When I approached Bill Margold to do an interview over email in 2004, he instantly and graciously made himself accessible and didn’t shy away from any of the questions I asked. But, rather than simply reply to my questions in text format, Bill decided that it would be a better idea to sit in front of a video camera and answer the questions on tape, so that I could better get a feeling for who he is as a person. Bill sat in front of the camera for almost two hours and even had a professional cameraman named John B. to shoot the whole thing – in short, he went way, way, way above and beyond the call of duty.
IJ: You graduated with a degree in journalism. How did you go from a journalism student to becoming one of the most recognizable male adult film stars of the seventies and eighties?
WM: I got into the X-rated industry to write about it. My whole desire in the beginning was to emulate one of my idols, a gentleman named George Climpton, and symbiotically we were tied together by the Detroit Lions, I came in to write stories about the X-rated industry, and found out that I belonged in the X-rated industry. And in the last thirty some odd years, I have done everything there is to do in the X-rated adult entertainment industry. Started as a journalist, wrote stories about it. Became a performer, wrote stories about it. Became a director, wrote stories about it. Became and activist, wrote stories about it. Agent? Wrote stories about it. And now, I guess, stories are being written about me!
IJ:Has this education helped you in your experiences as a columnist and writer for your website, for newspapers, and for Hustler?
WM: Well, I’ve garnered tremendous amounts of material from this business and regurgitated it back into any number of forms of communication media including television interviews, radio interviews, and hundreds or maybe even thousands of articles that I have written and taken pieces of my life and spit them back into the face of society. This of course brings up my first major quote, and you’re going to hear a lot of them, we – the X-rated industry, function in a society of Judases who jack off to us with their left hand and to deny us with their right. And I, of course, am here to defend the adult entertainment industry, and primarily only one letter of the alphabet, and that letter is X!
IJ: How were you brought on board to essentially act as the casting agent to for the adult performers to appear in the Australian Fantasm films?
WM: Well, the Fantasm films were made in the late 70s, Australian people were producing them and I was functioning at that point in my career as the number one adult agent in the world at a place called Reb-Sunset International at 60 Sunset Blvd., right across from the Chinese Theater. I was recently taped in front of it in conjunction with the sixtieth birthday of John Holmes. That building is still there, by the way it probably should be torn down, anyway, as it is a hideous looking thing.
I was acting as a casting agent for a lot of films at that point in time. These were simulated films, and we didn’t have to worry about anything happening that might be illegal because we were, of course, breaking the law every single day of the year at that agency by booking acts of hardcore material. Finally in August of 1988, that was taken care of and it was adjudicated by the Freeman decision.
Every day I would go to that office Monday through Friday and break the law – it was a stupid law, but we were considered panderers and the people we handled were considered prostitutes and eventually that law became archaic and fell and we became legitimate.
Those were the glory days of the X-rated industry and the golden era of film, there was no such thing as video in those days. These films, the Fantasm films, had pretty much everyone who was famous in them at that point in time, and they were adventures that entertained people and I think entertainment is the most important thing in the adult entertainment industry anyway, because it is called the adult entertainment industry. Otherwise wouldn’t it just be called the adult industry?
IJ: Does anything stand out to you as remarkable about your work on those two films?
WM: The Fantasm movies were amusing because in the first one, we used a lot of the superstars that were available at that time and I was still relatively new and unsure of myself and not as confident as I was a year later when they came back. John Holmes was cast in the second one as a lifeguard, and it was a Friday in February of 1977 when he called me up and said I can’t go in that pool, they haven’t heated it and I said hmmmm… and thought very quickly because A) – I’d already paid him and would be out all that money, and B) – I figured what the Hell, I’ll try to get in the film twice.
I said 'Walk around on the deck, have them shoot you, and then go away.' He said 'Really? I said 'Yeah, I’ll take care of it' and I told the producer, 'I’ll see you on Saturday' and he trusted me so they shot some material of the girls looking at Holmes saying ‘Hey, that’s a great looking life guard’ and that was all Johnny needed to do, and he left. I then showed up on Saturday and luckily, this is obviously a little longer of a story than you’d asked for, but I’d played football that morning in a league game at a park in Hawthorne and I’d gotten a concussion. Some guy tried to kill me! I’d raised up just high enough, and got hit in the neck, had no feeling, and I was seeing spots. I was numb from top to bottom. I’m not even sure how I could drive, but I guess inertia got me there, and I said, as I was talking it was almost like hearing myself talk inside a tin can, ‘Did the girls do what I told them to do?’ and they said 'Yes', and I said ‘Well now have the girls say look at that lifeguard’ and of course I was now that lifeguard and a lot less on me than you see on me now. I was sort of cut pretty good, back in those days, and I got into the pool. I didn’t have any feeling in my body and to this day I don’t know how cold it was. I came out of the pool after I shot whatever was needed to be shot – and it was simulated so at least I didn’t have to worry about getting a hard on, but I don’t remember anything to this day, and I’ve watched the scene and don’t remember anything.
I came out of that pool deaf, and a strange color of purple that I’ve never seen on any human body before or after and I had the most incredible thirst that I’ve ever had. They were very happy and they got what they wanted and in fact, I shaved my moustache and cut my hair and then went on to appear in the movie again in the party scene. The kicker to the whole thing though and something that I’m very proud of, is that a week letter I received a letter from John C. Holmes, ‘The King,’ and he returned the money and said ‘Thank you and live long and prosper’ and he thanked me for a picture I’d given him off the wall when he came in to get the money of Warren Oates on the machine gun in The Wild Bunch. He said that I was an honorable man, and those were my sympathies towards him. He was honorable because he could have kept the money but he gave it back. That’s always been something that warms me, and to the extent that it ties into the opening comments about my being an agent because I gave him the name ‘The King’ back in 1973 and recently honored him on his sixtieth birthday at the Erotic Museum in Hollywood, because it was his sixtieth birthday on August 8, 2004, and I feel he was the most important person to ever work in the business.
NOTE: Bill shot the interview in the Protecting Adult Welfare office. He takes a moment at this point in the interview to explain the significance of the office location and of the organization.
WM: Well, we’re currently in the Protecting Adult Welfare Office. The PAW organization was established ten years ago in 1994 when Savanna, a superstar in the industry, killed herself. And I had essentially been practicing taking care of 'the kids,' I refer to all of the younger performers as kids, or because of ‘the bear mentality’ as bear cubs in the tree of X, because in the sense that when the cub falls out of the tree, I’ll pick it back up and put it back in the tree. Now, quality cubs such as a Nina Hartley or Kristy Lake or Porsche Lynn, who in fact gave me gave this bear (he holds up one of many stuffed teddy bears he has in the office) back in August of 1994 when she came to visit this office. It looks a little bit like a gorilla, ha ha, but it’s been here ever since and it’s one of the few bears that I would not give away. When a person comes to get a bear and wants to take one home, it’s interesting because there are sentiments on the wall which you’ll hear about later that say things like ‘have you hugged a friend today’ and ‘a hug is a very important three letter word.’ The bear means an awful lot to me, and I have kept it as a symbol of Protecting Adult Welfare because Teddy Bears are the very first thing that you talk to as a baby in your crib. You roll over and trust your Teddy Bear before you trust your parents.
