious Monk, Jerry Garcia. I would’ve never met these guys if it hadn’t been for drugs. That’s how we communicated. So I compromised my health, but I expanded my intellectual capacity.
Alex in Smoke and Flesh (1968)
Where did you live when you left home?
I moved to the East Village. A shit hole, rat-infested apartment. But it was the centre of the universe. I was part of the local beat scene. I listened to poetry, saw experimental plays, and acted in student films.
It gave my life value for the first time, and kept me from becoming a full-time criminal. Or at least a full-time petty criminal.
I considered myself an existentialist in the true Sartre sense of the word. I lived to give value to the present moment. I considered myself a cinematic outlaw. The outlaw represents everything philosophically, as Sartre said, about existentialism. And that’s how I look upon myself.
And yet you got married at an early age?
Well, you know, keep it in the family.
Pam Mann was my first wife. Pamela Isaacowitz or something like that. She wanted to be a singer, but was a dancer, stripper. Sometimes an actress too. All around firecracker. I’ve been involved with many working girls, but she was wild.
Pam was a hardcore woman. By that, I mean she threw punches and she fought with a lot of people. That made it tough for me because I’m very loving, as you can tell. I’m a wonderful, likable guy. So that created some problems for us.
Pamela Mann in ‘Keyholes Are For Peeping’ (1972)
And together you ran a brothel in the late 1960s?
We had an apartment in the Camelot on 45th St. We took a few other apartments in the same building, hired girls, and advertised to business men who came into the city each day. Simple business. They were horny, the girls liked cash. And we took 50%.
We were even profiled in a national magazine. Pamela was afraid of the publicity because she was from a good Jewish family in Brooklyn. No one knew about her new life with me. I told her if she wanted to be a singer, any publicity was good.
Where did the girls come from who worked in the brothel?
They were dancers. Starving actresses. Girls arriving at the bus station from the mid-west. All crazy. They turned over quickly, but we had so many wanting to do it that it wasn’t a problem.
Were you ever busted?
Oh yeah. It only took one bitchy girl, who took exception to something we did or said, and she’d run her mouth off complaining to the nearest cop. We’d have to call our attorney, go to jail overnight. And then start up again the next day. New day, same old pimping shit.
How did you get involved in live sex shows?
I don’t remember exactly how that happened. Somehow we got involved with guys who were producing porn. Magazine and films. And they got into massage parlors. They bought a building on 50th between 5th and 6th by the Rockefeller Center. It was just a restaurant with a lot of empty offices upstairs.
We turned the restaurant into a topless joint. And then we had different things on different floors. Live shows, massage parlor booths, escort service. You know the deal.
Just a big fucking whorehouse is what it was.
What was the format of the sex shows?
Whatever would go on in your bedroom, except with people watching.
We got arrested once because the show wasn’t supposed to be hardcore. And we had this couple from El Salvador, a new couple. I remember Pam and myself telling them that the sex was not supposed to be real. That it was supposed to be simulated. I kept telling them, “Simulated! Capish?”
And then this Latino Adam and Eve go out onstage, and he threw open his wife’s legs and he started boffin’ her. I look around and see a bunch of rabbis in the audience. About thirteen rabbis. When this guy started boffin’ her, suddenly the rabbis take their yamulkes off… and their fake beards came off… and their scarves came off… and they were all vice cops. So I got arrested for procuring.
I remember Pam saying to the Latin afterwards, “Didn’t we tell you this was simulated; not real?”
And he says, “Ohhh, I thought you said, ‘Make it stimulating.”
So he did. He stimulated us right down to the precinct at 100 Center St. for a few days. Motherfucker.
Did you perform in the sex shows?
Sure. Me and Pam did a little show for a while.
A few years later, Radley Metzger based a film on Pam’s sex life: The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1974). She wasn’t in it, but he used her name. Motherfucker.
Alex and Pam, in ‘Keyholes Are For Peeping’ (1972)
And during this time, you were also acting in softcore films?
So many of them, I couldn’t keep track. I was always acting in them.
Do you remember the first theatrical film you appeared in?
Might have been Teenage Mother (1967).
I played a high school kid – even though I was 25 at the time and had tatts down my arms. The thing was shot at East Rockaway High School.
