AVN Hall of Fame performer Jon Dough passed away on Sunday, Monique Demoan, his wife of 12 years told AVN.com. Dough, whose real name was Chet Anuszek, was 43.
"I've been with Chet for 12 years. We have a four-year-old daughter," Demoan said. "We lived together. I found Chet [Sunday]. ... He did take his own life."
Demoan, who met Dough when she worked with him in Ed Powers' Dr. Butts 3, continued, "Chet was a very warm, loving person.
"We fell deeply in love. He treated me very well. He put me on a pedestal and gave me everything we need. I loved him being a big man, and being held in his arms. He made me feel very comfortable, very loved… He was everything to me. And I bear his only daughter.”
Dough was known as one of the most reliable studs in adult, enjoying the type of longevity that only a small number of top male performers have had during the past two decades. He began performing in 1985 and has appeared in several classic adult films, compiling well over 1,000 credits as an actor. He directed over 70 titles, most recently for VCA Excessive, Hustler, NJ Films and Anabolic. Dough also owned his own gonzo company, Jon Dough Productions, and had a line called Doughboy Video for oral-themed titles.
"I signed him to direct for VCA/Excessive in 2004, and was immediately struck by his professionalism and passion for directing," said Mark Hamilton, who is now co-owner of Pulse Distribution. "He was unfailingly polite and honest, but also a very serious person. I think as the DVD market flattened in the last year or so, it has been harder for even talented performer/directors like Jon to thrive as they may have done five years ago. Jon was a truly solid guy and I think many people will remember him for always being direct and truthful, no matter what the circumstance."
John Knowles, owner of NJ Films, the company that most recently distributed Dough's titles, remarked,“Jon was just a really, really nice guy. He was incredibly generous…he’d give you the shirt off of his back, even if that’s all he had, and ask for nothing in return. If you needed help, Jon would be there.
“I’m just shocked and sad about this. There’s always some other way out, and this just wasn’t the way.”
Dough's sense of humor showed through in series such as Anabolic's Ass Creampies, a line in which the girls got a plate of whipped cream in the face after the scene. During his most recent interview with AVN in the winter of 2005, Dough jokingly sang a few verses of a song about himself that he called the "Ass Cream Man."
Fellow AVN Hall of Famer Ron Jeremy remarked, "I met Jon Dough way back. We went Europe a couple times together, and when you travel internationally with someone, you really get to know them.
“Jon was a great guy. He always had a good attitude, he was funny, and he was a fantastic performer. He would always defend his friends.
“Being in my seventh year as a contracted male performer for Metro, I understand that Jon paved the way for male contract performers, him being the very first guy, when he signed with Vivid. He paved the way for some of us, in that respect.”
AVN Hall of Fame performer Randy Spears had been best friends with Dough for 20 years. Spears and his wife have set up a memorial fund on MySpace to help pay for Dough's burial.
"We lived across street from each other in Orange County, down in Dana Point,” Spears said. "He was like a brother to me. We did so many things together. Not only did we work together, we traveled the world together. Back in the old days there was a very small handful of us then, and we did a lot of traveling to Europe to work and play. I first met him back in the mid-80s. He took to me immediately and I to him. We had a lot in common, we were both fairly new to the business. We quickly became friends.
"I remember talking to him about how beautiful it was in Orange County. I was living in Dana Point and he was living in Venice and I asked him if he wanted to come down and look at a place. At that time he had just gotten together with Deidre Holland, his first wife, and they came down and found a place."
Spears continued, "... We surfed together, rode motorcycles together, cooked out together, drank beer together, fooled around in our garages. We borrowed money from each other. We laughed, we cried. We talked each other into joy, and we talked each other down from emotional fences. I can’t believe he’s gone. ... And then we spent lots of evenings watching the sun go down on the beach and talking about future family, having children someday and eventually moving on and getting out of this business and having other things to look forward to in life.”
Adult performer Brian Surewood knew Dough for over a decade, even before Surewood began performing.
“He’s always gave me phenomenal advice," Surewood said. "I worked next to him in scenes hundreds of times. We were good friends. I knew he was going through some problems. I tried to help him out before with his problems."
