Tuesday, July 28, 2009
MY DRUG IS ME: My Never Before Published Interview with William Margold, Adult Entertainment Business Legend
INTERVIEWED BY CHARLES ZIGMAN on July 10th and July 18th, 1999,
and on July 14, 2009.
Published on August 5, 2009.
A few weeks ago, when I started this blogsite, which is designed to be sort of a 'catch-all' in which I can publish anything I feel like publishing from my files (articles I've written, short stories, reviews) the second piece I "put up" was my never-before published interview with the late, great television legend, Milton Berle. I had interviewed Berle ten years ago, in July of 1999, for possible inclusion in a Crown/Random House book called Gig: People Talk About Their Jobs at the Time of the Millennium, edited by John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, and Sabin Streeter. Because of the length of my Milton Berle piece (it was about 25,0000 words -- much longer than the 1,500 words I was supposed to turn in), Gig decided not to use it, so I waited a decade and published it myself, in its complete and unexpurgated version, right here at Chuck Zigman Overdrive.
There is another great interview I conducted at the same time (July 1999) for the same book, which was also never published, and for the same reason – as in the case of my Berle interview, it was deemed to be simply "too long," and there was no way to do it justice by cutting it. I interviewed the legendary William Margold, who is not only a true legend of adult entertainment world, but also the "voice," "unofficial publicist," and “patriarch” of that business. (He's also a magnificent cheerleader of his own accomplishments, breathlessly exclaiming, in a pre-interview phone conversation we had, "My drug is me!")
Since my interview with Bill Margold has never been published, here it is right now, and I want to thank Bill for sitting down with me this past month, on July 14, 2009, to update and correct the piece, which I will now begin, with my original 1999 introduction.
Here it is:
Bill Margold is, quite simply, the most entertaining orator I have ever heard. He's, quite possibly, even greater than Abraham Lincoln or "The Two Big Juniors" (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Will Rogers, Jr.).
Bill started off in the adult entertainment business in 1971, as a journalist. 1971 was the period where sex movies were still 'softcore;' this was the period right before they made the transition and became 'hardcore,' in 1972. So Bill was right there at the birth of hardcore cinema.
At roughly the same time as he was acting, from 1973 to 1982, he was also an agent, working alongside Reb Sawitz, porn's first and greatest talent agent.
As a teenager, in 1956, Bill spent some time in juvenile hall for being 'incorrigible,' and later, in the sixties, before his entrance into porn, he returned to the same juvenile facility to become a counselor. He also majored in journalism, at Cal State Northridge, and spent a few years as a journalist.
Today, Bill is one of the adult entertainment business's leading counselors/activists/crusaders. To many, he is also one of the leading "voices of the industry." While Bill very occasionally, at the age of 55, continues to act in adult films, he now toils selflessly, on a full-time basis, as a crusader for three not-for-profit organizations, two of which he stgarted. All three of these organizations are dedicated to making life more bearable for an industry that, even he admits, can be pretty unusual most of the time; Bill refers to his business as the "Playpen of the Damned."
Through his primary Organization, PAW (Protecting Adult Welfare), Bill counsels young actors and actresses in his business from the more mercentary types who might seek to take advantage of, or abuse, them.
Through the second organization which Bill started himself, FOXE (Fans of X-Rated Entertainment), Bill protects our sacred, God-given right to watch adult entertainment by holding several fundraising events each year, including, but not restricted to, nude bowl-a-thons, currently known as "Bare Bowling."
Bill also happens to be the trade show coordinator/board member for a third organization, the Free Speech Coalition [authors note: Bill ceased to be involved with the organization in 2006]. This is the only job for which Bill receives any kind of remuneration, besides writing reviews of mainstream Hollywood movies for the L.A. X-Press (one of L.A.'s longest-running free weeklies), and he receives only a nominal salary for both of these jobs.