It was a fucking Jerry Gross abortion.
Alex’s first screen appearance (far right) in ‘Teenage Mother’ (1967)
In what way?
It was a teen drama. Tame. No nudity, no violence. No interest. And then in the last 5 minutes, Jerry sticks in a fucking graphic insert of a woman giving birth. Forceps. Blood. Everything.
I took Pam to the theater to see the movie. I had no idea that Jerry had done that. People were screaming. One guy threw up in the trash can on the way out.
How well did you get to know Jerry Gross?
Pretty well. Basically an old-school carnie. A con man who always promised more than he delivered. But a good con-man, know what I mean? He sold the sizzle, not the steak.
I did a few films with him. ‘Teenage Mother’ (1967). Female Animal (1970). I Drink Your Blood (1970). Maybe some others too.
He was cheap. He used his old lady, Arlene, in all the films so he had one less actor to pay. Motherfucker.
How did you find the acting work?
It seemed like all the actors in New York sex films in the 60s lived in the Camelot. You had Tallie Cochrane and her old man, Patrick Wright. There was Linda Boyce. A nudie photographer named Shelley Carpel. A native American girl named Heidi who did porn. So we knew everybody who was doing those kinds of sexploitation and low-budget films. People would just call us or we’d call them.
Linda was the center of that world. Beautiful girl. She was the star of many movies. And was the first agent for porno actors too.
Linda Boyce and myself were very similar. I see a lot of things I see in Linda that I see in myself. The physical beauty and the talent. I think we have the same birthday. I’d sure like to see her again.
Linda was the one who first connected me to the filmmakers. And they liked me because I knew how to act.
Did you have to audition for the films?
Not really. Once you made a few films, producers knew what you could do. So they hired based on your attributes. I was hired because of my body. I worked out a lot. I was in shape. They liked that. I looked good.
For the first few years, the films you acted in were still softcore.
Softcore but had sex in them. Real sex. Guys like Joe Sarno would get us to have sex, even though they didn’t film the penetration. Figured it was more natural to do that, I guess. Fine by me. It’s easier to schtup a girl than to pretend to bang her.
Did you have any reservations about making sex films at the beginning?
Nah. I never delineated genres. Big budget, low budget, sexploitation, nudie cutie, hardcore… If I’m in front of the camera, working, and doing what I like to do, I make a commitment to my audience regardless of whether it’s a sex film or not.
When I started doing sex films, they were pretty mild. There was a long time when you couldn’t show anything but bras and panties. I went through the whole evolution of it. Then you could show tits, but you couldn’t show nipples. Then you couldn’t show pubic hair, and then you could show pubic hair. And then you couldn’t show male nudity and then you could show cock. It just went on and on and on. One thing is damn sure: they weren’t sexy. And I was the guy on screen having sex, so I should know. Go figure.
But what attracted me to these films was that they had stories. And I was able to do characterizations. Like I would for any film. For example, I worked hard, I gained weight, I lost weight, I did all kinds of things for these characters.
What do you remember about Joe Sarno?
Joe is a cool guy. I did about half a dozen movies with Joe. All leads and co-starring.
I can’t remember how I got introduced to him. It was either Janet or Geri. Janet Banzet was a serious actress who got caught up in sex films to survive. Sweet girl. Killed herself after only a couple of years. Geri Miller was a crazy stripper who I did drugs with. She knew everyone. Film people. The Beatles. Warhol. She fucked everything that moved.
Alex in ‘Passion in Hot Hollows’ (1969)
What did you like about Joe?
He was into stories and characterization. Way ahead of his time. He probably could’ve worked in any genre and been successful. Joe is truly a film genius. And a great guy. Joe was different from anybody I worked for… anybody. Maybe Armand Weston came close, in terms of being interested in story and not just showing body parts. But Joe was unique.
Which films of his do you remember?
It became a blur because the chemicals I was ingesting in those days. And also, because there were so many of them. So it helped when you sent me the DVDs.
At the beginning, I was an extra in orgy scenes in a few films for Joe. Then he trusted me so I graduated to lead parts. I like Passion in Hot Hollows (1969) a lot. My character was a heavy drinker, so I grew a rough beard and mustache as I knew that would look better. He liked that. Linda and her friend Ute Erickson were in that one. Beautiful girls. Ute was a stripper at the Metropol. She was a cute blonde with a big ass, so I went there to watch her. When Pam found out, she knocked out Ute with a straight right hand.
