LOS ANGELES—Jane Waters, an AVN Hall of Fame member for his esteemed work since the mid-1980s as a cameraman and director, died of a weekend heart attack in his current home of Pittsburgh, according to industry contemporary William Margold.
Waters, whose legal name was John Keeler, is survived by his wife, Tilly. He was 68. Margold told AVN he learned of Waters' passing from fellow director Jeff Coldwater, who had been informed directly by Tilly Monday night.
"To me, it's shattering, because I really loved the man," Margold said. "I bet you if you scrape away an awful lot of the great directors, you'll find that Keeler was the man who made them great. [John] Stagliano, Paul Thomas, Rob Black to a certain extent, [Jim] Holliday always loved working with Keeler when Keeler shot camera, and I can't thank Keeler enough for the quality jobs he turned in. I just felt blessed to have him on my set."
Waters got his start in the industry by editing the 1985 Dark Brothers classic New Wave Hookers (VCA Pictures), and chose his pseudonym as a nod to cult director John Waters.
"I first met him back in the late '80s when we did Immorals [Arrow Productions] and Frat Brats [VCA], and we had so much fun, and there was such a good sense of camaraderie," Margold reflected. "I look at him as a person who probably you would have found at a coffee shop, sort of a beatnik-esque, early 1950s, rumpled look about him. And he was a very gentle, I called him 'beautiful' man. And that's why I think he and Stagliano got along well, and he and Paul Thomas got along well, and probably he and Rob Black got along well. And Holliday would tell me that the guy was a tremendous cinematographer, videographer. He took a long time, but he wanted to make it good. Why rush genius?"
Paul Thomas had similarly effusive words to offer about Waters.
"He was just the most artful d.p. I've ever worked with," Thomas said. "He's the one that taught me how to set up shots, and how you just didn't shoot something; shots had texture and lighting and mood and movement, and you could really make portaits out of shots."
Thomas noted that as far as he knew, Waters was "really healthy. I'm the one snorting up half of Colombia, and he gets a heart attack. Just very sober, didn't smoke, and ate very healthy, and see what you get?"
Some of the movies Waters collaborated on with Thomas included Jenna Jameson Is the Masseuse, Bonnie and Clyde and House of Sleeping Beauties (all from Vivid Entertainment). "He walked off all of them!" Thomas laughed. "He was an incredibly unique guy, really sensitive guy. We used to get into big arguments; he used to walk off the set regularly."
Thomas revealed that he and Waters met in a very only-in-porn manner: "We were both the same boyfriend of a porn actress named Jacqueline Lorians. We were trading off evenings with her."
Margold summed up his sentiments by saying, "I honestly believe that Keeler, or Jane Waters, deserves a very, very special place in the history of this business."
Pictured: Jane Waters (center) with Larry Flynt and Amber Lynn on the set of We Are the World XXX.