In this interview, Bill states, "There is no dollar sign in the word 'cause.'" He calls himself, "The Not-for-Profit Panderer." In this interview, he talks about how people in his business sometimes "don't like him," but he is one of the most eminently likeable/cool/avuncular people you'll ever meet.
As Mother Teresa is to India, so William Margold is to his world. (Plus, he's the biggest Detroit Lions fan you've ever seen!)
Bill and actress/producer/High Society magazine-publisher Gloria Leonard, two adult entertainment industry legends, being inducted into Larry Flynt's Hustler Hall of Fame, on January 17, 2002. This six-minute video, for some reason, features three minutes of beginning credits, which you can fast-forward through, like I did.
BILL, YOU’VE BEEN IN THE PORN INDUSTRY FOR TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS, SO SET UP FOR ME WHAT IT IS, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
The essence of my industry, is that it is a masturbatory catharsis for the masses, and why shouldn’t it be? Viper [a porn star Bill dated for five years until 1991, the one great love of his life, whom he will refer to innumerable times in this interview] said she made movies so she could have sex with ten thousand men at a time. When I starred in an X-rated movie, I was having sex for ten thousand men at a time. I’m the surrogate, the vessel, for the men in the audience. And look at me! I’m the most ordinary person you’ve ever seen – I’m an oafish, teacher-type looking person. I was very lucky. If I considered this “work,” I never would have done it. It’s been recess twenty-four hours a day for the last twenty-five years.
One of my favorite quotes: After the HIV incidents of [1998, in which some porn stars had succumbed to AIDS], I said, “Recess is over.” I call my business “The Playpen of the Damned” – which will eventually be the name of the book written about me – because that’s what it is. We porno people are sociologically damned. Society jacks off to us with their left hand and pushes us away with their right. We are the quintessential essence of what everything hypocritical in society is all about. This is a multi-billion dollar business, so somebody out there is spending the money, but nobody admits to watch it.
EVEN THOUGH YOU OCCASIONALLY ACT IN MOVIES, YOU ARE MOSTLY NOW THE VOICE OF YOUR INDUSTRY. YOU TALK ABOUT CENSORSHIP A LOT, ESPECIALLY THROUGH YOUR POSITION AS ONE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR THE “FREE SPEECH COALITION.” SO, FOR YOU: WHAT IS CENSORSHIP?
The adult entertainment industry has, wisely and widely, started to censor itself. Of course, we have a twenty thousand-dollar bounty leading to the arrest and conviction of anybody involved in child pornography. So immediately, that’s off the table… And we do not deal with animals. And we do not deal in violent sexuality. We deal in certain aberrational sexuality of the fetish variety.
AS ONE OF THE MAIN VOICES OF YOUR INDUSTRY, YOU’RE THE HEAD OF – OR YOU'RE ON THE BOARD OF – THREE ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO THE WELFARE OF PERFORMERS WHO ENTER YOUR INDUSTRY. WHAT WOULD SAY IS YOUR JOB TITLE – IN OTHER WORDS, IS THERE AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING TITLE, ENCOMPASSING EVERYTHING YOU DO?
“I’m an asshole.” Everybody always calls me that. But it’s like I’ve always said, “It’s better to be an asshole than a whole ass.” I thrive on my honest enemies and my dishonest friends. I have no real title. “Renaissance Man” was dubbed on me many, many years ago by Playboy.
I’m also called “Papa Bear,” because I watch over all the cubs – all of the younger people in the industry. I watch over all the cubs in “The Tree of X.” I like the Papa Bear mentality. I’m a patriarch to this industry, some people say I’m the godfather. My life operates on that level, in the sense that I’ll never ask anybody for something twice. I only ask once, if I don’t get it, I can really just eliminate that person from my life and go on. I do tend to shed relationships and even friends, like skin. I’m very snake-like in that respect. I go through a molting period and I eliminate people from my life who are draining. I’m drained on a twenty-four hour a day basis. My emotional system is one gigantic battery. One of my relationships – one of my friends – said I “use people.” And I analyze that I do use people. I use them by helping them, and that allows me to continue to validate myself. By doing things to help people, I’m continually, uh, I guess, feathering my own nest. So just in case I have to fall down, it’s going to be considerably soft.
