When John was 16, Bowman started beating him, but the strapping teenager instead struck back and decked Bowman, sending him down a staircase. John ran away from home and after a few days of living in the streets, he returned to his home and told his mother that if he stayed in the house much longer he would kill Bowman. After asking for the permission of his mother, Holmes enlisted in the United States Army and spent three years in Germany in the Signal Corps. Upon his discharge, Holmes moved to Los Angeles where he worked in a variety of jobs, including selling goods door to door and tending the vats at a Coffee-Nips factory. It was during his stint as an ambulance driver that he met a nurse named Sharon Gebenini in December 1964. They married in August 1965.
For the next two years, Holmes and his wife, Sharon, lived quiet, uneventful lives. Holmes found work as a forklift driver at a meat packing warehouse in Cudahy, California. However, the rigors of driving the forklift truck in and out of a large walk-in freezer and repeated exposures to inhaling the sub-freezing air in the freezer after being outside inhaling the desert-hot air caused severe health problems, leading to a pneumothorax (lung collapse) of his right lung on three separate occasions within the period of seven to nine months during the two years he worked there. While recovering from his illness, Holmes frequented a men's card-playing club in Gardena, where one evening, a still photographer standing next to him at a restroom urinal, noticed his extraordinary penis size and encouraged him to do pornography. During the late 1960s, Holmes initially did magazine work and an occasional 8 mm loop, keeping his work in porn a secret from his wife. This was easier to do in those days; pornography production and distribution were semi-clandestine, there was no mass production of video cassettes or DVDs, and no Internet.
While the ad copy for his first few dozen loops rarely named him, those that did usually gave him a name that was nowhere near what his real first name was. In fact, one early "Swedish Erotica" brochure from 1973 has five Holmes loops listed, each of which has a different name referring to Holmes even though it is obvious from his facial features that "Fred", "Dave", "Rudy", "Big Dick", and "Stan" are all the same person. In the early years of his porn career, Holmes was referred to as "The Sultan of Smut".
With the success of Deep Throat (1972), The Devil in Miss Jones (1973), and Behind the Green Door (1972), porn had become chic although its legality was still hotly contested. Holmes was arrested during this time for pimping and pandering, but he avoided prison time by becoming an informant for the LAPD.
In 1973, Holmes' career began to rise with a porn series built around a private investigator named Johnny Wadd. By 1978, Holmes was reputed to be earning as much as $3,000 a day as a porn actor. He starred at a time when personality could compensate for a lack of other aesthetic characteristics, and a certain amount of acting ability was still demanded of porn stars on a level that is not often necessary in today's porn films.
While his voice was arguably somewhat higher in pitch than one would expect for a "hard-boiled private dick," most film critics and fans agreed that Holmes did demonstrate enough acting ability to keep the character of "Johnny Wadd" from being merely a banal, one-dimensional parody of Raymond Chandler's creation, the tough and uncompromising private detective Philip Marlowe. By this time, his use of cocaine was becoming a problem, so much so that it was beginning to affect his ability to maintain an erection.
In 2007, it was discovered that the coroner who performed the autopsy on Holmes took "secret" measurements of Holmes' penis in a flaccid state and reported it as being approximately 8.75 inches in length. This information appeared in the form of handwritten notes (scrawled on the back of the third page of the official Holmes' autopsy report) discovered by investigative reporter John Beck who is currently working on a new book about the life of Holmes. The coroner also noted that the size of Holmes' testicles were approximately "the size of a pair of large hen eggs." . Ron Jeremy has stated that Holmes was actually 11½ inches and used to brag that he was 14 inches.
So celebrated was Holmes' reputed penis size that it was even used as a marketing tool for films in which he did not even appear. In the porn classic Anyone But My Husband, the promotional tag line read "Tony The Hook Perez has a dick so big that he gives even John Holmes a run for his money."
Different attempts to ascertain the actual length of his penis have led to varying results. An American study of video footage of Holmes' penis concluded his penis was 10–11 inches long (25–28cm), whereas another study comparing many pictures of his penis to the estimated measurements of other parts of his own body led to the conclusion of 8 3/4 inches (22cm). Holmes' longtime manager, Bill Amerson, that "I saw John measure himself several times, it was 13 and a half inches". Holmes' last wife, Laurie "Misty Dawn" Rose claims that John Holmes himself claimed 10 inches.
Veteran porn actress Dorothiea "Seka" Patton has claimed Holmes' penis was the biggest in the industry, though not all who had sex with him agree.
Regardless of the actual length of Holmes' penis, some people question whether he ever achieved full erections on movie sets. Veteran porn actress Annette Haven, for instance, recalled in the documentary Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes that "as the joke goes, if John ever became fully erect, he'd lose consciousness from lack of blood to the brain because his dick was that big. And it's true that his cock was never hard. It [having onscreen sex] was like doing it with a big, soft kind of luffa."
