'Deep Throat' Star Harry Reams Dies at 65

The Hollywood Reporter
'Deep Throat' Star Harry Reams Dies at 65
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'Deep Throat' Star Harry Reams Dies at 65

Harry Reams, the former porn actor best known for his role in Deep Throat, has died at the age of 65.

First reported by his friend Don Schenk, Reams' death has been confirmed by Gawker. Schenk wrote that Reams died of pancreatic cancer at a VA hospital in his adopted home of Utah.

In a 2005 interview, Reams estimated that he starred in between 300 and 400 adult films, though his role in Deep Throat was a last-minute adjustment by the film's director, Gerard Damiano, when the original star was unable to perform his duties. Reams was working lights on set, part of an attempt to learn the craft of film, when he was thrust into porn history.

Reams was arrested in 1974 on conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines, in what became a famed trial that held broader implications for creative freedom. Jack Nicholson and other stars lent him support, while Deep Throat's other star, Linda Lovelace, testified against him. He was convicted in 1976, but it was overturned in 1977.

Born Herbert Streicher, he was born in Manhattan and dreamed of becoming an actor, eventually starring in off-Broadway productions. He began porn as a way to make rent; his theater training later helped him get cast as the coach in Grease, but Paramount eventually gave the role to Sid Caesar, as protests over Reems' past were threatening the movie's success.

He later struggled with alcoholism, though he took his last drink in 1989. He married and became a real estate agent.

As for Lovelace, he said in 2005 that he never saw her after the trial, and remained a bit bitter over the fallout.

"I really hadn’t been in contact with Linda or Gerry for some years prior to the trial," he said. "The only opportunity I had to briefly make contact with Linda Lovelace was vicariously through a friend of hers, who called me up to tell me that she needed some money; she needed a liver transplant and couldn’t afford it. So I sent a thousand dollars to her... and never heard back, never got a thank-you."

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