We’re located at 4523 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and right down at the end of the hall is World Modeling, which as I like to refer to it is the center of the universe for the adult entertainment industry. It’s Jim South’s office and it’s been an honor and a privilege being here for ten years and doing what I’ve been doing for ten years and I hope that I'm here for another hundred years if possible doing what I do best – which is taking 'the kids' into my office so that they have a place to come to. Usually the bears will fall on your (referring to the couch he’s sitting on that has a lot of bears on top of and around it) and if you really want one there’s lots of them for you to take home with you. I’m proudest of a picture that appeared in the LA Times and throughout the world of Lara Roxx, one of the latest HIV victims who came here on the day she found out she had HIV. She came here and took a bear off the couch and took it home with her, and there’s a picture of her sitting at her home in Montreal with that bear being interviewed. It’s interesting because the day before that picture came out, one of my enemies, and we don’t really need to discuss them too much, ridiculed me for giving out teddy bears and there’s a picture that I believe is a Pulitzer Prize winning picture of a woman and her bear and she finds solace, there’s a great deal of solace no matter how battered they are, because they don’t lie to you and you can trust them, and you can also hug them and get a big kick out of that. This is a very battered bear that no one has ever wanted to take home, but someday someone will. Up above (Margold points to a large hanging of the infamous picture of the girls raising the American flag Iwo Jima style) me is what I think is the most important thing that I’ve ever created in this business and something that I believe will be the icon image of the adult industry in perpetuity and that’s the flag raising shot from 1991 but we’ll get to that in a bit when I’m asked about important people in my life!
IJ: What was the turning point at which getting more attractive people to perform in front of the camera became a viable option, and who do you think was the first true beauty to appear in porn?
WM: The X-rated industry was underground when I got into it, in fact I remember meeting with Reb who ran Sunset International who said ‘You know, you can go to jail for this’ and we had pretty people in the business, and we had people who took the chance and made X-rated movies in the early generation of this industry like Sandy Cary, Sandy Dempsey, Cindy Summers who I thought was spectacularly beautiful, Chambers, Lovelace who wasn’t beautiful but was in the right place at the right time. I think that the first great beauty to come into this business, about the same time they came into the industry, and that’s Annette Haven, and I once said that if we printed our own currency Annette Haven would be the face on the million dollar bill but around the same time I take a great deal of credit for discovering Kelly Nichols. I have always said she’s one of the most incredible, breath taking beauties in this industry.
Because the industry was illegal and against the idiotic law, we were considered panderers, the great beauties of this business didn’t come in as fast as they do now, but understand that with the advent of performers like Annette Haven and Kelly Nichols, and Haven I think was the first true beauty of the industry, and I have a personal investment of having found Kelly Nichols when she walked into my office on Hollywood Blvd., and she was one of the most beautiful people to walk in, but I think it’s easier now for beautiful people to come in. I discovered Seka in 1978 and she’s considered a beauty, and what I said to her is in reverse now – I said I’ll start you out as hamburger and turn you into filet mignon, whereas now the beauties pour into this business as filet mignon but the tragedy of it is that they’re rendered into hamburger within six months. I would sooner start them as hamburger and work them up the ladder rather than start them at the top of the ladder and watch them fall all the way down to the bottom.
IJ: Were the dubbing artists for the Swedish Erotica silent loops as familiar as they sound?
WM: I spent days in sound studios hyper ventilating for orgasms and making voices for a lot of the silent loops that were made for Swedish Erotica. The interesting thing about it is that I was the voice for John Holmes in a lot of those because nobody else wanted to be his voice. I’m not sure why. But his getting off, his orgasms, his grunts, because Holmes had this scrunched up orgasm face as if he was ejaculating cement out of his dick, and I had to go through that and if you do it long enough you want to pass out at the end of the damn orgasm!
IJ: Did the makers of those films use standard library tracks for the music or were those compositions original?
WM: The industry has always been known for ripping off whatever it could, cause why shouldn’t it, but there’s an awful lot of Ennio Morricone’s music and Vangelis music plus of course all the classics are in a number of movies. During the golden era certain people took pride in writing music for the movies, but for the most part there was no time to be bothered with that, and again, Ennio Morricone can be given a lot of credit for backing many of the Johnny Wadd movies! Obscure Ennio Morricone tracks! I remember walking in on Bob Chin one day and he was editing something and I said ‘That’s The Big Gundown and he said ‘You recognize that?’ and I said ‘It’s an obscure but a good Morricone score.’
IJ: Which do you consider the finest of the man films you’ve appeared in and which one do you think turned out to be the least successful?
WM: As far as my own ego, which I get to talk about now, my best movie because of its regeneration, would be The Disco Dolls In Hot Skin In 3-D. It recently played in some midnight screenings, appalling many of my friends with my activities as Harry Balls. Harry Balls who? Anybody he can. What Balls? No, Harry Balls! A totally conscious-less almost weasel-esque character who will screw anyone who gets in his way and kill whatever else gets in his way. At the end of it I’m punished when my dick gets bit off and spit out into the audience by Pat Manning, it was a sausage. I guess Harry’s my favorite character and Disco Dolls is my favorite product of all time, but I’m also partial to the derangement I created in Weekend Fantasy which has scared people. I also really like Lust Inferno, where I’m an absolutely hypocritical televangelist, and my greatest ad line by the way, ‘Brought them to their knees... but not to pray.’
Now, as far as some of my worst movies, I don’t think I’ve made my worst one yet, but I’ve made some pretty bad films because no one seemed to care what I did. I’m un-directable. It’s interesting, I mentioned the 3-D movie Disco Dolls, but in the very near future another one of my 3-D movies is coming which I don’t think is all that good because it’s a patchwork quilt wherein I play a gladiator and chicken and I sing. I don’t do anything sexual because I think that would be akin to bestiality, but I’m pretty bad in that movie. I’m pretty bad in a lot of my movies. I’ve never, ever aspired to be an actor, I play myself and play with myself very well, but I am not a trained professional actor such as Jamie Gillis, John Leslie or my all time favorite Jerry Butler. I just simply take a character and eviscerate him one way or another on the screen, and make him compelling enough, like a traffic accident, to watch.
IJ: How did you become involved in the Protecting Adult Welfare foundation and what does this organization provide for performers? You’re also very active with the Fans Of X-Rated
Entertainment and the Free Speech Coalition. How did this involvement come about?
WM: My organization involvements commence with the first of the organizations that I’ve created, and I’ve always created things spontaneously, begin by looking out for the unwashed massed of the adult entertainment industry. FOXE, or Fans Of X-Rated Entertainment, not so much created by me but inspired by Viper, who we haven’t spoken about yet, my one great love in the world of all time, came essentially by accident. I was always trying to sneak fans into the XRCO shows. I created that organization too, the X-Rated Critics Organization, that’s another one of my creations along with Jim Holliday and a couple of other paladins as we called them. But, FOXE came about when a little old man named Albert Muckerman showed up at the door and said he had to go to the XRCO Awards, and of course at that point the fans weren’t being invited but I was sneaking a few in every year. He gave us $300.00, Viper and I, and I said 'That’s seed money for an organization.' It was going to be called Fans Of X, and at that point I figured FOX, but 20th Century and the TV channel which came later would probably sue us so I added an E to the end of it. FOXE at this point has had thirteen award shows and will be having its fourteenth show on February 20th of 2005.
Now I was involved at the same time with the Adult Video Association which would evolve into the Free Speech Coalition and really while indeed I spent fifteen years of my life – a quarter of my life - with the Free Speech Coalition preceded by the Adult Video Association, I was never completely comfortable working for the establishment. I am really very anti-establishment which validates my rebelliousness, which validates that I believe that the five most important letters in the X-rated industry are R-E-B-E-L, which validates my statement that this is really an overage version of Juvenile Hall where recess is twenty four hours a day and the bell of responsibility never rings.
Now, I still will work for the FSC because I believe in preserving the letter X in the entertainment alphabet. In 1994, although I’d been practicing counseling with ‘the kids’ for a long, long time, the death of Savanna allowed me to challenge the FSC and make them finance what would become PAW. I always remember being hostilely looked upon when Lenny Freelander, the then president of the FSC said to me way down at the end of the boardroom table that he was at ‘You won’t be paid for this’ to which I responded ‘There is no dollar sign in the word cause.’ He hit the table so hard that everyone ran off from it and he wanted to get rid of me at that point because I was just making way too much trouble. The nature of what I do is not to make trouble but to get things done right, and if I have to force people’s hands to make them realize that their hand shouldn’t always be in their own pocket playing with their own money and that they should donate some of it to help out the performers, without the performers and without the fans, there is not a business. I’ve been trying to teach the industry that for an awful long time. They turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the fact that they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the great unwashed masses whom I protect.