Alex and Ute Erickson in ‘Marcy’ (1969)
Marcy (1969) was great too. That was one of Joe’s first color films. We went and shot it in the country someplace. Linda and Ute were in that too. And Sheila Britt. A knockout chick.
Joe was strict and didn’t want people messing around with each other on location. He’d say, “Keep the sexual energy for the camera.” And he was right. You can feel the tension between us on these films. I walked around with blue balls thanks to Joe.
Were you friendly with any of the other actors?
Larry Hunter. I ran around with him for a while. Interesting guy. He worked both sides of the tracks like me. He had a few women that worked for him. Nothing big. We did what we wanted. And we needed to survive.
Do you remember Michael Findlay?
Weird fucker. I don’t know what shit he was working out, but he was doing it through the films he made. Jesus, he was strange.
I made a few movies with him, and I never knew what he was doing. If he had a vision, he never told me about it.
He had a freaky, tiny wife too. Roberta. She got me to do a rape scene with Darby Lloyd Rains in one film (Rosebud (1972)). The wild thing was that Darbs was a dominatrix in real life, and she did not like being pushed around. Roberta just stood behind the camera and hissed instructions: “Hit her.” “Flip her over.” “Fuck her while you strangle her.” I had bruises for weeks. But it was a hot scene.
Were you still keen on breaking into the mainstream film business as an actor before hardcore films came along?
I was in many, many mainstream films. Always uncredited. Sure, I wanted bigger parts, but I was making too much money from hookers, strippers, and drugs to care, you know?
One guy I got to know was the painter Harry Hurwitz. He made a documentary with Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson, and he had some interesting films. One was a satire of Richard Nixon’s life (‘Richard’ (1972)), another starred Rodney Dangerfield (‘The Projectionist’ (1970)), and then there was ‘The Comeback Trail’ with Flash Gordon (Buster Crabbe).
Harry really wanted to do porno. I obviously had some experience so we hung out. He went to the west coast later in the 70s and made some XXX films. Harry Tampa was his nom de porn. Interesting guy.
Were you going on mainstream auditions?
Sure. I blew a few chances as well. I knew Brian De Palma. He was shooting in our apartment once. It was his first film, Greetings (1968). You can see our Camelot apartment in that film where we operated our sex business. Bobby De Niro and Roz Kelly were in it. I had a big fight with Pam in front of Brian. That kind of turned him off to me. Shame. I woulda been great in his movies. Ironically Roz and I got involved on a personal level years later.
There was another situation where I was called in for a film. A guy I went to high school with wrote this script, and I got into a big fight with Pam in his office. She smacked me and I think I smacked her back. The guy was appalled and he never spoke to me again, so he must have like a bad feeling about it.
Lost opportunities. Life sucks, you know?
‘Greetings’ (1968) – Alex and Pam’s apartment
Didn’t you and Pam have an agency for actors in sex films?
That was after LindaBoyce got out of the business. She met a rich guy and ran off with him, so she gave her business to Tallie and Patrick. I wanted a piece of the action, so Pam and I set up our own talent company. Called it ‘Mann’s People.’
We were all in competition. Pam was a very aggressive business woman. There was conflict between Pam and Tallie and Patrick for some reason. They didn’t like Pam. And that affected our friendship.
We made some good bucks with the agency. Nothing to write home about.
Do you remember any actors that you represented?
Freddie Lincoln used to work for my answering service. Seven Arts. He approached me one day, and we him got involved in films. Same for Harry Reems. I know that Pam booked his first job.
Then there was Jason and Tina Russell. I thought she was kinda hot. I don’t remember him too much.
Around the turn of the 1970s, explicit sex films started to be made – first in 8mm loops. You made a few…
A few? I made hundreds. Many of them were for Sam Menning. Sam did a lot of B&D and S&M little booklets. I probably did like a hundred of them as well. I liked Sam a lot.
He didn’t have good breath, and his place was really shabby – but there was always a lot of hot pussy in his apartment.