According to Holmes' close friend Bill Amerson in the documentary Wadd, Holmes lost track of the exact number of women with whom he had sex. According to Amerson, Holmes became so fervent in spreading false publicity about himself that he also eventually lost track of what stories were true and which were lies; at one point in Wadd, Amerson recalls that early in his career Holmes told the press that a wealthy British socialite paid him to travel to England once a year and pleasure her for twenty-four hours. Later in life, Holmes fondly recalled to Amerson his adventures in England, which never occurred.
Holmes met fellow porn star Brandon Smith in 1974, and the two formed a friendship that lasted until Holmes was accused of involvement in the Wonderland murders.
Holmes developed a close friendship with drug dealer and nightclub owner Eddie Nash, who supplied Holmes with drugs he desired, principally cocaine. At the same time, Holmes was closely associated with the Wonderland Gang, so called for the location of their hideout: a rowhouse located on Wonderland Avenue in the wooded Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles. Holmes worked for the gang, frequently selling drugs for them. After stealing money during a couple of drug runs, Holmes found himself in trouble with the Wonderland Gang. Allegedly in exchange for his life, he told gang leaders in June 1981 about Nash and a very large stash of drugs, money and jewelry Nash had in his house, and helped to set up a robbery which was committed on the morning of June 29, 1981.
Although Holmes did not participate in the robbery, Nash apparently suspected that Holmes had a part in it. After getting Holmes to confess to his participation, Nash allegedly exacted revenge against the Wonderland Gang. Two days after the robbery, in the early hours of July 1, 1981, four of the gang's members were found murdered in their hideout. This incident is now known as the Wonderland Murders. Holmes was allegedly present during the murders, but it is unclear if he participated in the killings.
Holmes was incarcerated in connection with the murders, but released due to lack of evidence. He spent six months on the run with Dawn Schiller, his girlfriend, but was arrested in Florida and returned to Los Angeles. Holmes refused to co-operate with the investigation and was eventually charged by the authorities with committing all four murders in connection with the robbery, but was acquitted.
Holmes then sought to reunite with Dawn Schiller, but she had gone with her father to Thailand, where she lived for nearly seven years. She did not return to Los Angeles until several weeks before Holmes' death in 1988.
When Holmes resumed work in porn in November 1982, the industry had already begun the transition from film to videotape. Work was still plentiful, but less lucrative and Holmes was no longer the premier male star. His drug use continued, as did the inconsistent performances on set. His inability to maintain an erection was a serious issue, and employers began opting for younger and more attractive talent—who could perform.
Later, after his 1982 murder trial and acquittal, Holmes began a business partnership with his manager Bill Amerson, as they founded and operated a production company Penquin Productions, where Holmes could be a triple-threat: writing, directing, and performing.
In February 1986, Holmes was diagnosed as HIV positive. According to Laurie Rose, Holmes claimed that he never used needles and was deeply afraid of them.
Holmes married Laurie Rose in January 1987. He died from AIDS-related complications (according to his death certificate, cardiorespiratory arrest and encephalitis due to AIDS, associated with lymphadenopathy and esophageal candidiasis) on March 13, 1988 at the age of forty three. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Oxnard, California. Laurie Rose took the name Laurie Holmes and later published the book Porn King: Autobiography of John C. Holmes in 1998.
Holmes' legacy has become more renowned and publicly acceptable. A documentary on his wild life (Wadd—The Life and Times of John C. Holmes) has achieved cult status among certain late-night college campus independent film houses, and some elements of the film Boogie Nights were based on Holmes' life, including the Laurel Canyon "Wonderland" murders. That aspect of his life was presented in a biographical movie called Wonderland, starring Val Kilmer and released on October 17, 2003.
Elio e le Storie Tese paid homage to Holmes with one of their first hits titled "John Holmes (Life Devoted To The Cinema)," included on their debut album Elio Samaga Hukapan Kariyana Turu, released in 1989.
After his death, Holmes was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the Adult industry. It was accepted posthumously by his godson Sean Amerson, the son of Holmes' career-long manager Bill Amerson, who also delivered the eulogy at Holmes' funeral services.
Finally, since the majority of Holmes' loops have gone into public domain following the collapse of Caballero Control Corporation in 1990, there are efforts underway to locate all surviving 8 mm loops starring Holmes and convert them to DVD for posterity. However, since the life expectancy of most 8 mm films is very brief (due to the nature of the film stock used at that time), it is believed that many of Holmes' loops are lost.
WIPO ASSIGNS PATENT TO THE PROCTER & GAMBLE FOR "LEG AND WAIST BAND STRUCTURES FOR AN ABSORBENT ARTICLE" (AMERICAN INVENTORS)
Jul 26, 2011; GENEVA, July 26 -- Publication No. WO/2011/087502 was published on July 21. Title of the invention: "LEG AND WAIST BAND...