IJ: You not only worked as an actor but as a writer and a director as well. Which aspect of the industry do you enjoy the most and why?
WM: Well, what I wanted to do when I came into the X-rated industry was, and this was coined by Playboy, was to become the ‘renaissance man.’ I never wanted to be just one thing. I never wanted to be just an actor because then I would have to concentrate on getting up, getting in, getting out and getting off over and over and over again and to be a male performer in this business is nowhere near as easy as you think it is. In fact, I challenge you out there to get up, get in, get out, get off on cue. To give you the perfect give baseball analogy, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, full count and you can’t even foul off a ball. So I take credit for about five hundred performances in front of the camera - five hundred hard-ons and five hundred ejaculations. I could also mention other ones that I’m not even getting credit for but I put together a good career as a performer in front of the camera.
I sensed early on that I could, quite frankly, be a writer. I'd always wanted to be a writer so I started putting that together. The first movie I ever appeared in October of, well… wait… in August of 1972 I appeared in The Goddaughter but that’s a whole unique circumstance where I only appeared in the movie to get killed and I really didn’t do much in that movie except act terribly, die badly, as the director said because I took forever to hit the ground as the bullets were going off around me and finally someone ran up and stabbed me in the back, and performed my first sex scene by accident. But on October first, 1972 on rug in Venice, California in a movie I wrote, but didn’t get paid for writing it or appearing in it, I performed my first act of hardcore oral sex where a woman blew me and got me off and I thought that was kind of cool. Then I went up north on October second to San Francisco, on my birthday, my twenty-ninth birthday to be exact, and had five orgasms in seven hours and they were thrilled because obviously I could perform. But I didn’t want to just perform.
I wanted to write these movies and then learned from watching other people what directing was all about, that is, indeed, if you can call it directing. I refer to it as herding naked cattle in a one way tunnel because once you get the cattle in there they’re not going to be turning around anyway, so you just run them to the end of the one way tunnel and get your movie done.
Because I am, I guess you can call me a film reviewer, I write a column every week, for first the Hollywood Press then L.A. Express about movies, I love movies, I’ve always loved movies and I look at them from a different point of view, and I’m referring to mainstream movies, I’ve been writing legitimate mainstream movie reviews since 1968. I have a column called Cinema Seen which I’ve developed into my own mantra, and personal revelation. I will sometimes write more about me than the movie because I find that sometimes I am more interesting than the film that I’m reviewing.
If you read my pages consistently you’ll learn that I really know how to review films. I have a really good, I believe, professional background in writing movie reviews, and they’ve taught me what to watch out for and what to look for in making movies by watching other people’s mistakes. So give me a chance to direct something and I’ll bring more to the table than some other people would because of my background. When I do direct behind the camera I direct with the eye of an editor. I like to see the movie flow, because I’m a story teller and I believe a very good story teller, but to describe the most fun I’ve ever had in this business? I would like to think doing what I do now. Being interviewed by you about what I do is the zenith of how I get high, which of course leads to another situation – I’ve never taken a drug in my life because the only drug I need in my life is me. If I get worn out, I go to sleep and I recharge on myself.
IJ: Why are you known as the renaissance man of porn and how did you get this title?
WM: I was given the title 'renaissance man of porn' by Playboy about 1981, which really didn’t make much sense as I’d only been in the business nine years but even by then, which I told them in an interview, I wanted to do everything and not just one thing. I wanted to learn every facet of this business. Not so much the economic facets, but the creative facets because I always knew, not understanding money very well, that money wasn’t the reason I was in this, and it certainly wasn’t an issue of sexuality because to perform sex in front of the camera is so mechanical that you have to desensitize yourself and become a machine.
I wanted to do it for immortality and I thought that the fastest way to become immortal was to do everything as well as I could and to become recognized for that. Plus, I have the facility to speak about this business in ways that other people can’t because of my sound bites, including the most famous one of all – in a society that is drug infested, violence racked, and polluted by chemical greed, no one has ever died from an overdose of pornography.
I notice, reading back on my own memoirs, that I had come up with that quote ten years before I even said it in front of the Meese Commission and immortalized it, which is amazing. I am very, very consistent with what I say about this business, very little of what I’ve wanted to change in this business has changed in my opinion. I want to raise the age to twenty one, I want to now bring drug testing into the business and eradicate the escort services, and I want to one day have a porn tax. Those things alone reflect the diversity of a person interested in all capacities of the industry and therefore justify my acting, writing, directing, activism, agent spokesperson – renaissance man.
IJ: You’ve also worked in a large capacity as an agent and been responsible for launching some real name stars within the industry, like Bunny Bleu and even Seka. How does one go about discovering starlets for adult films?
WM: Well, there are two ingredients as an agent that I looked for and as a person in the industry even now looking for new talent. You always have to be looking for new talent because you have to regenerate, you have to re-grow and re-grow, re-birth and re-birth. I look at a person who comes to see me, and they learn about me through my reputation after thirty years that I basically look for two ingredients, one of which is very difficult, to make them a superstar and I will do everything I can to adopt them and adapt them into this industry.
The first is being born hot. If there’s nothing there and I can’t see a fire in their eyes that ignites their soul, I can’t ignite an extinguished piece of coal. But if the fire is there, it excites them and the rebellion and the mischievousness is in their eyes, then I will nurture them as best I can and watch over them as best I can. I had a pretty good track record starting with Serena back in 1973, Kelly Nichols, Seka in 1978, Tiffany Clark, Pat Manning, Jennifer West, Bunny Bleu was an interesting one, she came into my office and I gave her that name. I also gave a lot of people their names. Brandy Alexander, Lee Carroll, Drea who I married, so she would leave! Then of course in 1986 the great one walks into my life, that’s Viper, and that’s a whole different thing there, but at least it proves that when Viper left five years later that I discovered I had a heart because she broke it.
The second ingredient that I look for is, and it’s interesting I mention Viper, is an ingredient that really only a half dozen people in this industry have ever had, and I think that Viper had it and I’m not being prejudicial, and that’s camera magnetism. When a person walks into a room with a hundred beautiful people the camera finds her and doesn’t see anyone else. The most volcanic, the hottest and most incendiary of all time I had nothing to do with bringing into the industry, and that would be Torri Wells. I would start my franchise with Torri Wells, she’d be my first round draft choice. I believe she has this primal DNA that dates back to the beginning of time and there’s something about her that just seers your senses and she stole every scene she was ever in. That’s the greatest ingredient that an adult performer has.
IJ: How did the Meese Commission of the 1980s affect not only the industry but the lives of those working within the industry?
WM: The Meese Commission of 1984 and 1985 was out to prove that the X-rated industry was the reason that everything in society was going to Hell, that we were corrupting the morays of society, that we were basically destroying the goodness in society when in fact society was already rotten to the core when the Meese Commission showed up, and in fact the Meese Commission proved very little.
It did however provide me with my first great international platform where I had a chance to speak to the people for forty-five minutes where I gave my famous quote, ‘no one ever died from an overdose of pornography.’ Then I waited for their questions and answered them, I think, very handily and debunking one myth after another, and then offering them the opportunity to raise the age to twenty one years old and to create a porn tax. I hadn’t really come up with the idea of drug testing at that point because we really weren’t in a position to worry about it then and escort services at that point didn’t really exist, but I spent forty-five minutes in front of those people and when it was over, Barry Lynn of the ACLU came over to me and said ‘I wish I could speak like that to those people but I wear a suit.’ That sort of told me quite frankly that the X-rated industry is all alone on the island X, on the island of Madagascar to use the symbolism of the game of Risk, and that nobody, the other twenty five letters of the alphabet, wants to help us so we have to help ourselves.
