LOS ANGELES—Veteran performer/director Shawn Ricks, who appeared in more than 180 adult movies and directed more than 80 of them, was found dead on Saturday, June 26, of self-inflicted wounds. He would have been 47 on Aug. 3.
Ricks' career in adult began in 1993, ironically appearing in the movie Alex Jordan's First Timers 1. (Jordan herself committed suicide just 15 years ago today.) Though he worked for most of the major production companies, Ricks rarely had starring roles in his movies, but until his final hardcore scene in 2001 in Heatwave's Doin' Da Nasty 3, he was considered a reliable cocksman, and he continued to direct features until well into 2005.
After Ricks developed a drinking problem, and was no longer able to find work in adult, he took a break from the industry and left the Los Angeles area for three years—but according to his wife, Liz, Ricks got his life back on track during the hiatus and was looking forward to new projects.
Asked if Ricks had been depressed before his death, Liz responded, "No, he was doing fantastic. Over 10 years ago, he shattered his heels because he was playing good Samaritan and retrieving a football for some kids, and he fell back and broke both his heels. The surgeon had said he'd never walk again, but he did, and of course he was in chronic pain, but on Wednesday, we went to the doctor and he got cortisone shots in his heels and he was doing fine. He was enrolled in classes and there was no indication of anything. His life was on track.
"He was getting his act together," she continued. "He was working out, losing weight; until recently, he was rehabilitating dogs. He was their last hope; if he couldn't rehab them, they would have been put to sleep. So he worked with different groups that took in rescue dogs, and he would rehab the dogs and help them get adoptable. Then he decided he wanted to go back to school, and he had the opportunity to do so, and he was getting into web design because he wanted to put his product out on the web."
According to Deloras Sullivan, a family friend and wife of the late Henri Pachard, Ricks had left messages on her answering machine while she was in the hospital.
"The messages basically said, 'Hey, girl, I'm getting ready to do so many things. Give me a call,'" Sullivan told AVN. "And we were talking about going down and shooting some comedy on the streets of Hollywood. He also wanted to get into doing stand-up at local clubs."
Reports had surfaced that Ricks had been taking Ambien to help him sleep, and that that may have contributed to his suicide, but Liz doubted any connection.
"You know what?" she said of his alleged Ambien use. "I don't know, but it doesn't matter because it's not going to bring him back."
Ricks is survived by his wife, their two dogs, as well as an older brother, two older sisters and several nieces and nephews living in the Chicago area.
"He lived his life to the fullest until his cup was running over, and he did it his way," his wife tearfully eulogized.
No memorial fund currently exists for the actor/director, but his wife said that he had a closet full of videotapes that Ricks was going to feature on the website he planned to design. She has asked anyone with video editing experience who might like to help her complete her late husband's dream to contact AVN, which will forward the information to Liz.