80’s Adult Industry Star Lisa Be says, Jamie Gillis was Cruel…

Lisa Be contacted me through my other site to leave comments on a story about Jamie Gillis. I asked to pubish them here and she sent the below essay.  Lisa tells me she appeared in about 20 porn movies in 1980-81. I found this blurb & pic on  http://www.excaliburfilms.com

    With a whole host of scorching performances during the early 80’s, Porn Star Lisa Be ranks with the sexiest, sultriest women of her era. She was a full-figured, large-breasted sexual dynamo who didn’t ever let her chest pillows get in the way of a wild good time. Lisa Be’s sex-crazed, romp-happy nature paved the way for the wave of big-boobed starlets of the 80’s who followed her sexy lead. Lisa Be debuted in hardcore with a spicy turn in 1979’s ‘French Kiss,’ and wasted no time in following that up with a slew of scintillating sexvids. Her work in the 1982 scorcher ‘The Cosmopolitan Girls’ is a great showcase for her erotic charms, as she works over Ron Jeremy in a mind-bender that’s the film’s hottest sequence. Lisa Be’s hunger for wild, unbridled sexing can also be seen in the tenacious all-girl orgy that concludes 1981’s ‘Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle.’
    Lisa Be’s all-time best performance would have to be her turn in 1982’s ‘Scoundrels,’ though. Lisa Be stars as a philandering wife who sizzles her way through three white-hot encounters during the course of the film. Lisa Be’s trysting with George Payne and Ron Jeremy rank with the hottest scenes of the early 80’s, full of the vocal and energetic wildness that were Lisa Be’s stock-in-trade. She retired from the business in 1984 after bringing her top-heavy charms to almost twenty hardcore flicks.


    Sunday, November 7th, 2010

      I waited more than six months before putting online this denunciation of many of the people who were, at one time, my peer group.  Both morally and intellectually, I have retreated not an inch from the anger, sadness, profound alienation and gloomy self-awareness which motivated me to employ the written word as catharsis and metamorphosis in this instance.  For, I was miserable when I learned Jamie Gillis had been honored, and beyond: my eyes opened.  That world of porn really, really was worse than I had ever thought after all, and I was in denial of it for thirty years.

     Speaking as a former minor pornographic film star who made about 20 movies in 1980-1981, I was shocked and disgusted to learn that Annie Sprinkle, whom I considered a friendly acquaintance, had held a “wake” for the late Jamie Gillis (who died of cancer recently).  I was more shocked and disgusted that 50 people attended.

     I worked at the old Melody Burlesk from 1980 to 1985, and like all the other stripper/lap dancers working there, hung out at the bar named Bernard’s directly across the street which had the same owners.  The strippers found safe haven there, the porn directors whose offices were nearby on Broadway went there to talk business, and the porn stars—male and female—went there to drink and socialize in an atmosphere considered friendly to the X-rated world.  In part, the male porn stars went to Bernard’s to try to capitalize on their adult entertainment celebrity and pick up the strippers.  Harry Reems was a gentleman, Ron Jeremy was a mensch, Ron Hudd was kind of cool and detached from the point of view of personality but certainly wasn’t dangerous, and though I didn’t care for Paul Thomas’ egotism, he was kind to me on our one night stand.  David Morris and I were onstage lovers.

     But, all of us knew never to go with Jamie Gillis, whose reputation preceded him; everyone had heard that he was cruel and violent, and liked to lure, then hit, hurt, and humiliate.  Only the youngest and most naïve newcomers went off to have private encounters with Jamie, which turned hellish.

     To tell the ugly stories I heard about Jamie would be hearsay, and besides, he can’t defend himself (so I won’t tell them).  But, the fact that he was sadistic was not exactly a state secret; he practiced not only consensual sadomasochism—as with his partner Serena—but nonconsensual sadism.  In a (quote) normal (end quote) S&M relationship, the person playing the bottom has ways of signaling the person playing the top that he (or she) is going too far, and then, it’s the top’s turn to subtly obey, by slowing down.  I saw Jamie stop forcing a dildo onto the sides of Serena’s mouth in a movie when her eyes, and also a gentle touch of her hand, informed him that she’d reached the limit of pain she wanted to feel.  But, in the movie “900 Fantasy Lane,” in the dungeon scene at the end, a young actress’ face fills the entire screen as she exits, for she has a bruise on her cheek, and she yells at Jamie: “You goddamn bastard!”  (No signals honored then.)  The insult is real, and wasn’t in the script, and the film editor left it in, just as the director had let the scene proceed.  (At least, her physical abuse is documented.)  Jamie apparently beat her way beyond the limit of what she thought she was getting paid for.  Sometimes (but certainly, certainly not all the time) Catherine Mackinnon is right: porn is violence against women, and not after the fact when we debate what effect certain falsely constructed scenes might have on a mentally unstable person in the audience.  On very rare occasions, what’s being filmed is an assault in progress.