This brings up another interesting point, and brings it up to now. The re-election of Bush gives the X-rated industry, and this is very topical for anyone wanting to know what’s going on right now, this gives the X-rated industry the greatest chance that we’ve ever had to absolutely cement ourselves into the firmament by making some compromises within our own industry. We’ve always had to compromise anyway and we’ve learned to compromise within the thirty years that we’ve existed but now if we play ball with the government just enough to let them know that we are a multi-billion dollar business, that we provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and pay millions of dollars worth of taxes to just leave us alone, or absorb us in to the mainstream.
The way you allow this to happen is back the plate and raise the age of entrance for performing to twenty one years old, encourage us to pursue intravenous drug testing, help us eradicate the escort services. I’ve brought this up many times and you may have no idea what I’m talking about but understand that until August of 1988, with the Freeman decision, we were considered prostitutes and many of us went to jail. I went to jail many times for making movies, I was never convicted of anything, I was arrested-put in-bailed out, then arrested-put in-bailed out again, but I was always having this guillotine of stupidity hanging over my head because we were breaking the law. I always thought that in those days, the analogy I’ll give you is to think of Les Miserables, we were the Jean Valjean, and the vice cops were the Gendarmes and we had loaves of bread between our legs. Thanks to Hal Freeman, who I think has died pursuing his freedom, we were adjudicated to now be legitimate actors and actresses. What’s happened is that many of the actresses have taken their freedom and squandered it by being escorts which is, in essence, prostitution and I do not condone that. I am not a moralist I’m not censoring them I’m reminding them that they’re breaking the law. If there were legalized prostitution, I’d be the first in line to sign the petition, but since it’s not legal escorting is prostitution and you can go to jail for that and the X-rated industry cannot protect you.
IJ: A lot of adult film industry stars have tried to branch out into mainstream acting. Ron Jeremy has appeared in all sorts of things and Jamie Gillis even appeared in Night of the Zombies II, sort of. But you’ve never really seemed to try that. Is a mainstream career anything you’ve ever seriously tried to obtain, and why or why not?
WM: I guess one of the eternal dreams as a person grows up is to be a movie star, but I’m not sure that I ever aspired to that. I think that my contentment was established when I saw myself on the screen in my first adult movie. Whether or not I ever aspired to go further than that, I’m not sure I ever thought about it. I guess everyone wants to do it and if it were offered to me on a legitimate, real, guaranteed basis, well, that’s a hard answer.
I’m not sure but I think that my lack of contempt for the real world because they hold us in contempt, keeps me contented on the island of X. I’ve ventured off into the real world a couple of times and am amused by looking at myself. I know that I am not, per se, an actor, but I think that my interviews and documentaries and appearances on various TV shows and magazine, radio interviews, I’ve appeared enough in the mainstream to be noticed, and many specials feature me on VH1, MTV, Court TV, and the E! Channel specials on peoples’ lives in this business. That’s enough for me. I don’t think there’s anything that would benefit me in the real world and I really think that it would be hypocritical of me at this point in time to go on to the real world which leads me of course to this whole situation of people thinking they can come into the X-rated industry and use it as a stepping stone into the mainstream media. So far no one has really crossed over, but we have had the phenomena of Ron Jeremy. He invited me to appear in Cobra, the Stallone movie, and I said 'Thank you, no.' I’ve been an extra in a few mainstream movies and I’ve been an advisor. I saw Cobra and you know how much of Ron Jeremy was in Cobra? The back of his head. And I said, you were going to take me there so the back of my head can be in a movie?
It’s interesting that in the 70s when they needed something of the adult industry my dear friend Titus Moody was usually approached to create footage that they would insert into a movie such as Special Delivery. We shot something, myself and Diane St. Clair, for a movie that had Cybil Shepherd and Bo Svenson in it, and there’s a scene in a theater and on the screen, behind the action in the theater, are Diane St. Clair and myself going through the motions of something. So I guess my hand is one movie. I don’t know. There’s always that desire. It’s a tough question you’ve asked. I guess it would be fun, but would I really benefit from it? I think I’ve gained enough recognition in my own area. Why do I want to be in somebody else’s mole hill when I’m marginally at the top of my own mountain? That’s an interesting question…
I’m in Foul Play, the movie where Dudley Moore turns on the 8mm projector, I’m in that. I’m also in the same movie as Tom Cruise, a movie called Losing It, a movie shot in Tijuana. My mainstream experiences are thanks to Titus Moody for the most part. Foul Play is a great example of how the real world didn’t know how to hide us. You’ll see me and two ladies when Dudley Moore turns on the projector for Goldie Hawn. I don’t know who they were but they were fun to roll around with. In it they’re terrified of my appendage so I’m sort of buried between them and only my ass appears on screen. In a movie called Special Delivery, I’m feeling up Diana St. Clair and her breasts are covered by my hands as Bo Svenson is in a shoot out in the theater.
I think the one I enjoyed the most is I share screen time with Tom Cruise in a movie called Losing It. We created an entire scenario where I’m a pool man, and then Drea’s coming home and tempting me. I fall into the pool and then we run upstairs and fool around in her apartment. Then supposedly her husband comes home so I jump out the window of her apartment and back into the pool. That plays over and over and over at the Tijuana bar and I share screen time with Tom Cruise. That’s basically the extent of my mainstream cinematic career. A poster of me appears in the movie Hardcore with George C. Scott, and that was payback for being a sort of technical advisor on that movie. For the most part my mainstream career is less of a stream and more of a riddling.
IJ: You worked with John Holmes before he died quite a few times and also worked on The Angel In Mr. Holmes. How do you feel about the recent resurgence by interest in his work brought about by films like Boogie Nights and Wonderland?
WM: It’s interesting to note that I gave John C. Holmes the nickname ‘The King’ as far back as 1973, to which he was shocked but I told him then what I’ll tell you know, he was the most important person in the X-rated industry. I have been accused of idolizing the man when in fact I simply pay homage to the man who is the most important person and the legend of this industry.
I think the point and fact is that in the recent years we’ve had Boogie Nights, a.k.a. Mark Walberg playing Dirk Diggler, interestingly at the end Diggler pulls out a huge prosthetic because Holmes was a man of no equal, we’re talking about an appendage from my elbow down. Documentaries are constantly being made about him, and most recently was Wonderland, which was done by James Cox, he directed it, and I called him the day after I saw Wonderland and I thanked him because it had nothing to do with the X-rated industry, it had to do with the horrors of drugs. I loathe drugs and of course it had to do with the murders in Laurel Canyon which of course magnified the legend of John Holmes even more. Without him none of us would be here and without him you wouldn’t be reading this interview because you wouldn’t care about the X-rated industry. He brought it into the mainstream single-dickedly. There are unsung heroes of the era, Rick Cassidy, Rick Lutz, but it was Holmes who brought us up close and personal with the acceptance of mainstream society. You have your Chambers’, and you have your Lovelace’s, but there no one like John Holmes. He made every woman want him and every man want to be him.
IJ: You debated Linda Lovelace on her claims that her work in XXX films was forced. How do you feel about this looking back on things a few years since her passing?
WM: Linda Lovelace was extremely important to this business because she was in the right place at the right time. While not particularly attractive, she’s important because she was in the most important movie ever made in this industry, and that of course was Deep Throat.
Lovelace’s fame was meteoric and as fast as it rose it crashed. She then turned on the business and I had the fortune to debate her on TV where she claims she was forced to perform fellatio, well, let’s say she said she was forced to suck cock with a gun to her head. I said isn’t it true that the teeth are faster than the trigger finger. Somehow after that was said, with the satellite she was being beamed into the ABC studios in Hollywood on, it went off the air. I thought that was interesting.
A year later, I was in England promoting a book called Porn Gold about the state of affairs in the adult industry in the 1980s. I heard a phone call which has always made me very happy, that they called Linda and offered her the chance to come to England to debate on the show. They’d have flown her over on the Concord. She was all thrilled until she asked who she’d be debating and they said William Margold and she said ‘I can’t beat him, I’m not coming.’