We reconnected in Hollywood decades later. He was a character actor on TV shows like ‘My Name is Earl.’ Good guy.
Were you ok with the fact that these films were suddenly fully explicit?
What can I say? I’ve always been a very open guy. I have no compunction about watching people, or having people watch me perform, so to speak. Either in bed or on camera.
I mean, I just need an audience. Have to have one. Figure that one out, Freud.
Did you ever have performance issues on set?
I had problems sometimes because some women were kind of skanky, you know? And I’m an actor, not a magician. A lot of those producers and directors had unrealistic expectations… I remember a guy saying, “Okay, Alex, when I raise my hand, get a hard-on.”
If it was that simple, imagine how great life would be. I mean someone’s either a turn-on or they’re not. I remember working with one girl who had that operation where you cut your intestines out or some shit. What’s that called… is it a colosecto-…? I don’t know. But she had a bag – and it looked like an enema bag. Now how am I gonna boff someone like that? You know what I’m saying? So that didn’t do nothing for me. You know I was a limp dick the whole time. That’s a big turn off, man. I’m sure that somewhere in this world, there’s people who… but not me. Not this guy.
Pam made fewer films than you: did the sexual nature of the movies create a problem with Pam?
Pam and I did lot of loops together. But in terms of her working with other guys… no, she never did that. She would never do that. She wouldn’t work with anyone hardcore but me. Which created problems for us, because I would do hardcore all the time.
How did she felt about me working with other women? Not real good. There was always jealousy. That’s just the way it was. But how they deal with me is how they deal. What can I do?
We were always fighting. We were known as the ‘Battling Manns’. We fought all over the country.
Alex and Pam, The Battling Manns
You appeared in some of the first hardcore feature films. You worked with Gerard Damiano before Deep Throat (1972), for example.
I did an instructional sex film for Gerry which was the first of its kind. A documentary called Changes (1970). I was with a girl who was a Playboy bunny, I think. I don’t remember her name, but I remember her physicality like it was yesterday. Hot.
Alex with Kim Pope (left) and Suzzan Landau (right) in ‘Changes’ (1970)
What do remember about Damiano as a director?
He was one of the few guys who actually believed that fuck movies would have a future. Not just a means to an end. But an end in itself.
Looking back, he was wrong. Sex films never became an artistic success. But you have to admire his sense of conviction, you know?
Which is more than you say for Doris Wishman.
What do you remember about her?
More people ask me about Doris than anything else. Which is kinda ironic.
She made dumb films.
You and Pam were in her film, Keyholes Are for Peeping (1972).
Yeah, we both had big parts in it. It wasn’t a sex film. It was supposedly a comedy. No one laughed.
Alex and Pam, in ‘Keyholes Are For Peeping’ (1972)
What do you remember specifically about Doris?
It was strange to have a woman director. Apart from Roberta, she was the only one.
Doris was experienced. She’d been making films for years so she had her way of doing things. She just had an unusual idea of what was funny, or what was dramatic. Or what was sexy. So you end up with this eccentric vision from an eccentric old lady.
If that floats your boat… vaya con dios, I guess. Just don’t tell me she was a misunderstood genius.
What other actors do you remember from the early hardcore era?
The best was Jamie Gillis. He was a great actor and a sexual powerhouse. I never immersed myself in business the way Jamie did. Same with Harry Reems. These guys were method.
We were all friends and partied together, but you know, there’s always kind of a professional jealously that comes out with anything that involves cameras and money. So, I tried to pick my projects and stay out of their way.
You were friends with another early adult film actor, Arlana Blue.
Yes, I did. Her name wasn’t Arlana Blue then. I think she was Greek or Armenian or something.
I don’t remember how I met her, but I know that I paid for her hotel by Port Authority Bus Terminal for a month. She was a dancer who’d come in from New Jersey or someplace, so I gave her the money. Motherfucker.
I got her involved in the adult film industry.
Didn’t the two of you date briefly?
Date? Fucked, more like. I thought she was really hot. In fact, Arlana was the only person that I fraternized with outside of my marriage… ever. Apart from porno, obviously.
She’s still lifetime friends with my first wife, Pam.
Alex and Arlana in Take My Head (1970)
You seemed to back away from hardcore for a few years after the first wave?