      I thought Annie Sprinkle was free speech advocate, a voice in the fight against breast cancer, and an environmentalist.  Why had she no respect for that actresses’ experience?  Was she, when she honored Jamie with a wake, in denial of whom and just what Jamie was?  How could she be in denial when she’s been in the X-rated business since she was eighteen?  More confounding and disturbing: how could 50 people be in denial of what a shameless, violent woman-hater Jamie was?  I have to admit that past a certain point, I myself was a bit corrupted by that cultural milieu, and said some ugly lines in movies I didn’t want to say, and began accepting too much disrespectfulness from directors, managers and customers alike.  But, I soon realized that my personality was degenerating and exited that world.  So, is it possible that familiarity, over a very long period of time, with an individual who is obviously corrupt, deprives people of the perspective which would be needed to see a bad person as they are?  (We may get used to substandard ethical behavior in ourselves; we may get used to bad people outside of ourselves at the same time.)

      I learned something from the expert on torture named Darius Rejali recently interviewed on NPR.  When a professional in a different walk of life, that is, a journalist, physician, lawyer or politician, witnesses official military personnel practicing torture, why does he or she so rarely take action?  One: the sense that he, the witness, is already implicated.  Two: peer pressure (a complicity of silence involving everyone there).  Three: confusion in the mind of the witness as to whether the person being tortured is really a terrorist (so then, is the torture justified?) or not.

     In terms of the porn world, the first two conditions outlined above are sufficient to explain why so many fellow porn stars, directors and film crews in the X-rated world took Jamie’s sadism lightly, and as for the third, some of us suffered honest confusion also—as to whether Jamie was practicing consensual S&M or nonconsensual violence (read—whether he was a terrorist or not, but he was).  “Why do they not notice the elephant in the room?” Rejali provocatively asks, saying: “it’s the situation, not the disposition, that [may make] us evil.”  So, people in the porn world who thought of themselves as quite conscientious could have ignored Jamie’s cruelty.  Most people cave in, Rejali notes, but not all.

     For veterans of porn, the X-rated world is a Rashomon tale, with some of us looking back with shame and bitterness, others with joy and smiles—like me.  Only what is devastating to me about a well-attended wake for Jamie Gillis is that the event tends to validate Catherine Mackinnon’s proposition that the purpose of the porn industry is to subordinate, beat, force and harm female human beings.  After all, R. Crumb made pictures of women having their breasts bitten like cheeseburgers and having their thighs carved with knives, only he didn’t do it, he drew it.  Jamie really did threaten, subordinate, force, beat, and harm.  Did nobody at that ghastly wake remember or care?

     Thankfully, some of us porn veterans have a very different ethos than Jamie Gillis.  Some of us think the purpose of porn is to provide sexual companionship for lonely people, to provide a direct route to biological gratification through explicit images (not necessarily degrading ones) for those who need some help, to assist couples bored by the commonplaces of their lives together by providing needed sexual stimulation through fantasy material, and, not least, to provide us porn stars with good memories.  I should like Catherine Mackinnon et al to know: only once was I hurt and degraded in the making of a porn movie; I enjoy remembering almost all the other scenes.

      Indeed, most of the time when I was in the X-rated world, I was neither being harmed nor in denial (that is, of my own experience), but wide awake and quite myself—for example, the night in Bernard’s when Jamie Gillis slammed the full weight of his body up against my back and rear end as I stood at the bar having a drink, saying: “I heard this was a good place to pick up girls!”

     Man, what an intelligent opener, Jamie.  You know, I always knew you were a thinker, an original and a Renaissance man.