Then, of course, Linda continued to rail against the industry and then she died. I have a certain amount of guilt about this, because when I developed a concept called the Legends Of Erotica - The 52 Most Important People Of All Time In The Business, I excluded her because she had been an enemy of the industry. I now totally and absolutely regret it. I basically voiced that regret on the stage at Showgirl Video a couple of years ago when I inducted her into the Legends of Erotica post-humusly. She’s not however on the deck of cards that I’m designing, and neither is the God-awful Tracey Lords for justifiable reasons, neither is Viper because I felt it was too personal, and neither am I going to be considered a Legend of Erotica because I perceived the concept and therefore I shouldn’t be a part of it.
IJ: Where do you draw the line in your work? Is there a personal boundary where you say ‘Hey, this is too much’ and has that boundary changed since your career has changed?
WM: Well what we do here is consenting adult material by consenting adults for consenting adults. Of course I abhor anything remotely associated with child pornography, that’s of course another reason why I want to raise the age from eighteen to twenty-one because I think a lot of these people who come in at eighteen are still children. They’re not ready to accept the sociological damnation of being an adult performer. It could haunt you the rest of you life in ways you can never dream of. This is an indelible business, and the immortality is the only reason to do it. We don’t deal with animals, at least I never did, and we as an industry abhor that as well. I wouldn’t put my career at risk in the teeth of an animal who wouldn’t be thrilled about working with me – that’s kind of a sarcastic way of putting it, but it’s true.
Abhorrent violence is an interesting point. I’ve offended some of my closest associates in scenes I’ve done back in the 70s but I’ll tell you why I did those scenes – our industry was considered illegal at the time anyway, how illegal is abhorrent violence when it’s down with consenting adults? I think some of my best work was at that point in time. There are two reasons why the adult industry exists. The first is obvious, and that’s as masturbatory catharsis for the masses. The other is what I refer to as vicarious revenge. It’s a point I continued to bring up as I ejaculated copiously into the face of one beautiful woman after the other in my early days because I was exacting a vicarious revenge for the male viewer who would have liked to have done something like that to the cheerleader that he could never get. As I’ve grown older and perhaps wiser though never grown up completely I realize that in order to survive in the industry, compromises must be made with the governing bodies that would like to eradicate us completely.
If we continue to force degradation and perversion of any kind, beating the Hell out of fellow performers and doing things to them that the human body isn’t really able to withstand – what I refer to know as the fear factor of X, perpetrating violence and derogatory situations upon them – why do we need to do that anymore when we can simply have sex without making sex derogatory or making sex dirty in the sense of defiling and dehumanizing people and basically physically hurting them? In a recent interview I once said what’s going happen when one of these people breaks? When they take so many penii, interesting term, so many dicks are shoved into them at one time that the body gives up and capitulates. What are they going to do when someone rips apart? When so many dicks are shoved into one hole? I’m being a little graphic but so many of the people making these movies these days have no business even going anywhere near a video camera, many of them have lost site of what creativity is and because they can’t create they’re frustrated and because they’re frustrated they just do whatever they can to shock. Eventually they’re just going to deal in physical pain, and I will not tolerate that.
Back in the 70s, the people who made the movies were considered criminals, but the people who showed the movies and distributed the movies were not. Unless the movies were patently obscene, and most of them were not, they could be shown freely and could be sold in bookstores. But we were criminals for being in the movies. When we became legal in 1988, the violence was one of the things we gave up doing. Now, since the people who were this business are no longer around, the people who’ve become the modern filmmakers have turned back to violence out of their frustration from their inability to create.
They’re doing bad things to people, making them cry, making them feel like pieces of meat, and they’re being brutalized and mistreated. They’re brutalized to the point of a lack of common sense. What we need to practice is 'common sense-orship.' These people do not need to be put into a fear factor of X, they don’t need to be penetrated over and over and over again, or the human body and the human mind will break and when you break their spirits and their minds you have nothing left. A lot of the vacancy in this business is readily apparent now, and a lot of the drugs that are in this business now are painkillers so that the girls don’t even know what they’re being put through, they’re just vacant. That, to me, is abhorrent. I’m not censoring, it’s interesting I was accused by one filmmaker of censoring him, but I’m not censoring this business, I’m criticizing this business because I’ve earned the right to criticize it and if you don’t like it, that’s your problem, and theirs as well.
I’m mad about that. It’s upsetting me that people will come to see me and cry and I don’t know how to strike back, and I’m suggesting to people that they get out of this business before they become eliminated from this business. A lot of these people, if they don’t want to play ball with the possible rules handed down to them, will find themselves behind bars which is maybe where they belong and there they’ll find themselves rendered into the same pieces of meat that they rendered their performers into.
If I were given the opportunity to create within the realms of common sense what I refer to as Saturday Afternoon Matinees for adults, I would know how to justify the violence in the movie without dragging it into the sexual areas. You can have what you wanted as a child – violence on the playground – and you can have what you want as an adult – sensuality and sexuality and eroticism. You just don’t need to blend them together. You can have shoot outs and you can have sex, just don’t blend them into the same scene.
That’s what tends to ruffle the feathers of a society. If you cut off a breast in a horror movie that’s rated R, you get the sanctification of an R rating, but if you kiss that same breast, you may end up getting an X. Because of course, that’s the bottom line why the X-rated industry exists, in our society we’re a very ignorant society towards sex, unlike the more open minded Europeans who have been dying for so long that they’ll censor violence, they will give an X to my favorite movie of all time, The Wild Bunch. But as far as sex, it’s so common and so ordinary and so healthy that they revere it and they’ll give that a PG-13 perhaps. We are so profitable because society is downright guilty when it comes to human sexuality.
There’s a great movie I saw a few weeks ago called Kinsey and I cried throughout that film, and I will write an eloquent review for it, because Kinsey added the letter E and justified the E in sex, and I guess I’ve put the X in sex, so I guess I’m just waiting for someone to add the S and we’ve got the perfect triumvirate.
IJ: Off the top of your head, what’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on the set of a porn film?
WM: Making porn films or adult films in general has always been kind of crazy. I think though that it didn’t happen to me so much on the set as it did when I went to see my very first movie. It is the craziest thing that happened because I was devastated. I’d been in a movie called The Goddaughter in August of 1972 and by the summer of 1973 the movie came out, it was finished. I went off to the Pussycat Theater on Hill St. and I took my roommate at that point, my girlfriend, because I was so proud that I was going to see myself in an X-rated movie. She wasn’t too happy about going, but I dragged her down there to watch me and I’m sitting in the theater, the movie goes on, plays completely, and not one single moment of me was on screen. I fell out of my chair onto the floor, I was devastated, and to fall on the floor of an X-rated theater you’re taking a risk with the health of your life, and I was stuck to the floor for a while and then I pried myself up. At that point, the movie continues and all the reels I’m in are playing. So I went out and told the manager of the theater and said ‘Hey, your reels are out of order’ and he said ‘Who cares? Nobody watches them.’ So, I was doubly devastated that not only was I out of order but I wasn’t even being watched. Years later I’d start to get a kick out of seeing myself on the screen and it was really a lot of fun.
On camera, the craziest thing that ever happened was in a movie called Pink Champagne, where I’m having my dick sucked by Lisa DeLeeuw, I popped and it went over her head and disappeared. I’d been pretty built up and there was a lot of pressure. No one knew where it went except for the second cameraman who noticed it went into the eye of Tawny Pearl who was a good ten feet away. It zoomed across the room, disappeared into another part of the room where a scene was being shot and hit Tawny Pearl right in the eye. It was very cute, no one knew where it was until the second cameraman said ‘I got it’ and there it is in the film, a pop shot in her eye.
There was another moment in Dracula Sucks where while I was having sex with Pat Manning, I’m the deranged attendant and Pat is one of the higher echelons of Dracula, she’s an elegant lady, and in comes an assistant who decides to feed us chicken soup while we’re doing a scene, which has nothing to do with the movie. This guy’s totally oblivious to what’s going on around him. It’s enough having to keep your mind on your erection but now I’ve got this idiot that I have to throw off the set in the middle of my scene. This guy, an adult, finally I told him to get the Hell out of the goddamn room and he was whining as he left.
