NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Fred J. Lincoln, legendary director of over 400 features including Maneaters, The Goddaughter 1-4, Lingerie Busters and the notorious A Formal Faucett, a send-up of then-famous actress Farrah Fawcett, died last night at the age of either 74 or 76, depending on which birthdate one believes. While the cause has not been officially determined, friends of Fred's noted that he had recently been suffering from emphysema and heart disease, having survived several previous heart attacks.
"The last time I saw Freddie was just a few weeks ago in the hospital," recalled screenwriter Raven Touchstone. "We had just done the Golden Goddesses launch, and I went to the hospital with Bionca Seven, and we walked into his room and there was Annie Sprinkle and [Veronica Hart], and we had a nice time with him. Janie and Annie rubbed his feet, and we talked about him recovering and getting out of there. That was sort of a positive thing, and then he got better, he gained weight—Patty [Rhodes, his estranged wife] said he gained 20 pounds—this was about six weeks ago—had moved to a nursing home and was getting physical therapy. But then he got a cold, he got sick, and couldn't battle out of it and wouldn't eat or do physical therapy and wound up back in the hospital a couple of days ago, and passed away last night. Patty said he had both heart and lung trouble; they were both seriously diseased, and he'd had a couple of heart attacks in the past."
Fred had a long and storied history in adult, from the late 1960s in New York City where he was the talent booker for live sex and S&M shows for the Times Square theater Show World, to his pivotal role as the villain Weasel Podowski in Wes Craven's horror classic Last House on the Left (1972), to his brief ownership to the famous New York swing club Plato's Retreat, to his first adult feature, Souperman, for VCA in 1976.
"I was livin' and shootin' in San Francisco when Freddie set me up with a job in January of '78 in NYC at Show World in Times Square where he was directing an S/M show called 'Bizarre Burlesque,'" recalled veteran actor/director Joey Silvera. "We were arrested every week—me, four times. Fred saw me on film and thought I was 'relevant to the times'—that's how he thought. Once Fred liked you, you were stuck 'cause he gave 15 times more than he got back He was a prince of the era. Now he is with Sam [Weston aka Anthony Spinelli], Alex [deRenzy], John [Leslie], Ron [Sullivan aka Henri Pachard] and Jamie [Gillis] where he belongs. Arrivederci amico mio!"
Another of Lincoln's early acquaintances was Christian Mann, who later formed the production company Video Team.
"I met Fred in 1983 and started working with him as an editor shortly thereafter," Mann said. "He and Patti [Rhodes] became dear friends of mine around this time. I saw his daughter Angelica as a young baby and most recently in this last year as a remarkable young adult. Freddie directed a lot of movies for me at Video Team in the late '90s and worked for us at Evil Angel on several projects over the last two years. Even as he took ill too often, he never lost his sense of care about his work and he always had that raspy, wheezing laugh, a trademark he shared with Bobby Hollander. Fred was a legend as a big movie maker, but to me he was a warm man with a special knack for sharing some very funny stories. We've lost a special guy."
Lincoln even had an impact on a then-fledgling adult publisher.
"Fred was always a fun-loving guy, always had a good, good attitude and a great anecdote, but I have one about Fred," said former AVN publisher Paul Fishbein. "The very first CES show that AVN went to in 1984, my very first porn event was Fred Lincoln's wedding to Tiffany Clark at the Imperial Palace hotel. I was so impressed that I was invited to Fred Lincoln's wedding, and I thought, 'I made it in Hollywood!' This was Vegas circa '84 and Fred was just so nice and inviting and 'Welcome to my wedding.' This was my first porn event and I'll always remember that, that I was sort of this new guy in the business and Fred welcomed me in by inviting me to his porno wedding. So that's my fond memory of Fred from 30 years ago. I'm sorry he's gone; he was a great guy."
Their marriage made the cover of the July 1984 issue of Adam magazine, but less than five years later, and after the birth of a son, Lincoln divorced Clark and married Patty Rhodes.
"Freddie and I met in [agent] Reb's [Sawitz] office about 25 years ago," Rhodes recalled. "We worked all over the world together. Angelica is a souvenir of our last job in Italy. She is the most awesome person ever. She took care of her dad over the last few years."
"He was the best husband ever," she added. "We never got divorced, but we've been separated for about 12 years now, but we get together for holidays and we raised our daughter together. There's lots of reasons why marriages don't work, but we still had a friendship and a co-parenting partnership, always had her best interests at heart. He had a great sense of humor until very close to the end."
Lincoln worked for just about every adult production company in existence at the time, including some fetish-oriented fare like the Dresden Diary and Defiance series for Bizarre Video, and often he was the first director to work with some now-famous actors.
"I worked with Fred Lincoln in 1987 in Germany, and right away we became huge friends even if our languages were different," remembered Rocco Siffredi. "I had many people saying to me, 'Come to the U.S.,' that they would help me, I could sleep in their house and I could borrow their car but that was only bla-bla-bla. The only man who invited me to come to America and really meant it was Freddie Lincoln."