      “Get away from me,” I said reflexively (and he did).  I considered his come-on pathetic, I found his sadism disgusting, and I also thought he was hideous, for after all, beauty is as beauty does.

     Jamie, I always thought you were a worm, and I’m glad worms are consuming you now.  So far as I’m concerned, you probably should have died much sooner, and I know I’m far from alone in thinking so.  I hope some testimonials from the numerous sexual partners Jamie Gillis falsely imprisoned and actually injured over the course of many years have the courage to come forward, but being taken advantage of can provoke shame, and the fear of being ridiculed.  That has to stop—Right on, Sister.

      And Annie Sprinkle, since you honored the predatory emblem of pornography’s Fascist wing, I no longer believe you stand for anything worth considering.

       —Lisa Be, Harlem, New York City



  1. bisley

    Oh my, and a boo-hoo!

    Jamie Gillis was a true gentleman and connoisseur, in need of certain refinements.

    Michelle Clifford wrote a GREAT piece on Jamie in Metasex #4.

  2. Pingback: 80′s Adult Industry Star Lisa Be says, Jamie Gillis was Cruel… | The Adult News Wire

  3. origen

    This article makes no sense. You don’t come out and describe the “ugly stories” you heard about his one night stands but you still attack and accuse the man using other incidents you over-heard…

    Not to fall into the cliche of men attacking women who claim abuse but are you credible? Abuse IS rampant but does anyone back you up? I want present-day quotes from them…

  4. Fartz

    This article is fucking pathetic. She’s upset that fifty people showed up to the wake of a dead man? A funeral is about honoring the life of someone, good and bad, regardless of personal fault. Some people love their friends and family despite all the shortcomings that may accompany that person. I know, I know, loving your friends and family may be some weird new-fangled thing that only the young peoples are hip to, but this piece just comes across as bitter to me. She’s upset because some guy that had aggresive sexual tendencies actually had people in his life that loved him enough to honor him in death? Who’s the real asshole here?

    As a side note: I don’t fuck around with torrents or rapidshare, but if you look in the right places, you can find some real fucked up early Gillis loops that make Max Hardcore look like Ed Powers. The guy really had a thing for pooping and peeing on teh’ wiminz.

  5. origen

    The Colonel:

    “I’m not trying to dwell on the past, but the main reason I never liked Jamie Gillis is not because he was a pervert. Hell, everybody in porn is a pervert in one way or another; otherwise you wouldn’t get into this business and even if you did, you wouldn’t stay. My issue with Gillis is the fact that he was so reckless and had no regards for others’ livelihood and safety. The best example is his infamous series On the Prowl: In late 80′s/early 90′s and during the height of HIV epidemic, he decided to cruise the streets and pick up random bums and crack heads to fuck performers on camera. Clearly a very bad decision for obvious reasons…”

  6. Shelly

    It behooves Ms. Sprinkle to respond to this article.

    On another note, Lisa Bee’s impressions are questionable to some. She says Ron Jeremy is a mentsch, but Ginger Lynn accused him of rape (which did not stop Ginger from having on camera sex with the Hedgehog for 2006’s “Saw XXX” parody).

    Has Lisa Bee never heard of adlibbing? Just because someone goes beyond the script spontaneously does not make for abuse. Did she discuss the matter with the actress in question?

  7. goatlord

    Amber Lynn lived with Jamie for years as a couple.

    I hear she’s a headcase but maybe she could provide some insight into the man.

    Torri Wells called Gillis a pervert cause he wanted to stick his finger in her butt during a scene.

  8. CarterStevens

    I am not going to waste a lot of time trying to defend a dead man. All I will say is that I knew Jamie for over 30 years and I can count on one hand the people who have bad things to say about him and still have a digit to hold up to Ms. Be. Jamie was one of a kind, raw and sexual and totally switchable. I once said there were 5 kinds of people in the porn industry, Hetrosexuals, Bi-sexuals, Homosexuals, Tri-sexuals and Jamie Gillis. I meant it as a complement and he took it as such and often quoted me. Yes Jamie pushed the dominant envelope but would do a 180 degree turn faster than you could see with the human eye if a woman showed any spark of disapproval in his actions. I couldn’t attend Jamie’s memorial but I was there in spirit and will take my 30 years of experience with the man over Lisa Be page full of hearsay and character assassination. I still morn him and miss him. Carter Stevens

  9. RickMadrid

    wow!! And what about this latest outbreak this morning of a performer coming back poistive for HIV? and the are really testing like crazy this AM!!