Humorous events are constant in the industry because quite frankly the whole thing is a joke. I think that’s’ the reason I always laugh at the end of all my on camera orgasms because I’m getting away with something and people take it so seriously. Getting paid for it was always amusing because I never really cared if I got paid for it or not. The sexual pleasure, well, the orgasm feels pretty good but the rest of it is all detaching my mind from the moment or I would finish and it’d be all over. Whether or not I’ll perform again, well, there’s no challenge. It’s not illegal anymore. I know I could still get up, get in, get out, get off on cue and do the money shot. If I ever do another series like Margold’s Meat Wagon I guess I’ll have to perform. Other than that, it’d have to be an unusual circumstance to get me to show off my tonnage at this point in my life. I’m no longer the man with the svelte body that I had in Disco Dolls twenty-five years ago where you could see my ribs. You can’t see them anymore, and that bothers me. Thank God I can see a few other things though, cause when I can’t see that anymore then I’m really in trouble!
IJ: A question I’m sure you get all the time, but who are your favorite performers to work with both male and female, and why?
WM: To talk about favorite performers I’d have to give a split level answer. The one I enjoyed having sex with the most was a woman named Danielle Martin. It was like having sex inside of an oven, I’ve never been with anything that hot in my life. She was a raspy little blonde with a tattoo on her hand. I’d known of her but never worked with her until Intimate Lessons. I had such fun with her on an orgy scene that the next day, for a different orgy scene we weren’t even really on camera and I asked her if I could fuck her and she said you sure, it was fun last night let’s do it again. I don’t think that the camera sees any of us during that scene but I didn’t care because I was having a really good time.
My favorites? Serena, she was my first great love and become a sort of spiritually adopted sister. Diana St. Claire who I refer to as Baby, and Diana St. Claire was one of the most sexual people I’ve ever been with. I hope that somewhere down the line she sees this and smiles. She was a little older than me and knew more about sex than I could ever learn in a hundred lifetimes and just gave me one ride after another with pure passion. Later on in my career I’d like to say Viper but I was so scared of what she’d do to me on camera particularly in an intercourse scene that all I ever got out of that were a few fun blowjobs. But Viper had a habit of ripping people apart. One day she said why haven’t we had sex on camera? I said because I won’t let you steal a scene from me, and she said ‘You’re a very bad bear, but you’re right’ and I knew I was right.
You know, something Viper said that about why she got into the X-rated industry was so that she could have sex with ten thousand men at the same time rather than just one. I’ve taken that and paraphrased it and said that I’ve had sex for ten thousand men at one time, rather than just one. I know I’ve been talking a lot about Viper a lot. I mention her whenever I can and I write about her in articles whenever I can because when you’re lucky enough to have one great love in your life you revere that love for the rest of your life. This has nothing to do with this interview, but it’d be nice if you'd put it in there.
Since then, you have to understand as a male you can’t really get into a lot of the sex you’re doing because if you do you’ll lose control so for the most part you’re having sex with yourself, rather than with a woman who is at the extension of your dick. Seka was a lot of fun to work with and we had a sort of mutual admiration in that we knew our limits. Seka knew I was very mechanical so she could do whatever she wanted to me and I’d pop. The famous blowjob scene in Immorals #2 with Lynn LeMay even she admits was more than she could handle because my dick wasn’t behaving at the time. Whatever she did to it I simply laughed at her and she put my dick through some interesting tortures and I told her I get up when I want to get up and I get off when I want to get off and she was trying to get me off before I wanted to.
The worst I ever worked with, and that’s easy enough to remember, was Lee Caroll who was probably the first and one of the best female friends I ever had in this business but it was like sticking my dick into a washing machine with snarling spitting and biting and scratching going on, on top of that. This was a woman who hated sex and was a woman I would pay not to have sex with!
Now as far as male performers, the one I admire the most and idolize the most is absolutely Jamie Gillis. I have said that I wish now I that I had been a bisexual because in a heart beat I’d have gone to bed with Jamie but I’m sure he’d have regretted it because I can barely manipulate my own dick and I don’t’ know that I’d know what to do with somebody else’s. I have a horrible feeling I would rip it off or do something bad to it and then the person would hate me so I’m probably better off playing with my own dick as poorly as I do, and leaving that part of my sexual adventuring as more fantasy than fact. I just don’t think I’d be a good gay lover, I’m very clumsy. Sharon Thorpe, who’d worked with Holmes many times, basically accused me of being too big, too clumsy, and too awkward a lover. This was a woman who had inhaled ‘The King’ vaginally, orally, and maybe even anally, but accused me of being way too painful and way too big for her when in fact I don’t begin to measure up to ‘The King.’
So favorites… Danielle Martin, favorite actor of all time, my idol Jamie Gillis. Danielle Martin? Go look her up in the books and you’ll see what I mean. There was something incendiary, she was another one like Torri Wells. People I wished I’d worked with? Marilyn Chambers, I would have loved to have climbed into that. I like tomboys, small breasted tomboy-esque woman, and she’s quintessential tomboy. I’ve always thought about what it would be like to work with Torri Wells. That would have probably been a real adventure for me and I probably wouldn’t be here right now if I had. There were, however, a couple of woman that because of their stature in this business and the way I looked up on them that I refused to work with. Kay Parker, because she was the queen and I felt I was more of a court jester and court jesters don’t have sex with the queen.
Tracey Adams who was the heir apparent to Kay Parker, and then Sharon Kane because my cosmic brother and probably my best fiend of all time, Jim Holliday, had a certain passion for her that I felt I would violate our own relationship if I dared to have sex with the person I believe that he cared for the most in this business. Given the opportunity to have sex with her once in a movie called Inner Blues I absolutely said no to the director and she said thank you. She knew why. I’m sure that Kane would be an experience that I would treasure but I just felt that it wasn’t the right thing to do. Strange that I bring this up because I guess it puts me in sort of a moralistic light that you probably don’t expect from an adult industry person who many of you might think I have no morals or no ethics but you know that looking at my political stance that I’m the most conservative liberal you’ll ever meet. I think the only good drug dealer is a dead drug dealer, and yet I’m absolutely totally pro abortion, pro legal prostitution and quite frankly I’d even be pro drugs if they were legalized because then nobody would take them, but because they’re illegal and they kill people… again I come from the background of working in juvenile hall and while I was working in juvenile hall I saw kids die in front of me from overdoses and I think that’ll sober you up about your affections towards drugs if you see somebody whose totally helpless die from them and I learned a lot about drugs from that. I’ve never taken a drug in my life except me, I take myself on a regular basis and that is the supreme high and the interview is a supreme high because that is me coming in to your life. You can turn me off if you want, but I bet you won’t.
NOTE: At this point in the interview, the cameraman makes the following comment:
"It’s interesting that you bring up morality, because you have a very deep moral sense, you just happen to believe society’s morality is out all fucked up…."
And he has the good sense to just let the camera role and to let Bill say what he wants to say...
WM: This is a blame oriented society we live in and the adult entertainment industry is the whipping boy for all of society’s ills, pornography is the supreme polluter of a mindless mind of society. The paradox is that society is nowhere near as bright as it used to be. It’s been undereducated. I’m blessed, I guess, with that last great educational system of society. Even people ten years after me began to lose learning, because the disenchantment set in and unfortunately learning became more machine than man. Once you could rely on machines to teach you, you lost the humanity of education. When I was being taught and wanting to learn, I was a voracious reader as a child and a voracious listener and I learned early on to listen to people who knew more than I knew. If they had a near to talk to they’d tell me their histories. I sat at the foot of great teachers in the 50s and then sat at the foot of even greater teachers in the early 60s. I worked at a Riviera Country Club, I worked with caddies, some of them who had fought in the Spanish American war, they’d come up to the country club and I’d sit for hours when I wasn’t carrying bags around the course and they’d tell me the history of the twentieth century and lay it all out for me, especially about the Spanish American war, the Mexican revolution and Poncho Villa, about being a mercenary and living through the depression. I got the golden age of sports, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, I heard about the 30s with FDR, the 2nd World War, and the Korean War. I put in forty hours a week at the country club sometimes getting eight hours a day of education from these people who would tell me their life stories. I hold that period of time in my life as very important. Now of course you look at me now and I’ve been accused of not being a patriot, because making X-rated movies to some goes against the countries grain but I think it’s remarkably patriotic to serve the industry as I have and I’ve said I’d take a bullet for it.
