Thoughts Over The Morning’s Coffee: R.I.P. RSVP and Harry Reems

When news of Harry Reems’ passing hit the wires yesterday I began scratching my head to remember one of the non-XXX films Reems had done.

In the Reems’ obits and bios, little or no attention’s paid to a gem of a film he did for Chuck Vincent back in 1984. The movie, R.S.V.P., co-starring Reems and Veronica Hart, is a game of musical bedrooms and pure French farce. And one of the roles – of a Chinese food deliveryman – inspired a part I wrote for Jonathan Morgan in the XXX feature Adult Video Nudes.

Watching the film, I thought to myself, gee, Reems is such a talented guy and handsome enough to be a Hollywood leading man. If you stumble across some early photos of Reems you might remark on the physical similarities he bears to Tom Selleck.

Reems never got to make the transition to the big show although he had a bit role in the 1971 Jane Fonda / Donald Sutherland crime thriller Klute, directed by All the President’s Men‘s Alan J. Pakula.

Reems in an interview for NY Magazine later claimed that he almost got the role of the coach in the 1978 John Travolta / Olivia Newton-John musical Grease, if not for the filmmakers deciding that Reems’ association with porn would have been a liability to the Paramount production.

Reems who co-starred in Deep Throat continued working in the adult movie industry throughout the ’80s. His last credit according to IMDb was Steve Scott’s Too Good to Be True (1989), with Ginger Lynn and Peter North.

In 1988, Reems was an Adult Film Association of America Award nominee for Marga Aulbach and Jack Remy’s L’Amour. Reems never got an AVN award though he’s in the AVN Hall of Fame which would only make sense.

You’d have to get inside a man’s head to understand why he gravitates to the bottle, and Reems was a pretty heavy drinker by all accounts. My guess is this was his way of confronting failure.

Look at Selleck whose career began with him doing cigarette print ads in magazines. Selleck turned down the Indiana Jones role but managed to do alright in spite of it. Maybe all Reems needed was someone in his corner to convince him that he could do as well.

An obit in the LA Times today says that Reems at one time lived in the back of an Albertsons’ dumpster in Malibu. Such a shame but at least Reems picked a nice location to live in squalor if the story’s true.

The Times obit also states that Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Gregory Peck helped raise funds to pay Reems’ legal bills when the Feds decided to make Reems an example by hounding him on obscenity charges.

Maybe the better act of valor would have been for those bigwigs to have given Harry a job. A lousy job. Things might have been very different.

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