Friday, October 31, 2008

Interview: John Stillman aka "Jack Wrangler"

John Stillman -- a.k.a. "Jack Wrangler," one of the first gay porn superstars -- opens up with The Advocate about the new documentary on his life, Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon.

Job Brother writes:
John Stillman got his start in show business in the mid '50s at age 9 when he starred with America’s tap-dancing sweetheart, Eleanor Powell, in the religious-themed TV show Faith of Our Children. Now he’s a producer and director of Broadway musical reviews and is married to Margaret Whiting, chart-topping singer of the 1940s and 50s. But in between being an emerging religious star and a happy husband, Stillman was known as Jack Wrangler, the rugged blond stud who exploded on the gay porn scene in its 1970s golden era. His charisma, which extended to an acting ability beyond the sex scenes, and his unique gift to be able to deliver a money shot on cue made him in demand by the adult film industry. So much so that when he decided to make a shocking and unprecedented foray into heterosexual porn, he continued to prosper until his retirement in the mid 1980s.

Stillman’s rich life story is explored in the new documentary Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, produced and directed by Jeffrey Schwarz.

The Advocate: While you’ve never fully escaped the fame you established as a porn star, with this documentary coming out you’re back in that spotlight. How is that for you?

John Stillman: I was involved in two very legitimate projects when this whole thing came up, and I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I’m never sure anything that I do is a very good idea! It just happened. I think my whole life has been a “happening.” One of my parents said, “Just open yourself up to all the wonderful possibilities,” and I always have. I get in a lot of trouble, but I have an awful lot of fun. [Laughs]

The Advocate: When were you first aware of your homosexuality?

John Stillman: I was about 12…or 10…or 9 or 8. I saw a man with his shirt off. My father [TV producer Robert Stillman] was shooting Bonanza at the time. I was very attracted to Michael Landon, of course -- everyone was. I know I got caught by my father around 10.

The Advocate: Got caught doing what?

John Stillman: Masturbating! [Laughs] I had a big walk-in closet -- a huge walk-in closet, and --

The Advocate: You were literally in the closet? Masturbating?

John Stillman: I was literally in the closet. [Laughs]


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