I will not hide behind the American flag, I will not hide behind the first amendment. I have said many times there are no rights, only privileges and unless you work 24 hours a day to preserve those privileges you have no right to think you have any rights, you work at what you get. That was taught to me at twelve years old when I went to juvenile hall. Until then I’d had it easy, I could get what I wanted by crying or because I was bright I could get people to give me what I wanted, but at juvenile hall, we were all created equal and in unit W there was a piece of wood called the ladder with little notches on it that had you name on it. I walked into Unit W on July 1st 1956 and I was #28, and I looked at the ladder and if you got to the top 4 you’d be given a messenger rag and you’d get privileges but you had to work your way up and I learned the most important lesson of my life in those three months, that everything you get in life you earn. I worked by cleaning toilets, I would do all the chores and I would answer history and English questions and they noticed and I wrote letters for the kids, and I was amazed that not everyone knew as much as I knew. I was amazed because I’d grown up in boarding schools and military schools and everyone around me was bright. I didn’t know about illiteracy and I began to adopt these people do things for them. The people who rant hat unit, I’ve always believed but never been able to prove is that some of those people remembered me. I also learned that you don’t tell on anybody, we were an exclusive unit by itself.
One day someone kicked a hole in the window. We could all see freedom out the window, they came in and counted heads and noticed half the people were gone. I didn’t leave, but I didn’t say anything either. However a few other kids told, and I remember that when they came back they eat the Hell out of those kids. The counselor came over to me and said I respect what you did and I said I didn’t do anything. He said you knew because you were there but you didn’t say anything. I’d always line the kids up when I worked there and tell them that the person I’m going to punish is the person who breaks the rules. There was an honor system in my unit and my kids took care of themselves.
Someone asked me in another interview what are the six most important words of my life, emulating the Actor’s Studio questions. The six most important words in my life are truth, honor, loyalty, friendship, and soul. There are two things you can lose in life – your virginity and your honor. I lost my virginity clumsily at twenty years old, it was a disaster and not that much fun, I had more physical pain out of that one night, every muscle was pulled, the bed was a mess, it was all on withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy, but I believe that at 61 years old I don’t think that anyone can say my honor has been shattered in any way, shape, or form. There is no price, I can’t be bought, and there’s nothing left in the world I’d trade my honor for because the one thing in the world that I really want is for the Detroit Lions to play in the Superbowl and perhaps to win it. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I’ve always felt I’ll live until they win the Superbowl and I think that means I’ll live longer than anyone I know, and that’s kind of sad.
My lifetime has been exactly what I designed it to be when I decided to become ‘renaissance man’ of pornography. I’ve lived every man’s fantasy world and done a lot in the real world as well. I’ve met every man I’ve ever wanted to meet, one way or another by sheer attrition or accident. I’ve written wonderful things about people and had people thank me for writing them. Because the industry has given me everything I’ve ever wanted, I want to be able to give it all back. What I have said many times, is I want to be the most ignorant corpse in the graveyard. Every bit of knowledge I have has to be ejaculated back into society whether they like it or not. I owe it to them and I owe it to the people who brought me into this business – Titus Moody, now passed away. Reb Salets who is not in the business anymore, Daddy Jo Robinson, Carlos Tumbelina, no one asked me for anything they just gave me the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to teach. I will warn people to my dying day that this is not a business or everybody it’s a business that you damn well better know that the only thing you can get out of it is immortality. Sell me your soul and if you’ve got what it takes, I’ll make you famous. But once you get famous, it’s forever and you better not lie about being an adult performer because one way or another it’ll come back to haunt you for the rest of your life. I’ve been damned by a nation of hypocrites, a nation of Judas’ that jack off to us with their left hand and then deny us with their right. I have been condemned by the paradoxically entitled Free Speech Coalition, I’ve been censored by them for saying those same sentiments. Forced to resign from an organization because they couldn’t handle what I said, and were supposedly promised a hundred thousand dollars if I left, and then they didn’t get a cent.
It’s going to be interesting to see after this interview is over what the next couple of years bring. I can go back to Free Speech but do I really want to go back to someone who spit in my face? I prefer to be on the outside looking in and take my shots, which are all justifiable and see what they do rather than go back and work for them, but if I don’t create for them and create concepts for them they can’t seem to do it on their own and I feel obligated because the business is bigger than them, the industry is bigger than them, and the future of my kids on both levels, no one else wants to watch over the fans and the performers because they don’t see the value. The industry doesn’t realize that they’re the lifeblood that makes them run and the oil that keeps their clocks ticking are the people that they have no use for. Someone has to watch over them, to guard them that’s been given to me to do. There’s a reason why things happen, and the reason I’m doing this interview is to get the message out and if people don’t’ want to hear what I have to say they’ll stop calling me but they do want to hear what I have to say because I learned it and I can teach it better than anybody else.
I don’t have time to get bored. It’s not in my lexicon of utilitarian value to be ever resting and I need to be active and vital and on at all times. Never let your guard down. I thrive on complication and off of the stupidity and ignorance of my enemies who have no idea who or what I am. Classic example, if you ask around the entertainment business about Bill Margold, you’ll hear that they either love me or they hate me. Then ask those people who hate me why they hate me and in some cases you’ll get the answer ‘I don’t know’ but it’s just convenient to hate me and if I can get that reaction out of those morons who have sold their souls so many times they couldn’t even buy them back at a flea market, that’s their problem. The people who hold me most in contempt hold themselves in contempt more.
Now do you want me to talk about Viper?
It’s appropriate that we’re talking about Viper today (note – Bill recorded this on Thanksgiving Day, 2004) because on Thanksgiving day 1998 was one of those days that validated my affection for Viper more than any other day. Viper was of course the greatest person I’ve ever known for any number of reasons none of which had to do with sex, which we had on numerous occasions when she asked for it. She’d say ‘let’s go for cuddly-mock’ which to her was mocking the art of cuddling, because she loved to cuddle but once in a while she felt we needed to have sex and we’d go off an have sex, usually in the middle of the day. She’d get up late, usually around noon, whereas I was up around six or seven. I’d do my work, writing or whatever, she’d get up and I’d pay attention to her for the rest of the day and then mid after noon we’d have sex, it was fun and comfortable, but it was more fun just to be in her presence. I met Viper in April of 1986, she was sent to me in a round about way from Philly through Long Beach. She’d driven to Long Beach to get into the industry and Bill Majors had no idea what to do with her. She walked into his studio and set ‘let’s fuck’ and he was terrified of her so her sent her to me thinking I’d do it and that would satisfy her. That didn’t’ happen, it took three days, by which time I knew, the second I saw her when she stepped out of her Civic and stood there in the dusk of an evening on April6 1986 that I was in over my head.
I’d never seen anything like her, she was 5’9, maybe 125 lbs, this gorgeous body, she had this aura about her. We went to dinner and talked, and it was one of those rare times where I didn’t’ say much, I just listened to her. She told me she’d been a Marine for six years, she’s been in the American Ballet Theater at fourteen, made the back row in the American Ballet theater where they taught her to be professional bulimic so she could vomit on cue. Then she’d gone to work on the block in Baltimore where she felt guilty for taking money for being a whore but she liked satisfying men and felt it was her purpose in life to get men off. She finally got into the industry that she thought would accept her with open arms and legs but because of the huge tattoo on her body, they didn’t really know what to do with her. Again, I was in over my head, and really didn’t know what to do with her either, accept her, take her in and protect her and adopt her as my best friend of all time, and love her but I liked her more than I loved her. It was much more fun to like Viper and to live in awe of Viper. I’ve always said that I’m the most interesting person I’ve ever met with the exception of Viper. If you had her in front of this camera you’d find me to be dull, boring and one dimensional compared to the incredible amount of dimensionality that Viper had. She and I spent a little over five years together, they were the best years of my life. I think the best three and a half months of my life were in juvenile hall but the best five years were from 1986 to 1991 when she left under a few thunder clouds. One of them, that no one will believe, is that after she had her tits put in she became a victim of what I refer to as implant schizophrenia. She had it done in August of 1989 and by September of 1990 was stark raving mad. This was before speed came into her life, that happened later, and that finished her off.