After 1971, it got too much. There were hardcore shoots every day of the week. All over town. I didn’t want to be that guy. And as it segued more into hardcore, there were less stories and more sex. And I just lost interest in it.
At that point, if I needed money, which I often did, I’d do an orgy scene with a wig so no one would recognize me. I’d pick up 50 bucks, and I was on to the next thing. Or I’d drive a cab at night so I could pay the rent. So I did some theater, made a horror film or two – like I Drink Your Blood (1971), got arrested, and did this and that. Some more pimping for sure.
I know you were friends with Charles Carmello.
He was Gerry Damiano’s partner. Charlie did a film called ‘The Castle of the Hunchback’, which I starred in. Don’t know what happened to that one.
Charlie was mob-connected just like Gerry was mob-connected. That is, they had plausible deniability that they weren’t connected. But let’s just say, if they ever got into trouble and needed anything, then a quick phone call or two would be made… and they’d be taken care of by the Italians. You know?
I met a guy named Pete Savage through Charlie. Peter wanted help making porn films but he had big time aspirations too. I helped Pete make his pornos and we became friends.
Pete gave me a hardcover book that was about 85 pages called ‘Raging Bull’, which I read really quick. It was about Jake La Motta.
I already knew Jake personally because he worked as a bouncer at the Metropol.
I don’t know how Charlie was involved with Pete Savage and the guys at Paramount, but next thing I know ‘Raging Bull’ is in pre-production with Marty Scorsese in charge. Charlie invited me over to meet them.
You appear in photo layouts a few amount in the early 1970s.
Easy work. You take your clothes off. Get a faraway look in your eye. And walk away with your pocket full of cash.
Then in 1975, you returned to make a few more X-rated films, like ‘Winter Heat’, Doris Wishman’s ‘Satan Was a Lady’, Joe Sarno’s ‘Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town’, ‘Sometime Sweet Susan’, and ‘The Defiance of Good’.
They were different. These films had more of a budget, more plot, more talent. Some of them were pretty good. Abigail Lesley, Defiance… they hold up. Armand Weston knew what he was doing. He should be more famous now.
Your return was short-lived, and you stopped making sex films. Was it a conscious decision to leave the hardcore business?
Yeah. Absolutely. The reason I stopped doing the hard stuff was because there were no real stories anymore. I think Damiano was doing his best, and Misty Beethoven looked real good, but they were exceptions. I just lost interest in it. It wasn’t challenging anymore to just go someplace and schtupp some broad and get paid for it. I need more than that for this. [Gestures to his head]
If I wanna get laid, I’ll get laid. But I didn’t want to do it for a career anymore. No.
Plus I could see that people I worked with – Joe, Charlie Carmello, Doris Wishman, Sande Johnson – wanted to do something else. They were making these small attempts – a cheap horror movie, a silly comedy – to try and move away from sex. The porn business had served a purpose, but it was time to move on. I need to be challenged, psychologically or emotionally. It’s not that I have anything against sex, God knows.
I had many opportunities to segue into mainstream film. I wanted to start again.
Do you remember your last XXX film?
I think that was Invasion of the Love Drones (1977) with Sarah Nicholson. I liked her.
Is that when you moved out to California?
Pam and I split. I moved to Los Angeles to find acting gigs. That would be the late 1970s.
I moved in with Tallie Cochrane and Patrick Wright in Pasadena. We were still friends. We lived together with Charlie Dierkop from ‘Police Woman.’ That was a fucked-up household. We had a great time. Drugs, partying. A big fucking orgy.
I met my second wife through them.
Who was that?
Clara Mann. At one point, she was considered one of the world’s ten most beautiful women. She was in Penthouse, and did a layout for, I think, Oui magazine. She was an incredible beauty.
When you went out to California, did your sex film career affect your ability to get mainstream work?
When I moved to the west coast, I used different names. Al Mannino, Matt Savage. I didn’t want anyone to know about the porno. I tried to create a new identity. I’d deny it to anyone who asked. I was more embarrassed about the porno than my criminal record, you know? At first, I’d say, “Oh that wasn’t me, I didn’t do that. It’s a guy that looks like me, or it’s someone with a similar name.”
Did you miss out on any parts because of it?