My major concern now, is to keep this industry free of kamikazes [women who come in, take drugs, live hard, and often commit suicide]. I just can’t have crash-and-burn people. And again, we’ve had suicides in this business. It’s getting to the point where the phone rings – I have an 800 number for PAW – 24 hours a day, and I expect the worst every time the phone rings.
A lot of it is attributed to the fact that, the women in this business sense that, while they’re jacked off-to, there’s derisional attrition. They know they’re doing something that people are getting off to, but they’re held in a despicable light. And it’s just tragic.
See, for me, the perfect, prototypical adult performer would be what I’ve termed, a “sterile orphan:” a person with no family, no kids, no underbelly, no past – absolutely pure, untouched by any vulnerability. Then I would adopt that person, make them strong, insulate them from within, rather than have them battered from without. But I can’t get that many “sterile orphans.” And it’s very depressing. I don’t like to see people come into this business and, when I ask them what they’re going to do, they go, “I don’t know.” I say, “Do you understand that you’re going to be seen by people you don’t know?” They go, “Yeah, I guess so. But they might not see it.” Then I go, “What about your kids coming home from school ten years from now? What are you going to do when their friends bring over a magazine with a picture of you with a candle shoved up your ass? Will they think you were playing the part of a birthday cake?” And some of the women go, “I don’t really think about the future.” And that’s a tragedy, because your past will catch up with you. In 1972, when I started doing this – and that’s twenty-seven years ago. I knew exactly when I walked into this thing what I wanted.
WHAT DID YOU WANT?
I wanted, when I first got into the adult business, to be the George Plimpton of pornography. I have a great affection for the Detroit Lions. I have read, of course, Paper Lion. I figured, well, if I’m not going to play for the Lions, I might as well get into porn! And when I finally met Plimpton a few years ago, I gave him my card and I said to him, “I have been ‘you’ in the X-rated film industry for the last twenty-five years.” And he said, “That’s very interesting.” He called back, August of ’97. We talked a lot about the Detroit Lions. And he said, “You know, son, there’s a book in you. Why don’t you write it?” Plimpton has a sort of melted elegance. I’m the X-rated version of him and he’s the real-world version of me. At one point in time, Plimpton was approached to be in an X-rated movie, but he wouldn’t do it. I think he realized the damnation.
Because while, indeed, you have guys in the business like Ron Jeremy, they haven’t lived the diversification that I have. I’ve been in gay movies, but I haven’t done anything homosexual. In all the gay moves I’ve been in, I’ve gotten strangled, I’ve gotten crushed to death in one of them, I’ve gotten shot. I did a jack-off scene in one of ‘em. The best orgasm I ever had was a six-hour masturbation scene. It was incredible. It was voluminous! My left hand’s always been my best friend, anyway.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST THING ABOUT THE PORN BUSINESS?
You can’t get fired from it.
IS THAT RIGHT FOR EVERYBODY? NOBODY GETS FIRED IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Well, unless you do something obviously wrong. I’m not going to work with kids. I’m not going to work with animals – one of them might bite off my dick. So I’m not going to do anything that vile. But I finally found a place where I can’t get kicked out of – the porn business. And I like it.
DO ACTORS EVER GET KICKED OUT OF THE X-RATED BUSINESS FOR ANY REASON? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU A PERSON MIGHT DO THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED SO REPELLENT THAT HE OR SHE COULD JUST GET KICKED OUT?