The picture on the wall of her holding up the American Flag with the other in the style of Iwo Jima done for our industry, came about when I got a letter from a Marine in Saudi Arabia in 1991 who said he didn’t want to die fighting for freedom if he were to come home and find that there was no freedom. I said to Viper, who had been a Marine, I’m taking Iwo Jima and putting women in it, and she told me I’d better ask the Marine Corp. I said if they said no I’d do it anyway, but I went down there and asked the public relations coordinator if I could do it and he said he’d choreograph it for me. Anyways, for seven hours on the day before Memorial Day in 1991 we were in a garage and that shot came out of it. You’ll notice on Viper’s leg there are bushes that aren’t there from when we originally shot it. She for some reason decided to tape a social security card to her leg upside down. I miss her but I also spend a great deal of time talking about her.
I think she is more mythology now because she vanished. I don’t know now thirteen years later what would have happened in our relationship. She was done with the business, it was of no more value to her, she got the breasts that did nothing for her and for an idiotic reason – she told me it was so people would think she was stupid and that she was a bimbo and like her work. Viper wasn’t born to be stupid or be a bimbo, she was born one of the most unique people in this history of thus business or anyplace and I believe that whatever she’s doing now she’s benefiting people. She’d listen to you and heal you and when she left she would cry.
I did one thing that I will never do again in my life, I subordinated my ego and my desire to survive to her ego and her desire to survive. This is interesting because it brings up the single happiest moments of my life, when she won her award from AVN for best supporting actress in January of 1990. I knew then when I had to throw her up on the stage, she was very shy, that our relationship was doomed. There was no more need for me round and really the last year and a half or so I was just waiting for it to end. One of the best things she ever did was not marry me. Near the end when she was stark raving made and had been arrested for possession of speed and all that stuff, we were just doomed. In order to try and keeper I said marry me and she looked at me in one of those few lucid moments form that period in time and said you really don’t want me to marry you. She went back to talking on the phone, and there was no one the other end of the line. I would have taken her up on marrying her in a heartbeat to keep her.
I have to paint for you now an image of what an adult performer really is. If you take mercury and put it in the middle of your hand, you never close your fingers on mercury because it’ll run out. If you’re going to have a relationship with an adult performer, which is a pane of stained glass and very fragile, let them run around in there. Don’t ever try to control anybody but certainly don’t ever try to control an adult performer because they need as much range as possible to roam around in. I didn’t try to control her, I damned her for the drugs but didn’t have the heart to get rid of her, figuring she’d have the sense to get help herself. I didn’t care that she smoked cigarettes or drank – she’d smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and could polish off a bottle of wine pretty quickly but never seemed to get drunk, and was pretty healthy considering that if you check her track record on camera, her sexual calisthenics, the range she could reach on camera make most of these people now pale in comparison and they couldn’t event transpire to what she achieved in her body of work.
I think the greatest compliment I’ve received is when I tell people who don’t know anything about me or call up knowing who I am and mention Viper, I hear on the other end of the line ‘Oh my God, you lived with Viper?’ almost as if I had an autographed bat or ball from Babe Ruth or a bat from Lou Gerhick or a globe form Mickey Mantel. I’ve known one of the greatest of all time. Recently when I was doing a documentary for the sixtieth birthday of John Holmes we were down on Santa Monica beach where I grew up, we were interviewing some homeless people and we had to pay them five dollars each for their alcohol that night, and one of them all of a sudden went off on a tangent and said that at seventeen years old he had gotten off to a woman he would never forget, a redhead with a tattoo, and I think that compliment alone, because I took out the picture I have of her and showed him the card and said you’re not talking about this woman are you and he said absolutely! I should have given him the card, I have enough of them and next time I go down there I’ll go looking for him and do that, and I was so moved by that I had tears in my eyes and I do now too but I’ve done so many interviews I don’t know if I have any tears left. After thirteen years maybe I should get over it but I don’t know if I ever could because I guess that’s the price you pay for really allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Again, what I say about her haven’t said about anybody else. I didn’t know I had a heart until she broke it, and by breaking it she made me stronger than I could have been had I not known that I could be hurt in that way.
This last year of my life has been the most painful year of my life and I wrote a story in LA Express about a door. In cold water canyon, where I used to play football, well, coldwater canyon was destroyed by the earthquake of 1994, I went out to the field, I knew it had field, but the morning I got up and looked ay my roommates and said coldwater is dead. They thought I meant Jeff Coldwater but I said no, the field just died. I had such a relationship with that field were I played a lot of football and had a great time trying to recapture my youth. I went out there onto the field past all the police and the do not enter signs, and it had been cracked open and I walked out onto the field and a man runs out of the fire station and says ‘do you want to die’ without realizing that there was now a hundred foot drop. I said to him, yeah, I’d like to die here, and he told me to get off the field. I walked off the field crying and sweating over to the door of a utility shed and I don’t know why I did this but I wrote viper lives on it in tears and sweat and every year I go back to see that door at the start of football season and ‘Viper Lives’ is still there. Underneath that a few years after that someone said ‘no it doesn’t’ which is very interesting. I put ‘yes, she does’. The ‘viper lives’ doesn’t seem to fade for some reason, maybe it was the salt of the tears I wrote it in. I renew it occasionally but not as much as you’d think I have to. Now that I’ve written that story to honor her 45th birthday on September 12 no someone will probably come and erase it but it’s unique that the sentiment has lasted for ten years. That means a lot to me, because all you have are memories to warm your future with, which is ultimately why I’m doing this because there is no future if in the present we fail to pay homage to the past. I’ll continue to perpetuate that past until I burn up all of my future.
It’s interesting I’m sitting in a room full of teddy bears because when she came into my life in 1986 there were a lot of bears in the office. Well about a year and a half into our relationship she noticed way too many teddy bears for her taste so she tossed about a dozen of them out by a tree in front of our apartment. They spent the entire year or so up until Thanksgiving Day in front of the tree baling in the sun. On Thanksgiving Day 1988, it rained and it rained a lot and we had the screen door open, so the two cats could sit by it. About 9pm at night I heard a ‘pow’ and another ‘pow’ and I said what the fuck was that? Well, the teddy bears that were drying out all summer long and were now getting rained on, their stuffing was expanding and blowing their heads off right in front of me. I stood there in horror as my teddy bears were being disintegrated, stuffing flying out and it was expanding rapidly. Viper came up, smiled, and walked away. That spring, in 1989, birds began to come down and take the stuffing and build their nests in the tree. I’d always thought that her sense of doing initially that was intentional in the sense that it’s in perfect harmony that you know have these baby birds being raised in teddy bear stuffing. I’d never questioned about it but I wouldn’t put it past the magnificence of that woman to have foreseen that somehow baby birds would be comfortable being born. What a better place to be born into than teddy bear stuffing? I left them out there until they were all picked apart until when I left at the end of 2001, there was nothing left, they’d been picked apart for those baby birds thanks in part, I think, to the fore site of Viper. That’s a sort of perfect ribbon on the present that Viper was to me.
For more information on the man, the myth, the legend that is Bill Margold, check out his website, http://www.billmargold.com.
Special thanks to John B (the cameraman), Ian Miller, and of course, Mr. Margold himself who took the time to answer my questions without hesitation and who was nothing but an absolute gentleman to work with on this endeavor.