WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — "John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches," by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson, the first comprehensive biography of the late porn legend, was launched last Friday at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip. The date, August 8, would have been Holmes' 64th birthday.
Authors Sugar and Nelson, neither a professional writer, put the book together over four years, basically as a labor of love. It is published by BearManor Media of Albany, Georgia, a house that specializes in show biz lore.
Bill Margold hosted the event, entertaining a small but enthusiastic crowd of fans with stories about his friendship with Holmes and the 1970s Los Angeles porn scene.
He introduced Cass Paley, director of the Holmes documentary Wadd, who in turn brought on veteran director Bob Chinn, the creator the Johnny Wadd character that Holmes became synonymous with.
Chinn revealed that he recently found a first-run answer print of the first Johnny Wadd movie in a storage locker. In mint condition, having only been projected once, it will be released on DVD in September by VCX, which has a substantial catalog of Holmes movies.
The hour-long picture, Chinn said, was shot in one day and edited in two, from a script he wrote on the back of an envelope. Others in the series were cranked out with similar dispatch. But, he said, the Holmes films that "people remember today seem to be the Wadd films."
Sugar and Nelson took turns reading excerpts from their book, which is structured as an oral history, with contributions from virtually everyone who crossed paths with the star during his career. They also read a letter from Seka, who partnered with Holmes on screen more than any other actress.
Sugar was a Michigan college biology student when she began to research Holmes' life, spurred on by seeing Paley's Wadd and the fictionalized Wonderland, which left her wanting to know more about the porn king. "I looked for a comprehensive biography and there was none," she said, so she took on the task herself.
Nelson, who dispenses hearing aids in Ontario, Canada, came on board a bit later. They gained the trust and full cooperation of Laurie Holmes, the actor's widow, who told the audience, "They felt like I did, that there was more to be told about John Holmes."
"Laurie believed we would take a fresh approach to the story," Sugar said. "Being women was why we wanted to know more about John Holmes."
The book contains an extensive filmography and loopography, plus reviews of many titles. Nelson said that the information in the book is more thorough than anything previously available.
Guests at the event included actress Rhonda Jo Petty, a frequent Holmes co-star, photographers Kenji and Joel Sussman, both Holmes associates, and a late-arriving Ron Jeremy. A birthday cake decorated like the book cover was served as the authors signed copies for fans.
Event attendees were invited to a free midnight screening of the Holmes classic Eruption at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax, courtesy of VCX.
"John Holmes: A Life Measure in Inches" is available at Book Soup and at online retailers Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, as well as at www.JohnHolmesInches.com. There is also a My Space page, MySpace.com/JohnHolmesInches.