CHATSWORTH, Calif. – Veteran director and still photographer, Richard de Montfort, has died. He was 53.
De Montfort, whose real name was Richard Montfort, passed away at his home in Burbank last week, said Drew Rosenfeld, the director of creative development for Hustler Video. Montfort directed dozens of movies for Hustler in the past five-plus years.
“I had been trying to reach him since last Wednesday and typically he’s the type of person who calls you right back,” Rosenfeld said. “After a week of trying, I went over to his house and knocked on his door. All his cars were there but there was no answer. I got nervous and called the police. After I left, the police told it’s been confirmed that he was deceased. They’re not giving me specifics because he’s not family.”
Rosenfeld, who brought Montfort to Hustler, said the Los Angeles native “was a true champion of his craft. And anyone that’s worked with him would know what I mean by that. And he was my friend.”
“We loved his work over here,” Rosenfeld continued. “He was very, very professional. The last project that he delivered to us was titled Hustler’s Untrue Stories: Lindsay Lohan. It’s kind of a shock. He was here on Tuesday of last week delivering materials. He directed at least one if not two movies a month for at least three or four years for Hustler.”
Montfort's Strollin' in the Colon for Hustler Video won the 2009 AVN award for Clever Title of the Year.
Wildlife Productions general manager Bobby Rinaldi gave Montfort his first job in adult about 11 years ago.
“We were over at Tight Ends, and I gave him his first box cover shoot for a movie called Heat,” said Rinaldi, who used to run the production at the company. “He was a salesman for me in the sales room, and told me he was a photographer, ‘Give me a shot. Give me a shot.’ So I finally did and he became one of the top still guys in the business, and a director. I like to feel like I started him off in the business.”
Rinaldi continued, “He must’ve done over 90 percent of my box covers [at Wildlife]. He still would do stills for me. He directed for Hustler but he was always available for me since we went back so far. I’m still in shock. He just finished something for me about a week ago.”
Rinaldi said he also developed a strong friendship with Montfort, who became one of adult's most prolific still photographers working for numerous adult companies.
“He was always there for me as a friend, more important than as a colleague,” he said. “We were always able to sit around and bullshit about family problems and other stuff aside from business. He had a sarcastic sense of humor, the same as me, and we had been working together for so long we could almost finish each other sentences. He worked for me longer than he worked for anybody in this business.”
Montfort was born and raised in Los Angeles and made his home in Hollywood for several years until recently moving to his “dream house” in Burbank, Rosenfeld said.
“He was a huge fan of comics and always attended comic book convention in San Diego. He started out his career as a comic book artist. He illustrated comics before he got into photography.”
In porn, Montfort specialized in directing some of Hustler’s harder fare. “He always did more of the extreme content for us, all of the anal stuff and the harder edge gonzo. He was a true pervert,” Rosenfeld said. “He was a huge consumer of porn long before he ever got into it. He was an honest and upstanding guy. Personally, I found the guy extremely intelligent, maybe a bit reclusive.”
Rinaldi said he worked with Montfort every month if not every other week. He said one producer coined a nickname for him that stuck.
“We called him the Dark Cloud of Love because he always wore black, a black shirt or black pants. It could’ve been 200 degrees out and that’s what he wore.”
Performer Nicki Hunter was deeply saddened.
"We met in 2003 and I was at first taken aback by Montfort's abrupt mannerisms and cynical perfectionist attitude, but underneath the bittersweet exterior laid a deeply compassionate man with a dry sense of humor and quick wit that I quickly found endearing," she said.
"His remarks were always laced with comedy and stabbing realism that sometimes one would have to hurriedly think, 'Should I laugh at that? He's joking, right?' and then realize that once again, he has played a cat and mouse game with you for his own amusement.
She continued, "He was a jokester, a tease, and true pervert that made the work day memorable. His work was infallible and he was a true master of pornography as a director, photographer, coordinator, and videographer. He loved creating beautiful works of art and looking at all that he has accomplished, he truly was a success in his profession."
Hunter said the last time she spoke with Montfort was a few weeks ago.
"He went out of his way just to call me and say that he was extremely happy with my work for him, as I worked both sides of the camera as cast and crew in the movie, Keeping Up with the Kard-ASS-ians. He gave me such high praise that it brought tears to my eyes even then because he is not a man to give compliments lightly. I was humbled and ended the conversation with love and looking to the future filming of our next movie. I did not know that would be the last time I would speak to him....
"He was the director that always made sure I had whatever I wanted to eat and drink on set. He was the photographer that always made me look and feel as sexy as a goddess. He was the slave driver that never let me carry my own bags. He was the man who always made me want to smack him, but then we would laugh and hug and roll our eyes together. He was my friend and I'm going to miss him.
"Thank you Richard for all your kindness. I am stunned and shocked that you are no longer with us. You always were a tough ol goat and I'm going to miss you terribly. With all my love, may you rest in peace."
Former performer Gia Jordan said, "Richard was a man of few words, but always professional and pleasant. The models loved the little pet names he would give them during shoots and his photos always brought out their best. Richard was very prolific, always on set, so it is a shock that he is no longer with us. He will be missed dearly."
Producer/director Skeeter Kerkove worked with Montfort on over 400 movies.
“Richard did a lot more in porn than some people may know,” Kerkove said. “He had one of the most creative minds there was in porn. That’s why he was my still photographer for over 400 movies between Bridgette [Kerkove] and I. He did every single Bridgette movie except for the last two. Richard did 95 percent of my stills since 2001.”
Kerkove said every movie he ever shot for Metro Studios and their imprints was with Montfort.
“That’s over 100 movies just with that one company,” he said. “In the year 2004, filed on my 2005 income taxes. I 1099’s Richard over $44,000 in still photography. For four years I was his No. 1 client. Another wonderful secret is that his true love more than anything was fetish clothing and shooting the most outlandish sex that two people could do as camera.”
Kerkove said he learned “so much” from Montfort.
“He was an ultimate, true pornographer. He could shoot anything,” Kerkove added. “But no matter what he did, he did it with a passion. He truly cared.
“...Every single sex scene that I’ve directed over the years that received an AVN nomination, every one Richard Montfort did the stills on and helped with the lighting and helped get the best out of everybody. There’s no way I could’ve had the success I’ve had if it wasn’t for him.”
Pictured: Trinity Post and Richard Montfort.