Jim Holliday, AVN Award winning producer, historian, founding father of the X-Rated Critics Organization and author of such inside industry tomes as Only the Best and The Adult Movie Almanac, passed away due to complications brought on by Type II Diabetes.
His longtime friend and confidant Jack Gallagher expressed his thoughts of Holliday’s special place in the hearts and souls of the industry, saying, “ He put his whole life into the business and gave his whole life to the business and he loved the girls. He’s one of a kind, an enigma, an icon and can’t be replaced.”
His “cosmic soul brother,” William Margold, offered, in the forward of Only the Best, “[Holliday] ascended without a doubt, false step or close contender, to the top of the carnal cinema throne.”
Holliday wrote in the 1982 Top 100 X-Rated Films of All Times that, “from a purely cinematic standpoint, over 95% of adult films are predictable dreck.”
Holliday also wrote a classic bit of prose about our industry, stating, “Pornography is defined as written or pictorial matter intended to arouse sexual feelings. The word obscenity is not part of the definition, and the two words are linked only by those who seek to impose their narrow beliefs on the rest of society. The adult film industry has been referred to as the last bastion for free thinking entrepreneurs.”
"I've known Holliday since AVN started," said Paul Fishbein, AVN president. "And I just spoke to him Monday. I'm devastated. When we started the magazine, he couldn't have been more helpful. He was an industry icon, with an incredible sense of the history of this business. As a filmmaker, he had a unique vision. We didn't always get what he was doing, but he got great girls who were dedicated to giving him the best performances. And they were among VCA's best-selling titles."
Actress-producer Jill Kelly, shown above with Holliday, was a close friend who starred in several of his movies and who was mentored by him in her directing career. When notified of his death, she said, through tears, “They always say you have five friends in your lifetime that you can count on, and he was one of them.”
According to the VCA Pictures Web site, Holliday’s more than 50 movies were “laced with historical, pop culture and trivia references, but the primary emphasis is on originality and consistently hot sex. VCA once called him the ‘High priest of cheerleaders, sorority babes and nurses.’”
The director’s friends and colleagues were quick to respond with reactions and reminiscences.
Bill Margold, Holliday’s best friend and fellow Paladin, offered, “Jim Holliday forgot more about the adult industry than most people will ever know. In a world made up of second bests, Holliday was Only the Best.”
Jared Rutter, AVN Senior Editor and chairman of the X-Rated Critics Organization, recalled, “A lot of people don’t remember what a good critic Holliday was. His writing was overshadowed by his later work as a director. But he was one of the very best when it came to evaluating adult movies. That’s why his inductions into the XRCO Hall of Fame—which was totally his creation—were so exceptional. I just talked to him a few days ago. I’ll be missing those calls.”
“I first met Jim Holliday at a screening of Show Your Love, at the Hustler screening room,” AVN publisher Tim Connelly remembers. “He told me that I was one of the only porn journalists on the east coast other than Dan Shocket (SCREW Magazine) who he thought had chops, evidenced by my first adult film review of Cecil Howard’s Firestorm. I’ll never forget looking over to him at the end of the screening, uncomfortably sitting there with my then wife and star of the film, Kelly Nichols. Hustler editor and mutual friend Lon Friend asked Holliday his thoughts, to which he replied, ‘Routine.’ Kelly laughed and said, ‘You’re being kind.’
“When I told him I agreed (it was dreadful), Holliday said, “You’re all right. Not many lunch buckets or pinheads would have the guts to say that in Larry’s screening room or in front of their old lady.’ Holliday went on to invite me into the X-Rated Critics Organization because he said I had integrity, and he went on to call me the ‘eyes and ears of the industry.’ Well, today my eyes are filled with tears and my ears can still hear his sonorous voice when he would call late into the night, saying ‘Stone!’ (referring to my pen name, Jeremy Stone).
“Jim Holliday won’t ever be equaled, or forgotten, and most importantly, he’s forever a national treasure. He never cared about money and as time goes on, it’s obvious we don’t remember the rich ones, just those rich with life. Holliday’s not dead, but man I bet the angels upstairs are glad he’s back home, where the buses don’t run. Excuse me now, I gotta go home and play Dick and Dee Dee records all night long.”
AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame legend Sharon Kane added, “He cared about me and always looked out for me and called me his Cajun angel and I knew he loved me very, very much. I’ll sure miss him but I know he’s going to a better place.”
Author Susie Bright, an XRCO Hall of Fame critic herself, had a keen appreciation of Holliday’s writing. “Jim Holliday,” she said, “wrote about porn the way Pauline Kael wrote about Hollywood and Lester Bangs wrote about rock and roll. He opened up the criticism to a different dimension…. He had the extraordinary notion, when hardly anyone else did, that porn was cinematic history and legendary moments in the making.
“I can't begin to tell you how opposite Holliday and I were in almost every aspect of politics. But we shared a bond because of mutual respect for cinematic sexual charisma, and how that magic happens or doesn't happen, on any given occasion. He could write with such style and character, like our world was the only one that mattered. I miss his spirit nowadays, and the whole era that nurtured it.”
Video Team owner Christian Mann said, “I’ll never forget his eulogy at John Holmes’ funeral. The opening line was: ‘John was a liar.’ Classic Jim Holliday. I wonder what the opening line will be in his eulogy, or who will deliver it?”
Following is a list of Jim Holliday titles currently available on DVD: Absolutely Adorable, Blonde Brigade, Brown-Eyed Blondes, Car Wash Angels 1 & 2, Cheerleader Nurses, Cheerleader School, Eternal Virgins, Eye Candy, Eye Candy Refocused, High Desert Dream Girls, High Desert Pirates, L. A. Fashion Girls, Little Town Flirts, Melted Pink, Midnight Librarians, Nightshift Nurses 2, Nude Gymnastics, Paradise Hole, Perfect Pouts, Perfect Smiles, Return of the Cheerleader Nurses, She-Devils in Pink, Sorority Sex Kittens 1-6, Summer Camp Sun Bunnies, Sweet Summer Sex Kittens, Ten Little Angels, Think Pink, Timeless, Too Many Blonde Moments, Top 25 Adult Stars, Trash Talkin’ Coeds, Witch Coven College, Women in Control.