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Jack Stephen: The Death Threat Years

Porn Valley- I’m still trying to get Jack Stephen to burn those compromising 20 year-old photographs of me and him in Speedos, smoking cigars in a Vegas cabana.

But apparently another incident may be coming back to haunt Stephen that’s tighter and way more dangerous than a Speedo at advanced middle age.

Stephen, you see, other than being a pretty funny guy, and one of my best friends, holds the industry record for death threats. I remember the time that a fax came over threatening his life. Stephen, who was Vice President of CDi at the time, laughed because the idiot who sent it forgot to realize that his return phone number was on the piece of paper.

But that was a long time ago. Only now, after years of dormancy under the death threat umbrella, Stephen got hit with a rain storm this past weekend.

Some creep came to his door Saturday afternoon leaving a cryptic, serial killer-style hand printed message. It read:

“Pay and clean your debt. You know exactly what this concerns. Same as yesterday.”

Stephen had no idea what this was supposed to mean but took it seriously enough to report it to the cops as a terroristic threat. And while he can’t say for sure who it’s from, Stephen’s got strong suspicions who it might be.

Stephen for years had been embroiled in a law suit that just dragged on and on, involving an IPO that went south and a participant- a former porno exec to be specific – who wasn’t too amused about losing money. Based on verbal threats he’s received in the past from this guy, Stephen thinks it might be him. And knowing what I know of the case, I’m inclined to agree.

“It’s a shakedown, but is it this guy?” wonders Stephen. “Who knows?”

Stephen, it should be noted, has the equivalent of Homeland Security protecting his property only if as an after thought.

According to Stephen, though he didn’t get a good look, the guy who came to his door was wearing something saying Justin’s Foods or Jason’s Foods.

“I asked him who are you,” says Stephen. “He says I want to ask you some questions. I turned my back on him and went away. I never said anything to him. He looked like a guy who would do a home invasion. Then he left the note on my mailbox.”

With way more gallows humor Wednesday than he had Saturday, Stephen, who’s sporting a nervous rash on his chest from the incident, recalls a couple of other instances where he got death threats.

Consequently, I’ve tagged Stephen as the “Black Dahlia” of the business. That’s because strange shit’s occurred to those who’ve rubbed him the wrong way. Strange in a sense that, often times the very same people wound up, coincidentally, dead. Like Perry Ross.

Ross used to be part of Factory Home Video along with Frank Reuben then moved on to work for Mark Carriere as his hired gun and muscle.

It was around this time that the late Savannah was under contract to Carriere. Stephen, it seems, shot Savannah doing a telephone sex commercial for Teddy Leibowitz back when Leibowitz, now a mainstream film producer [to wit: The Illusionist], was making millions off those lines.

There was some kind of miscommunication but Ross, known for his quick fuse, prognathous jaw, steroid abuse and weird hair transplants, goes psycho and threatens Stephen’s life.

“He tried to kill me,” remembers Stephen. “He said you did this behind my back, I’ll have you killed. To tell you the truth, I thought the response was a little more than necessary bearing in mind what was going on. But I thought since they had phone sex lines with Teddy’s operation as well, he’d be respectful. The commercials weren’t for me. I think three months later Perry goes to Amsterdam and tries to collect money from the von Trapp family and ends up dead.”

Ross was shot full of heroin and found in a toilet. I remember before his going over there how Perry was going to “put the fear of God” into some people.

Then you had Freddie Klafner who was one of the original suitcase pimps in the business. Klafner managed a girl- his wife- Montana who had a thankfully brief stint as a CDi contract girl.

“Freddie threatened to kill me because his wife’s paycheck was due on a Friday. Apparently he was told to wait until the following Tuesday,” Stephen recalls. “And he’s going I’ll kill ya. I’m thinking you’re going to kill me and get dicks up your ass the next 20 years because your wife’s paycheck is late by two days?”

It was a couple of months later that Stephen got word Klafner was dead but doesn’t remember the exact circumstances.

“Keep in mind all the death threats came from guys in the business,” Stephen hastens to point out, but age being what it is, can’t summon each and every one of those at the drop of a hat anymore.

“But give us a couple of Margaritas at Los Torros,” Stephen’s saying, remembering Tony Montana, if only on a technicality. Montana wound up with HIV.

“This was back in the Blondie days,” says Stephen. “We were at a Chicago trade show. He was doing that Tony Montana posturing, ‘Fuck wit me I’ll kill you, motherfucker.’

“And we’re yelling at each other. Charlie Brickman looks up and goes, hey, keep it down. I go, ‘This is a fist fight, motherfucker. You want to help us?’

“Oddly enough Tony and I were fine after that. Besides, I already killed myself when I played the Catskills. My career was already dead.”

Then, again there Stephen’s never ending battles with Peter Kinsler over money, with Kinsler dying recently of a heart attack. But that one doesn’t count, says Stephen who refuses to take credit since everyone had money issues with Kinsler.


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