"In 1989, I arrived at LAX airport and as soon as I stepped outside, there was Fred Lincoln waiting for me. I remember it like it's today. He said 'Welcome to America, Rocco,' and I told him I was very nervous, I didn't know how to speak English well at all actually, and he said, 'Don't worry; American women will love your Italian language, especially your big sausage,' and he started to laugh. He took me to his house, and over the next two weeks, him and his wife Patti Rhodes introduced me to all the big guys in L.A., starting with John Leslie forward to John Stagliano, Alex de Renzy and Anthony Spinelli, etc., etc."
"Freddie was a real talented director with incredible humanity and a huge sense of humor," Siffredi continued. "One thing about Freddie which made him, for me, a close friend was his way of talking to me and to other people. He was so direct: if he liked you, he said so; if he didn't like you, he'd say it exactly the same way. For me, that made my consideration of this guy on the top-top level. In a few words, he was a man with real balls."
"I remember when he and Patti Rhodes conceived their beautiful daughter Angelica in Florence during a shoot around 20 years ago. And I know for a fact that as big and strong man as Freddie was, the only pain and sadness that probably he had to face was the fact that he had to leave Angelica alone in this world."
"Last time I spoke to Fred was a few months ago, and he had lot of nice consideration for me, basically very proud like a father is proud of his son, and that was because I considered Fred my second father through all those years in this industry."
"One of the most loyal, honest and generous person I have ever met. Un grandissimo abbraccio! Which means 'big hug!'"
Veteran actress Dyanna Lauren also has a "Freddie and Rocco" story.
"I remember one day in particular, Freddie was shooting Rocco Siffredi, and this little girl came in and she's like, 'Okay; I've only got an hour. My husband doesn't know I'm here. He thinks I'm at the grocery store. We've gotta get this done. I need the money but we've got to get this done. Nobody knows I'm here.' And we just laughed and put a wig on her, and I'm like, 'How do they do that?' He goes, "I don't know and I don't care; if it makes them happy and this is what they want to do, there's no judgment in this world.'"
"Freddie Lincoln was an amazing human being, and actually was instrumental in the start of my career eons ago, in the early '90s," she continued. "I answered an ad from Jim South, but I didn't want to actually do sex; I wanted to do myself and I wanted to do non-sex roles, and Freddie was such a free being, he didn't care, and unlike a lot of directors, he didn't push. He just had this joy about him. He always was smiling and he had this inner peace about him that I just loved. And he put me in—he had this series WPINK-TV, and I was in a lot of them. I did non-sex roles in them and I did solo masturbations in them. Those were some of the very first movies I ever did, and a lot of people don't even remember that from my career, and I was just so thankful for him, because that transition is a hard transition, and he was never one to go, 'Come on, let's do it; c'mon, you gotta do something more.' He just go, 'I like having you around. Come do whatever you want to do.' Because I really wanted to direct, and to sit next to that wonderful man for so many days! He really cared about his productions and about the people. ... He's going to be truly missed here, but he's in a place that he knew there was an after; he was very spiritual; he just knew he's going to be here again."
Longtime VCA producer and technician Wit Maverick also has memories of working with Lincoln—and knows of some jobs Lincoln had that virtually no one else was aware of.
"Freddie was one of the first directors I got to meet," Maverick said. "He was great, and I remember he was in a production meeting with [Veronica Hart], and he said something that's stuck with me for a long time. He said, 'As long as I deliver six scenes, I can do whatever the fuck I want.' His one rule was, 'Sixth scene, pop shot, roll credits.' He never put anything after that last pop shot because he said no one would ever watch it. Back then, VCA required seven scenes in a movie, and he hated that because he couldn't write a story structure around seven scenes. With six, he could do two and two and two, but there was always that seventh scene left over that he had to put in somewhere."
"But Freddie was just a great guy," he continued. "He loved life, loved everybody, didn't pull any punches. He had a great life before the industry. Freddie's almost always had long hair, and that allowed him to be a body double for Barbra Streisand for a number of films, the last one being The Prince of Tides. She was very difficult on set, and the more tantrums she threw, the more Freddie worked. He had some amazing stories about being a body double. In this last decade, Freddie made most of his money playing poker. The last time I saw him was at Kelly Holland's annual poker tournament fundraiser, and he said he made most of his money playing poker; he even went to Vegas to play in tournaments."
What most fans and even acquaintances also probably don't know is that Lincoln was one of the inspirations for the naming of Steve Orenstein's then-fledgling production company, Wicked Pictures.
"I was with Xcitement Video," Orenstein stated, "and Freddie did this movie for us called Wicked, and it had nothing to do with Wicked Pictures because that didn't exist then, but when it came time to—when I was starting my own company and separating from my partner at Xcitement, we were going through a lot of ideas for company names, and 'Wicked' was thrown out, and I said, 'Well, I liked it as a title; I think I still really like it, so let's do that.'"
