AVN Hall of Fame photographer and director Clive McLean passed away about 2:30 this morning after a battle with cancer. He was 60.
McLean had been a fixture at LFP and Hustler for the past 29 years, photographing nearly every recognizable starlet in adult during his tenure as Senior Photographer.
“I’ll always remember Clive for being there in the very beginning, virtually when we started,” Hustler founder Larry Flynt told AVN.com. “He’s as much a part of Hustler as a I am, in a sense. He’s made a phenomenal contribution over the years not just to Hustler and Barely Legal, but also to our video lines. So we’re going to miss him a great deal.”
Photographer Suze Randall said she would remember McLean as “one of my toughest competitors.”
“I’ve known him since I was in London. I think he shot me. Then I worked at Hustler with him. We’ve always been so competitive," she said. "When the HIV scare came up last year, he was one of the only people who really helped pull it together and we started to get friendly again.”
Randall said they always had a healthy professional rivalry.
“We fought over girls for years,” she said. “He was so brave and funny right to the end. His sense of humor… He died surrounded with love and great peace and spirituality. His wife Erica was amazing.”
Hustler photographer and director Matti Klatt had known McLean since 1974, when Klatt moved from Hamburg, Germany to London.
“We go back 31 years and then I moved to LA and the next thing I knew we were working together for Hustler since 1979, brothers in crime all these years,” Klatt said. “We traveled everywhere together, from Mexico to Hawaii. We were as tight as it gets.”
Klatt said he and McLean talked of spending their retirement years together in one of their favorite spots, Cabo San Lucas.
“It’s a big fucking bummer. There are certain people in your life you want to carry on with once you retire from the business and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It wasn’t meant to be. He’ll be with us in spirit always,” Klatt continued.
“We’re going to handle it. He was a great man. Clive told us to be positive and take care of his wife Erica. That was his main concern in the times when he was in and out of consciousness, times when he would sort of pop up. That was sort of the main thing in his head, to ‘take care of my wife.’
“You try to think back to how he would want you to deal with it, to not sort of pack it in and go ‘hoo, hoo, hoo.’ We want to remember the good times, the special man that he was. Once we get over this initial shock, we will hang in there.”
Klatt told AVN.com when McLean was first diagnosed he was given two months, “and that was seven months ago.”
“He was a tough dude,” Klatt said.
McLean’s 34-year-old son from a previous marriage, Roman, had just left to return to his home in Australia on Sunday after a two-week stay.
“I’m very sure he hung on for that,” Klatt said.
In addition to his magazine layouts, McLean began directing videos six years ago, taking the reins of Hustler Video’s Barely Legal series. The 2004 AVN Award-winning Best Vignette series reached its 50th edition last year and has long been the best-selling line in the company's arsenal.
A former art school student who earned his degree in graphic design and journalism in the 1960s, McLean had said that directing allowed him to finish a visual story. “As a photographer, you always say it would be nice if I had a couple more pages,” he said. “It alleviates a little frustration because I can complete a story, even though it usually always end up with a facial.”
McLean also directed the girl/girl series Hot Showers and has helmed a handful of Barely Legal spin-offs such as Barely Legal On Vacation, Barely Legal in the City and Barely Legal Summer Camp.
His wife of 11 years and "right-hand woman," Erica, worked closely with him on every aspect of production, prompting him to say in a 2003 interview with AVN that she is "the dynamo behind the jewel." Their production company is called Rubber Duck, Inc.
James Baes, the former Creative Director at Hustler Video who spent over 28 years at LFP before starting Swank Digital last year, told AVN.com that he actually introduced McLean to Larry Flynt in 1976.
“We go a long way back. I was a fashion photographer in the ‘70s working as a staff photographer for Stern,” Baes said, referring to the German equivalent of Life magazine.
“I was their staff photographer and Clive McLean was married to a beautiful girl called Stephanie. She was a very successful model in London. I was using her all the time for Stern magazine. We loved that girl, great personality. We did a story on her and I had to photograph Clive. I took a beautiful picture of Clive and his wife naked with their baby. That’s how I met Clive. At the time he was a band manager, handling Cat Stevens.”
Baes said that when he met Flynt in 1975 that the Hustler founder told him that he couldn’t possibly do all the photography himself and that he would need someone to help.
“I told him I had this guy I know in London who has been doing pictures and he’s a real sex maniac and then we got on an airplane in 1976 to go meet Larry,” Baes said.
Flynt put up Baes and McLean in a mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. in the early days of Hustler.
“We were partying like crazy,” Baes recalled. “Clive was the worst, chasing every girl in town. We had a great time there. We stayed there for three years shooting the early Hustler models. That’s the way I want to remember Clive from those happy days.”
When Baes took over the magazine for seven years in the 80s, McLean became his top shooter.
“We were the two big guys with two very different styles,” he said. “Clive was the No. 1 photographer. I would send him everywhere. We had a very close relationship both professionally and as a friend. Clive was a fantastic guy.”
Baes continued, “We started this Barely Legal idea, that was really his baby. It’d be impossible for anyone to do what he did with that line.
“It’s a big loss for people like me because I really kept the relationship. I’m the only guy there who knew Clive a long time before anybody else.”
The London native that was known as an approachable, good-natured man was the subject of a nationally televised profile on American Movie Classics called "The AMC Project: I Want to Be Clive McLean" in 2003. The program, which also included profiles on mainstream entertainment figures, was advertised in the July 2003 issue of Vanity Fair.
The original Barely Legal initially did not make for the easiest sell, McLean told AVN in an exclusive interview for the February 2002 cover story about the emergence of Hustler Video.
“It was a big yawn as far as distributors were concerned,” he said in December of 2001. “It only went out the door at 700-800, not really good. We had no sales people. But the repeat orders were absolutely astronomical on No. 1. We had 28,000 repeat orders.”
McLean also appeared in 2003 at the beginning of the PBS "Frontline" documentary on the industry called "American Porn." He was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame in 2001.