Well, there are people who are relegated to other areas of the business. Let’s say – just hypothetically, although it’s happened – certain men come into the business and, while indeed they’re good heterosexual studs, they dally in a “gay mentality.” Once they do that, they are somewhat labeled. Because now, with all of this fear of AIDS and all that, they’re sort of relegated into another area where it’s tougher for them to regain their marginal foothold on the ladder of respectability.
There is a caste system in the adult entertainment business. You can look at it as a football team. There’s a quarterback, maybe two. Perhaps a handful of running backs. A handful of ends. But mostly, for all intensive purposes, most of the people are linemen. They are day players and they are the functional mentality of this business, the life blood of the industry. Because the prima donnas/the running backs/the pompous peacocks – they take themselves a little too seriously. And they’re just adult performers. That’s the whole thing, they’re just actresses. They’re like children. But I will put them in their place if they get out of hand. What I gained out of this, is that while a lot of them hate me, they respect me. I thrive on their respect far more than their affection, because their affections is transitory, but I’ve earned their respect. Maybe a sort of love. I’ve punished them, but I’ve never hurt any of them.
YOU SOMETIMES “PUNISH” YOUR KIDS? THAT’S SO OMINOUS. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
Oh, of course I punish my kids. I punish my kids by telling them the truth. I punish my kids also, by setting them free. I think it gets to a point in a person’s life where you can only keep the kid in the cocoon for so long. Then you burn the cocoon and you make the kid fly off. I have eliminated people from my life, and I don’t know whether that’s punishing them or just doing the right thing at the right time. I have shed people like a snake sheds skin, because I can’t keep all of these skins on my body at the same time and there are people who no longer need me. And there are people who simply need to be on their own and need to be sent off in whatever direction they’re going to go in. Viper, for example, spiritually outgrew being Viper.
HOW DOES A WOMAN WHO SENSES THAT SHE’S IN TROUBLE GET IN TOUCH WITH “PAW?”
If you have a problem within our industry, you call me, and we meet about it – perhaps at my office -- and I would try to rectify that problem. A problem with a job that you’ve had, a problem with a relationship. Just a problem. If you want to talk, call me up and that’s what I do.
LET’S TALK MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT “PAW.” WHAT HAPPENS IN A COUNSELING SESSION THERE
In a counseling session, but more in our classes, which we also do, we play out roles. We see how people would deal with a crisis. It’s all confidential, as far as we don’t tell stories about real people. Five years ago, I found a wonderful woman named Diane Kelly, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, and she handles the classes for me. She said to me, quite insightfully, she’s never missed a single class because she’s so concerned about some of the people at the meeting – she’s concerned about their welfare, I mean. Again, the X-rated industry is a huge tree. When a cub falls out of the tree and lands on its head, I put it back on the tree.
HOW DID YOU MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM PERFORMER IN ADULT MOVIES TO COUNSELOR FOR ADULT ENTERTAINERS? IN OTHER WORDS: WHAT IN YOUR LIFE PREPARED YOU FOR WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?
No transition. I’ve always been a counselor my whole life, even before I was in the adult business. That’s based on my background, living in juvenile hall as a kid , and working there thirteen years later [1969-1971] as a counselor.
June 30, 1956, I went to the dining hall in Unit R. I was twelve years old. A kid was actually talking to his breakfast! I didn’t know what the hell he was doing. A counselor – we called the counselors ‘sirs’ – said to me, “It was nice of you to talk to him.” They told me that nobody else wanted to deal with him in any substantial way. The kids all liked me when I was a counselor there. I didn’t want to make the kids prisoners. I became one of them. I would dress down to their clothing. The only thing that separated me from being one of them, was that I had a lanyard with keys on it. On the football field, when I played with the kids, they would say, “You’re not going to punish us if we accidentally hurt you on the field?” And I’d say, “No, I’m not going to punish you. And you’re not going to report me if I accidentally hurt you.”