I was considered at one point to play Willard in ‘Apocalypse Now’. The first choice for that was Keitel. They went with Martin Sheen.
I heard I didn’t get that one because they found out about my background in XXX.
But since then, I’ve done stuff for Lifetime TV and twelve commercials – the last one was for Toyota – so who knows if that’s still true?
Then the internet came along, and my past was impossible to deny – so I embraced it a few years back.
Tell about the film work you got in California.
I did three films for Crown in the early 80s – ‘Malibu High’, ‘Microwave Massacre’, and ‘The Great Skycopter Rescue’.
I still make convention appearances for those films. People like my work in them.
The films did good. They had scripts and talented crews. So I felt I was finally making progress.
And occasionally I still did some work – usually magazines, but a film or two as well.
What did you think when you saw yourself on all the DVDs I sent you?
Very rarely do I like the way I look on film. I’m never really happy with a lot of stuff. You know, I’m very critical on myself. But I liked what I did in some of those films.
Did your sex film past create any relationship issues for you years later?
To this day. Just recently, a girlfriend said to me “You don’t have feelings for women: you’ve done pornography.”
But former hookers do tend to become overly pious. And that’s what happened there, quite frankly.
So yes, there’ve been negative repercussions from sex films. Which kind of bums me out because I don’t want to get into no one’s past, and so it pisses me off when people start climbing into my past and want to know about me.
I remember I had problems on the set of ‘Malibu High’ – which is not a sex film. My girlfriend at the time got really upset at some of the scenes in there. It’s just something that happens all the time.
It’s my life, I guess. Motherfuckers.
Has film work been enough to keep you afloat since you came to Los Angeles?
Hell no. After 1981, it died.
In between acting jobs, actors work as waiters, waitresses, they sell vacuum cleaners, dictionaries… I did all that too. I even did voice-overs for video games. One was called The Darkness. Can you imagine that? I made sex films in the 1960s and now I’m doing video games. How many people have had that journey?
But I made good money working as a bouncer in clubs here and Florida. I started that back in the 1960s in New York – and I’m still doing it now.
Often times, I’ll wind up bodyguarding the manager. I work for a guy named Ed Nash, who owns a bunch of clubs here in L.A.
Eddie Nash – the guy involved in the Wonderland murders with John Holmes?
Did you know Eddie back when he was in the news over the Wonderland murders?
Sure. I met him when I first moved out here.
What do you for him?
I make collections, do surveillance work. I do what he tells me to do. I do what I need to do to make money in between acting jobs.
I imagine that sometimes involves bending the law?
Whatever it takes. I’m trusted.
It’s been known.
If someone isn’t honoring their promises.
You trying to get me into trouble? Cut the tape, and I’ll give you answers.
What are doing with yourself today?
I entertain people. I belong to the world. I give myself to the world.
I’m finishing a screenplay called ‘Scar Tissue’, which is about the boxing trainer, Freddy Roach, and his family. His brother, Pepper Roach, is my best friend and my partner on the project. We’ve developed quite a bit of interest in it.
I have a fitness video called, ‘Brooklyn Body Blast’, which is an entirely new concept in fitness videos.
A big part of my life today is boxing. All my close friends are pro-fighters. I go to Freddie’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, sometime to do mitts if I have time, or to spar if I have time, oftentimes just to hang out, and absorb the energy. Freddie’s a special person. He has Parkinson’s disease but he still works, he has like a whole bunch of world champions.
I’ve sparred with Manny Pacquiao and other great fighters. I can hold my own. People don’t mess with me.
Do you have any regrets?
No, not at all. The only regrets I have is when I didn’t take some major auditions seriously.
You’re in good shape.
I work out all the time. Sometimes I work out three times a day. Um, all my food is basically organic, I don’t eat a lot of sugar, especially sugar. I drink very rarely.
I’m egotistical about my looks, but it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself.
I’ve been smoking weed since I was fifteen. I still do. I’m not one of these people who smokes and stares at the ceiling or watches TV. It actually stimulates me… I do all my writing, a lot of creative stuff when I smoke. Occasionally someone comes by with something I can put in here [points to his nose] or here [points to his veins] and I will.