Dough, who grew up Pennsylvania, is also survived by his father and three sisters.
Producer/director Mike John said Monday that he got to know Dough about 10 years ago.
“He was just a really, really solid guy with a big heart," John said. "We had a lot of common interests outside of the business. We used to go up to Mammoth snowboarding quite a bit, just regular stuff that people do."
John continued, "He had a lot of problems... He bounced around a lot with deals. He was a strong-willed guy. It’s very surprising to me that he would go out like this. We all tried. He had a lot of people around him but I think he just isolated himself lately. I hadn't talked to him in two months."
John, one of the top gonzo shooters in adult, called Dough "a real innovator."
"A lot of the things he did went on to get copied wildly. We were just all sitting around talking, [Erik Everhard and Dan Silver] and a bunch of us and we were saying he was one of the only guys to span the generations. There's Tommy Byron, Marc Wallice, Ron Jeremy and Jon was one of those second generation guys. And to the last day, he was the only one who would get in the trenches with the new upstarts and show them what was up.
"As a shooter, he was always full of good ideas. ... He was the real deal. He lived it. In the end though, I think it just wore him down. I've talked him back a million times."
John said that Dough had aspirations of mainstream acting before he got into porn.
"He was doing some soap operas and he got an offer to do a Hustler layout. He could do it, it worked, and he got more and more calls. Before you knew it, he was in this," John recalled. "Chet was kind of a wild guy. He was the first contract guy ever. That was something that had never been done before. Girls liked him and he was into having a good time."
Vince Vouyer, co-owner of Vouyer Media and a 15-year adult industry veteran, knew Dough for about the last 14.
“Me and Chet weren’t hanging out having coffee, drinking beer together-type-of friends, but we had a lot of respect for each other throughout the years," Vouyer told AVN.com. "We've always been good to each other. I've worked on a lot of projects with him over the years, some with Vivid, and he was one of the good guys in the business who I actually liked.
"Unfortunately, the past few years have been rough, and he’s had some dependency problems. I don’t know what led up to this. I haven’t been in touch. I tried to put him in some scenes in the past four months. He had been available and then he wasn't available. He’s been calling me and I've been trying to get him in some scenes, but I hadn't been able to reach him.”
Vouyer added, "He was definitely a good woodsman. I’ve never seen him have bad days."
Producer/director Dan Silver, aka Dirty Dan, edited the last movie Dough shot, Ass Cream Man POV, in May. But Silver had known Dough since 1993, when Silver was a production manager for Vivid working with directors such as Paul Thomas and Bud Lee who were shooting Dough regularly. Silver shot and edited the promotional tape that touted Dough's contract as a Vivid Man. It was about 10 years later that he became Dough's editor.
"We spent a lot of time together in that editing bay and when you spend that kind of time together, he became more than just a client, he became a good friend," Silver said.
"... He had a great heart. He was one of the few people in this or any business that I would trust looking after my kids. When he had some hard times, I’d lend him money. Maybe that was a bad thing, but I couldn’t say no."
Silver said that when he was directing for Hustler that Dough was his first phone call for male talent.
"He was the consummate performer and I needed a strong male talent for the nasty gonzo stuff I was doing. There were very few people better than Chet. He could do a three-on-one no problem and he was always rock solid," Silver continued.
"If I had to summarize Chet in a couple words, I would say 'rock solid.' That’s what’s so unbelievable about his death. Here was a man, a big-hearted guy, a strong man physically. It’s just so telling how insidious this drug is that it would make him so weak mentally. Even though we weren’t shocked by this, I’m really kind of surprised by how deeply saddened I am by his passing. My hopes and my prayers are with his wife and with his daughter."
Spears remembers Dough as "a big puppy with a tough exterior."
"He had a great heart," Spears said. "I know he loved his wife and his little girl very much. ... I wish that I could’ve spoken to him more recently but I know that I’ll see him again, I just want to tell him that I love him and I miss him. He meant a lot to me."
AVN.com writer Thomas Stanton contributed to this story.