I’d go eat dinner with the kids, in the mess hall, and the cooks actually thought I was one of the inmates and not a counselor. One of them yelled at me, “Get back in line, what are you doing here?” And I would allow myself to be treated exactly like the kids were being treated, because that way, the kids respected me more than they respected the other counselors. I was the one who wouldn’t talk down to them.
I would spend certain Saturday nights locked in, “being” one of the kids. And the kids thought I was so great because I was treated with the same scorn by the night crew that they were. The night crew had no idea I was a counselor, they just thought I was an older kid! They wouldn’t let me out at night; they wouldn’t give me water; they made me piss out the window. And I was in prison! And I couldn’t tip my hat at who I was to the night crew, because then I’d get in more trouble. Then the morning crew would come and let me out, and the kids would applaud, because they knew I went through a night of being one of them. And I wanted them to understand that I was one of them, that I empathized with them. And in the two-and-a-half years I worked in juvenile hall, not one of the kids ever raised a hand to me in hostility. If kids sense you’re sincere and you’re not going to hurt ‘em, they open up to you. I’d walk them to solitary, to Unit X. If a kid said to me, “What the fuck do you know about this place, motherfucker,” I would just tell him, “I lived here for three months, in 1956, in Unit W.” And then I’d say, “Let me show you where Unit W is.”
When I went back to juvey to be a counselor in 1969 it was a shame because – well, a month before I got there, they tore down the unit I lived in when I was a kid. I had a great affection for juvey. When I was a teenager, I cried the day they made me leave juvenile hall. I had to be dragged down the hall to leave.
I was forced to take care of myself at an early age. To avoid taking care of myself, I always thought, I’d just take care of other people. You asked me what I did to prepare for this, but everything I do prepares me for everything else. It was pre-destination when I got to work in Reb’s office as a manager [1973-1982].
The other reason that I started doing the counseling and the activism in this business, is that, in the eighties, I realized that nobody else in the business could talk about the business in ways that I could. And I assumed the position – as I assumed the position of being trade-show coordinator – of being spokesman for the adult industry. The Meese Commission came along and somebody needed to go talk to them. I felt that I needed to tell the truth about my industry. I thought it would be really cool to tell them – on my terms – what I had lived for that thirteen years (at that time I had been in the business for about thirteen years). And I went down there and spoke to them.
As far as protecting people – as far as being “Papa Porn” – that probably starts years and years before PAW, as early as 1973, when I started running Reb’s office, and I started “adopting kids” [bringing new talent into the business], the first one being Serena, uh, and then I started watching kids, and protecting them, and listening to them, and caring about them. Being on-call for them, being available to get phone calls from them when they had problems or even if they just wanted to talk to somebody. And just being there and being a security blanket for them. So, there’s no transition, it’s simply an evolution from one level of the business into another level of the business into yet another level of the business. Now I’m involved in doing everything.
I started as a writer, then an actor – if you want to call it acting – then I was an agent. I still do some agenting – if somebody new needs help, I’ll manage them and advise them, without taking any percentage. After we got busted in Las Vegas in ’93, people said, “How much money did you make putting on that show?" and I said, "None.” I referred to myself as “the not-for-profit panderer.” Also, [I was] “the not-for-mercenary-gain-manager.” I do it because I believe in it; I do it because I know the right connections for these people; I do it because I think it’s going to be good for them, and if they trust me, I can try and create them into something bigger than they are. The whole purpose of PAW, is to try and give them some type of stability. I’m Peter Pan and I go through a whole series of Wendys. And my current “Wendy” is [a young starlet named] Marin Beaute.
So I don’t think I’ve “transitioned,” as you put it. I don’t think I’ve transitioned into anything. I’m currently attempting to put together a production company. I want to go back into making movies one of these days. Not acting in them – certainly, I don’t think I’ll be doing any more penetrational sex, in fact I know I won’t. Whether or not I do an occasional blow job scene, I don’t know; I’m not even sure I’ll do that. I think that I have been relegated to masturbation. However, I think that essentially, I’m jacking off for the masses, so how much am I really losing? I’m really giving to the audience what I believe in the most. And that’s sexuality. And whether it be penetrational, oral, or masturbatory, my orgasms are their orgasms. They can join me in jacking off.