  10. Karmafan

    Surprise surprise… the rumored male that tested positive is a crossover talent. When will the folks that run this industry smarten up and ban all crossover talent?

  11. goatlord

    Carter Stevens! Hello, I know who you are (not personaly) but I’ll get to that later.

    First, 80’s porn star Jerry Butler wrote a book back in the 1990 and talked about Jamie. Almost wrote a full page on him which is way more than any other performer got (usually 4 or 5 sentences). Here’s some quotes of what Butler said about Jamie in the book:

    “Jamie Gillis is a sweetheart. Out of all the guys in the business, I have the softest, gentlest feelings about him. He’s one of the most fascinating people Ive ever met. I could sleep with that man, cuddle up to him, and not feel there’s anything wrong with it. I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about heartfelt affection. I feel like he’s my brother.”
    “People say stupid things about Jamie. But Jamie is not as crazy as he might appear to be on film. He’s misunderstood. People expect the worse from him and are surprised to discover he’s not the monster they imagined. Sure, sometimes he seems like a sleazy guy, but what the hell is porno all about?”
    “I find him sexually interesting becasue he’s so damn sure of himself. When I firt met Jamie, he liked to drive down to Hollywood High and check out the young girls.”
    “Jamie’s a very good actor, but I dont relate to the Jamie from films. Our relationship goes much deeper than that. We impress each other and I let myself accept him for what he is”

    Carter Stevens was also talked about in Butler’s book. In fact it was a huge event in his life. Jerry Butler was a theatre actor having no luck breaking into TV or regular movies. He needed money so he answered an ad in a New York paper for extras in a porno film. Heres how Butler described that day in 1979 when he was just eighteen.

    “I went to the East 23rd street address and walked through a big set of double black doors. At least 15 X-rated posters were on the walls. Carter Stevens, looked like the King Tut character right of out of Batman. Carter was one of the early makers of fuck films. He had been making movies since the early 70’s and for one reason: to make a buck.”
    “I told him I was answering his ad about the extras. Carter took one look at me and said “why dont you just be in the movie? It took me about eight seconds for me to say ok. From that moment, I opened the door to heaven..or hell..Im still not sure which. My cock was already stirring at the thought that I was going to fuck one of those monstrous ten foot-tall porno women I had jerked off to all of my life”

    Jerry Butler was a great performer who fucked the hell out of some lovely 80’s women like Nina Hartley, Tracey Adams, Keisha, Alicia Monet, etc.

    Thank you Carter Stevens for getting Jerry Butler in the business. You have a good eye for talent.


  12. Larry Horse

    Butler could act and I think he wrote the touchstone book of porn, no one will ever come close. Wish he would write another book about his time with Kelly Van Dyke, there’s a movie in there, legit one, almost beyond what “Wonderland” was, which truly showed how unsympathetic a scumbag John Holmes was. Jamie was a true pervert, I think he probably had a duality of character that makes some of what Ms Be said and what Butler and Carter said true. Those On the Prowl movies were some of the creepiest ever filmed. Gillis got beyond the pale in his porn work, like looking for the ultimate high. He was a damn good actor, think I mentioned before but his work in Dog Walker, made by John Leslie, is some of the best in porn ever as was his work in Taboo 4 and 5, though his slight acknowledgement to the audience in Taboo 5 as he is about to fuck Karen Summer, who plays his daughter, is hilarious. Porn had people who could act at one time, these days we got almost dick.

  13. goatlord

    In 2003, Butler appeared in a non-sex role porn called “sexy sluts been there done that.” Ive never seen it, but I remember the reviews at the time said Butler was interviewed as part of the DVD extras. Just like the book, he ripped a bunch of 80’s stars.

    I wish I had bought it back then beacause now its impossible to find. A musician named Necro made the DVD and he said in an interview that Butler was a fucking babbling nut case.

    Butler and Gillis were good actors.

    Peter North has to be one of the worst actors. Saw him in a movie play a high ranking nazi officer. The accent he put on was…pathetic and laughable.

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