My current girlfriend is twenty-five. So clearly my mind will not lock into aging. As a matter of fact, when everyone is long turned to dust, I’m still gonna be here. I’m telling you right now, cut to a hundred years from now, I’m still gonna be here. I’m just like a permanent fixture on this planet. You can’t get rid of me. I’ve been stabbed three times, I’ve been thrown out of moving cars, I’ve had bottles broken up on my head, up the fucking yin yang.
And I’m still here, I ain’t going nowhere. I’m here to stay, folks.
Alex Mann, filmed for The Rialto Report interview
Alex Mann passed away on July 6, 2010 in California.
Highly entertaining interview with a larger than life character. They sure don’t make ’em like Alex before.
Highly politically incorrect – and all the more entertaining for that!
I love that the RR doesn’t just focus on the female sex stars………… this is a great example of someone with a werid and crazy life. Thanks for preserving another piece of history.
What happened to Charlie Dierkop’s nose?
Mr. Mann was certainly a character.
Thanks so much Martyn!
Alex is a one-off!
Love the stories about Ute and Linda Boyce
Great interview of a free wheeling personality in an outlaw industry.
That was a fantastic interview, fascinating and intriguing and just made my day. Great work as always!
We appreciate it Don!
Awesome Article Keep Up Good Work
Great interview, another that fills in the etchings of a golden era of grime and grind. The juxtaposition of Mann saying he’d live forever to the mention of his death was so perfect and poignant. I could almost hear Ashley West’s voice then, followed by, “For the Rialto Report…”
I appreciate what Mann said about only caring about being in porn when he could act and play out stories. There’s always this certain idea that adult film wanting to be more was silly and pretentious, but story-related adult entertainment, however rare it is these days, is still what I enjoy most.
Thanks so much JL3!
“And then this Latino Adam and Eve go out onstage, and he threw open his wife’s legs and he started boffin’ her. I look around and see a bunch of rabbis in the audience. About thirteen rabbis. When this guy started boffin’ her, suddenly the rabbis take their yamulkes off… and their fake beards came off… and their scarves came off… and they were all vice cops. So I got arrested for procuring.
I remember Pam saying to the Latin afterwards, “Didn’t we tell you this was simulated; not real?”
And he says, “Ohhh, I thought you said, ‘Make it stimulating.”
Damnit! Even Woody Allen couldn’t have invented that! Thanks for the laughs!!!!
(one idea just popped in my head : why not interview one Vice cop from the 70’s? They certainly have a lot of things to say…).
You know the most annoying thing about the rialto report? The incredibly irritating, persistent lack of any way to pay you people anything at all. No donation button, substack, or place to throw a scrap of a bitcoin. Most of the time you don’t even have T-shirts we can buy. It’s like you people like giving away this important and entertaining scholarship into this industry of exploitation, for free. It’s perverse.
Elucidations from another committed RR viewer: Thanks Larry, for poising your exquisite questions… Perhaps RR’s motivation is not perverse at all? Instead, just coming from a place of sublime curiosity, coupled with a passion for rich, oral history? From a fantasy point of reference (beyond T-shirts), how would you envision monetizing such a site?
Adverts. Patreon. GoFundMe. Donations button…
Lots of options, but I love that it is completely free. It must cost a fair amount to do.
Thank you all so much for valuing what we do – we so appreciate it!
He mentioned Larry Hunter! I’ve been wanting to find out more about him. Maybe an article someday? Also I would like to see something about Linda Boyce.
100% agree, and what this website all the more incredible is that it is not bland opinion articles, or film reviews, or thought pieces, or academic wankery, or fan fawnings, or someone trying to sell me drink coasters with pornstar faces……. but rather new content – i.e. interviews, unpublished documents of photographs, etc. – week after week!!
I would gladly pay a subscription (and have enquired about this to Ashley) but am always politely told that any commercial or advertising would detract from the independence of the venture.
I congratulate the team behind The Rialto Report.
We’re grateful for that Nick!
Ha – thanks Larry!
That’s true, come to think of it.
Never ever an cap-in-hand appeal for contributions, from one of the best free www sources I know for eye-popping original stories.
Dunno what yer man Ashley West does for a day gig but I hope it pays well because he really deserves remuneration for his work on this site, yet he is too noble to ask for any.
Great handle Mark Stevens!