LET’S GO BACK TO YOUR MISSPENT YOUTH FOR A MOMENT. WHAT DID YOU DO TO WIND UP IN JUVENILE HALL AS A TEENAGER?
I was sent there for incorrigibility. I just said no to everybody – mostly, to my mother.
WHEN YOU’RE COUNSELING A PORN STARLET THROUGH “PAW,” THE WOMEN COME TO YOU WITH THEIR PROBLEMS. HOW MUCH DO THEY BRING ON THEMSELVES? AND HOW MUCH ARE THEY JUST OVERWHELMED BY WHAT THEY’RE DOING?
A lot of the women in the porn business are in relationships with guys who don’t approve of what they’re doing for their living. These guys take their money, but they damn them for making the money. So I spend a lot of time counseling them. The toughest part of all of this is that it’s a crowded business full of lonely people. And it hurts me.
I have a roommate – you’ll meet her. I’ve had a series of roommates in my life – platonic roommates, women who are new to the adult world. The latest one is a five-foot-tall German girl named Marin Beaute. I gave her her last name. [pronounced “Boot-ay”] It’s like having a puppy in the house. She does massive anal scenes, and she’s a little tiny person! She speaks German, and she speaks English with a German accent, and it’s so cute! She’s naturally humorous. And she twists the language around, so you have to sort of laugh when you listen to her. She’s just really fun to have around.
The greatest of all the roommates, and really my favorite “kid” of all time – and it hurts the other “kids” when they hear me say it – is a woman who lived with me in ’97, a woman named Anita Cannibal. Cannibal is just my all time favorite “kid.” I’ve lived with a lot of depressing people.
Bill Margold with Anita Cannibal.
Most of the actresses in this business are depressed and, more than that, they’re depressing. I keep having to try to infuse humor and vitality in them and give them a reason for existence. But Cannibal came to me as this wondrous human merry-go-round. She simply lit up my life for a year and I still speak to her a lot. I just adore her. She was into this blonde, brassy persona, which is not what I like sexually. On a sexual level, I like a bone rail-thin, titless tomboy. Give me a six-foot-tall woman with an ironing board for a chest and I will be ecstatic!
EVEN THOUGH YOU RUN THESE ‘BENEVOLENT AGENCIES,’ DO YOU EVER GET IN TROUBLE FOR THINGS YOU DO THERE?
Back in ’93, we got arrested in Las Vegas for putting on a live sex show, where we raised fifteen thousand dollars, in four hours, for the Free Speech Coalition. We went to jail. Nina Hartley [legendary porn star] was there and so was Miss Sharon Mitchell [another legendary porn star].
I hold Sharon Mitchell in great reverence, but I now know exactly how the Titanic felt; because when you hug Sharon Mitchell, there’s no warmth. “That woman,” Nina Hartley has said, “has been dead for years, she just sort of exists.” The woman should have been dead a long time ago. Heroin addict. She’s probably taken every drug known and unknown to man.
WHO ELSE IN THE BUSINESS IS RUNNING NOT-FOR-PROFIT AGENCIES TO PROTECT PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS BESIDES YOU? IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE?
Sharon Mitchell just started AIM [an AIDS testing and counseling service for porno stars, as well as for the general public] as redemption. She’s not a very warm person; and she started it, I think, to make people like her more. I don’t begrudge her. She said something very cryptic to me once. She said that she’ll only be doing this – that she’ll only be running AIM – for awhile. I said, “No, no, you don’t do something like this [something altruistic] ‘for awhile,’ Mitch. This is forever.” And she just said, “Couple years from now, I won’t be doing this.”
WHAT’S THE TRAINING YOU’VE HAD?
