It’s fair to say that Bill Margold’s entitled to have a love/hate relationship with the late Harry Reems.
Reems, the legendary porn actor who co-starred in Deep Throat with Linda Lovelace was literally lifted out of the gutter by Margold and then later told the industry’s porn historian to go fuck himself.
Margold, coincidentally, wrote a piece about Reems that appears this week in the LA Xpress. It was quite prescient all things considered. Reems died yesterday of complications from pancreatic cancer. Margold wrote the article several days prior.
“When I was hanging out with Reems, his VA doctor told him that his internal organs were the size of footballs,” recalls Margold. “Reems had a lump sticking out of him about that size.”
“I said why isn’t he dead? The doctor responded he probably drank so much liquor he’s preserved himself.”
Margold said his LA Xpress reminiscences weren’t written with the intention of Reems dying. Just a sad coincidence.
“He was very bitter, and it was based on a number of things,” said Margold.
“I know when I picked him out of the gutter in 1986, and took him home, [Jim] Holliday who drank a lot more than people know, I figured Holliday would know what to do with him. Holliday didn’t and ran from my apartment.”
According to Margold, Holliday, a beer drinker, absorbed huge quantities of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Often a case at a time.
“Holliday said I don’t know what to do with Harry, but I told Holliday, you’re a drunk.”
According to Margold, Reems had the ability to empty a bottle of vodka almost in one swallow.
[Reems had said in interviews that he consumed a gallon of vodka a day.]
Margold got a call on a rainy Sunday night. He assumes it might have been Amber Lynn. Reems at the time was living with Lynn, Jamie Gillis and Honey Wilder and Reems was apparently so miserable to live with, he was tossed out of the house.
“I didn’t particularly know the man but built into my fiber is to help even the worst of them,” says Margold.
“I walked Reems across the street, and he goes, ‘I gotta piss.’ We were behind the the old Washington Mutual Bank building. Reems didn’t know where he was. I had to pull his dick out and he was pissing. In come the cops.”
Margold explained to the police it was Harry Reems, meanwhile a prostitute down the street was beating up a John, and the cops left to see what was happening there.
Margold took Reems home and took a Polaroid. Margold’s cat hopped up and sat next to Reems as though he were guarding him. Margold’s roommate at the time was porn performer Brandy Alexandre.
“She being a groupie started fucking Reems on a regular basis,” Margold remembers.
“Harry was beyond drunk. He was incoherent. But I didn’t bring Harry to my apartment to get laid on a regular basis.”
Margold mentions that Alexandre would basically fuck anyone who walked in the front door.
“She was a star fucker.”
Not knowing what to do with Reems, Margold took him to see Dr. Robert Stoller [known for his groundbreaking study on porn stars]. Dr. Stoller had Reems taken to a rehabilitation clinic. Margold heard no more from Reems until two years later when Reems called him because he had to go to a tax hearing.
Margold drove Reems downtown, and because Reems broke down, physically, Margold had to get a wheelchair to take Reems to court.
“After we were out of court, we were driving around the Valley, and Reems then said, ‘I want to go to the [Playboy] mansion.’ So I drove him up to Hefner’s. I told them at the gate why where we were there. A doctor comes out and after he looks at Reems said, ‘Mr. Hefner will accept him.’
“I thought that was one of the great humane moments I ever witnessed. Harry starts crying and says, ‘I can’t do it.’ So we go out the back door and back to my place.”
Margold, who was now living with porn performer Viper, said she didn’t want Margold taking Reems in because she felt Reems wasn’t a nice guy.
Consequently Margold checked Reems into a local hotel figuring that was the end of it. The next morning a tax man showed up at Margold’s door saying, sarcastically, it was a great act that Margold and Reems put on in court.
As Margold was asking the tax guy what he was talking about, Reems phoned Margold calling him, “a motherfucker and piece of shit.”
“Fuck you and everything you stand for,” Reems said as he continued to blast Margold.
“Reems was so drunk he didn’t even remember the day before,” states Margold.
“Legend has it Reems somehow wound up at the airport. He was picked up, put in jail and later wound up in Utah where he was reborn. That’s the last I ever heard of Harry.”
In 2007 David Bertolino, who wrote The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, the play that’s been having a run in Los Angeles, wanted Reems to get involved with it. Reems declined.
About a year ago Margold got a strange call from Reems begging for forgiveness which is one of the steps taught by Alcoholics Anonymous.
“He said he was sorry. I said for what? Reems says I didn’t treat you well for helping me. I told him he didn’t have to apologize that it was my responsibility to help people in the business.”
A couple of weeks ago, Margold got in contact with Reems telling him about the play and how it was paying homage to him, that he needed to see it and that his expenses for coming to Los Angeles would be footed.
“Fuck you,” Reems told Margold.
“Then for no reason he called back and screamed at me again,” Margold continues.
“Three days later I got a message where he said how are things going – good to hear from you.
“I wanted nothing more to do with him at that point. I don’t know at the end where he was, or what he was up to.”
Margold can’t say whether Reems’ personality was such that anyone ever got close to him.
But after John Holmes, Margold rates Reems as the second more important porn actor in the business.
“Reems brought our industry into another kind of mainstream,” says Margold.
“Holmes was the common denominator, but Reems was synonymous with the history of this business on a multitude of levels. And he had a sort of reverse charm or anti-charm. Plus, he went through the hell- who knows if he could have avoided it or not- but who would he have turned states evidence against?”
And that’s basically what Bertolino’s play is about, that turbulent period in Reems’ life when the Feds dragged him over the coals.
Margold thinks that the actor who plays Reems in the play, Marc Ginsburg, “has consumed Reems and makes him immensely likable.”