"I've been in the business 33 years; I've probably known Freddie for over 20 years, and he was already around forever and ever at that point, and he was one of the old school guys. He did direct a few movies for us back in those days, and I just remember that Freddie was a hard-working guy, really cared about the product he would put together, and a very passionate, passionate guy about everything, and put that into his work as well."
Dan Metcalf, who's done press relations for Wicked for more than a decade, also remembered working with Lincoln.
"It was a thrill to me, when I first came to do PR for Wicked Pictures, to work with Freddie on several of the movies which he directed for Steve; in particular, Shadowlands, which is one of the biggest films he did for Stephanie Swift for Wicked," Metcalf said. "It was a true labor of love for him, because he had a great heart for the horror film genre and is remembered by everyone for having had a pivotal role in Wes Craven's Last House on the Left. He'd worked with Wes on a couple of projects prior to that, including another film that was actually done for the adult industry: Angela Fireworks Woman; he and Wes were behind the scenes on that, but he was part of that whole crew: Wes Craven, Sean Cunningham, and Steve Minor, that whole crew that came out of Last House on the Left. Obviously, Fred chose a different path for his career, but he brought the same skill and professionalism that he showed back then to the adult film industry; he lifted us all up to mainstream technical quality by doing that."
"One of the things I remember about working on Shadowlands," he continued, "it was a very difficult shoot, in the middle of the desert, brutally hot during the day, brutally hot at night—he treated everyone on the crew from the talent, Stephanie to the lowliest PA, he treated them with the same love and respect and got 100 percent return for doing that. Shadowlands was definitely a very personal project that came from him, and coincidentally, it presaged the whole 'J-horror' genre, The Ring and The Grudge and the other things that came just a few years after that from Japan, so this was a case where adult kind of got there first."
Veronica Hart was one of the last people to see Lincoln alive, and recalled her last visit to his hospital room.
"I knew Freddie from the very first time I got into the business, when he was with Tiffany Clark; he and Tiff were incredible," Hart recalled. "They used to come and hang out at the house. The last time I saw him, though, he knew he was going to go, and he just wanted it to happen. He just didn't feel that he could get better again, which was not true; he did get better, and he gained weight from the last time I saw him in the hospital, and then they sent him to rehab and it just knocked the stuffings out of him. He hated being there, he didn't want to join any of the programs like bingo or anything, and he hated it. He lost all the weight he had gained, and that was it; he just gave up."
"When Annie came to see him with me, and [Raven] and Bionca Seven were there at the same time, we talked about sharing the care together, and getting people to come over to the house, and we'd all take at least a day or two a month to try and take care of him, but he never was able to get it together to come out."
Bionca recalled that same visit:
"When we got there, Veronica was there and Annie Sprinkle, and my first thought was—I didn't know what I was going to see; I didn't know what condition Freddie was in, but when I walked into the room, he had plenty of food in front of him and he was sitting up and talking, and I thought, 'I'm going to try to get Freddie to cheer up and laugh,' so I said, 'You know, Freddie, I think it would be a good idea if Annie, Veronica, Penny and I and you have an orgy right here and now,' and he let out a big laugh. He went through a period when he was really depressed, and he had reason to be. His health declined, his lungs were really bad, very congested, but we had a really terrific visit. The last thing before I left, I kissed Freddie on his lips and I told him that I loved him, and he said, 'I love you too,' One thing that stands out was, Annie and Janie asked Freddie if they could rub his feet, and they did and they had such loving hands, and I talked to Janie yesterday and I said, 'I'll never forget that moment, that you thought of that and did that for Freddie.'"
The news of Lincoln's death has spread quickly over the internet, particularly on Facebook. The following are some comments that have been posted about Lincoln's place in the adult industry and sometimes in the lives of the posters.
"Our beloved Fred Lincoln has passed away," wrote director Luc Wylder. "Thank you to all who sent him your kind thoughts and wishes. May he rest in peace. Much love to you all during this sad moment."
"I just learned that an old friend and brother in (porn) arms Fred Lincoln has died," wrote director Carter Stevens. "I will miss him. The last time I saw him was about four years ago at the AVN Awards. We were both wearing tux and in the middle of the room both ripped open our shirts to compare our bi-pass [sic] scars. Fred was crazy and wild and fun and the porno dinosaurs club has lost another founding member. R.I.P. Fred, R.I.P."
"When legends pass we remember what they left us; we remember their faces, the laughs they gave us," reflected director Roy Karch. "We remember why we loved them as well as their work which still lives on. When legends pass, we remember why they are known as legends to begin with. Freddy ... rest in peace with all those that came and left before you ..."
Pictured: Fred Lincoln with fellow directors Bruce Seven and Alex de Renzy at an AVN Awards Show in the mid-1990s; photograph by Glenn Baran.