Self-training. AVN [Adult Video News, the adult industry’s largest trade publication] was not getting the job done. They were standing there and handing out insignificant pieces of paper. I thought of concepts that could make money. Adult Industry Stars’ birthdays. “If-Your-Birthday-Coincides-with-a-Stars”-calendars. Calendar cost a dollar and a quarter. From that, I spawned Video Vixen Baseball Cards, posters, tee-shirts, hats. Candy, bumper stickers. I fight for your rights to watch adult entertainment. I want to give you a tangible item. People are like children, they want something in exchange for a donation.
FOR HOW MUCH LONGER DO YOU THINK YOU’LL BE ABLE TO KEEP ACTIVE, DOING YOUR ‘JOBS?’
To be honest, I think I’ll continue to work with the Free Speech Coalition as long as it exists. When it no longer exists, I’ll go to the other ones I’ve spawned – FOXE, which has its own prospects and PAW, which will have its own product. So overall what I do is preserving freedom of choice on the island of X for consenting adults by consenting adults. It’s all predicated on the following statement I made to the Meese Commission in 1985. “With a society that is drug infested, violence racked, and polluted by chemical greed, nobody has ever died from an overdose of pornography.” Of course, I think a lot of my trade show coordination and selling comes from the fact that, I was a sales person – of dog food and magazines and other items door to door while I was in college. I believe in what I’m selling here a lot more than the dog food and the magazines.
WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU LIKE?
Well, today, you’re going with me to help me set up my Free Speech Coalition anti-censorship booth at the Convention Center [adult industry trade show for merchants and video distributors to display their wares, featuring personal appearances by autograph-signing porno stars], so we can talk about that. My day begins around seven, because I get calls from New York, where it’s ten. They think that just because it’s ten there, it happens to be ten everywhere, which I’ll never understand. I have so many conventions I’m responsible for now, that it’s a twenty-five hour a day job. I’m already planning a sex toy show three days after this one]; I’m also involved with the Fan Fare convention, the East Coast Video Show, and more.
I also have created a lot of materials to raise money for the Free Speech Coalition: I’m already planning new product, including “Hot Date Book 2000,” my latest calendar, featuring the 52 legends of erotica [fifty two men and women from the Golden Age of Porn 1970s and 1980s]. The most famous calendar date in the whole adult industry is the date when The King was born – John Holmes. Interestingly enough, my roommate now, Marin Beaute, was born on the same day as John Holmes! So my day, basically is… whether I’m at a trade show for the Anti-Censorship Coalition, or whether I’m with PAW, my lifeline to the world is the phone. I handle all of this on a multitude of levels. Oh, yeah, and I also make this “anti-censorship candy.” [He gives me some little hard candies, the kind you see at a coffee shop, next to the cash register; they’re cinnamon-flavored and have little American flags on them.] They’re pretty tasty!
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT A TRADE SHOW. PRINCIPALLY, DESCRIBE A DAY AT “PAW” – BUT ALSO MAKE SURE TO TELL ME EVERYTHING ELSE YOU DO, BILL!
If I were to give you another typical day, I would say that it begins with the most important thing – finding out what’s happening in the world of sports! I have my coffee, I answer my e-mail. Then, invariably, I work on projects that will go on in my booths at different conventions. By noon, I go to my office in the valley. All of the organizations I run or work for, I deal with out of my PAW office. But all of my “lives” are dedicated to coordinating to promoting things, to asking people in the industry if they need help… I don’t get vacations and I don’t get weekends. I might go to review a movie. Or I watch t.v. “Simpsons.” “Law and Order.” “The Practice.” “X-Files.” I love “X-Files,” but I want it to end. Somebody should put a bullet in it. I love “The Sopranos.”
My job as Trade Show Coordinator is the only thing I get paid for, as well as for writing movie reviews. The other things I don’t get paid for. Everything else I do is non-profit. [Bill’s telling the truth; he lives in a modest, but very nice, apartment.] I never really wanted to be paid, because, as I see it, there’s no dollar sign in the word “cause.” It got to a point that people got greedy and whined that they wanted to be paid for working in my organizations. We now have a lobbyist for the Free Speech Coalition. We have a secretary, whom I refer to as a “sixty thousand dollar paperweight.” I decided, at a point in time, that while there is no dollar sign in the word “cause,” there was certainly a dollar sign in the word “survival.” So I do allow myself to get paid solely for my jobs as Trade Show Coordinator and movie critic.
I used to be paid to write columns for AVN [Adult Video News], which is the Daily Variety of the porn business.] I don’t like them. I got stigmata from them. My hand bled. The problem with AVN, is that they don’t care about the welfare of the people in the business, which is what I’m most concerned about. They’re just out to make money. As I said, I wrote some columns for them for awhile, but I had to stop because I can’t accept money for something I don’t believe in. I believe in the Free Speech Coalition, for example. That’s the only one I get a small salary for, the others I do for free. I mean, I need the money, to be perfectly honest with you. I have to feed two hungry cats.
I don’t charge for a whole lot of what I do, because I have autonomy. The price of sometimes spending your own money, is to buy your freedom. So I’m not overly disappointed in the way I operate my situation. I will ask for another raise soon. Two thousand a month, to be trade show coordinator for the Free Speech Coalition. And my van eats some of it. I have health and dental insurance now, which I didn’t used to be able to afford, although I’m terrified of the dentist. My teeth hurt more now than they did before I went to the guy. The man’s building the Sistine Chapel in my mouth!
At night, I’ll have to answer phone calls. Sometime around eleven, I’ll get to go to sleep. I’ll wake up around seven o’ clock. Today’s the convention, so I’ll take awhile to get ready to go downtown at the Convention Center. And I like to be in my booth an hour before the convention opens because I like to make sure everything’s in place. Today, I listened to people whining, which is typical. They’re infringing on my territory.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD BOOTH AT A TRADE SHOW CONVENTION?
A good booth at a convention only works if you have incredibly attractive females in the booth with you, who are vibrant. A booth does not work with a bunch of men in suits who are incredibly boring. I wear slogan tee shirts that I’m selling, tennis shoes. I drink water all day long when I work a booth. Camel-like, I never leave the booth because, if I leave, I feel that everything will stop. I hover over my booth with a great, great affection… Not that I’m irreplaceable, but my energy is irreplaceable.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU’RE THE LEADING VOICE OF ANTI-CENSORSHIP IN YOUR BUSINESS?
I’m the staunchest supporter of our industry and I’m also its severest critic. And I’m not anti-censorship to the point where I think that anything is tolerable, because I think that many things are intolerable. I’m a firm believer in what I call “common sense-orship.” I think that anything two consenting adults want to do together is cool. But no killing each other; no snuff films; no kids; no aberrational violence; no scatology movies – you know, pissing movies – even though I was just recently involved in one. But that was just apple juice.
I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW SOMETHING, SO I’LL ASK YOU, BILL: HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE REALLY LIKE TO WATCH THAT ABERRATIONAL STUFF? I MEAN, I JUST GOT THIS CATALOG IN THE MAIL, AND I SWEAR, THEY HAD THIS VIDEO THEY WERE SELLING WHICH WAS CALLED SOMETHING LIKE, “PEEING ON DWARVES!”
Absolutely. We’re a jaded society.
WHAT’S YOUR WORKPLACE LIKE?
My workplace is between my ears. Even though I have a physical office that I go to over in the valley, for PAW, I would have to say that my mind is my office. My home – this apartment – is known as “the cave.” As you can see, it’s teddy bear/adult video/Detroit Lion-oriented [his apartment is fully of teddy bears, adult videos, and Detroit Lions memorabilia]. And of course, I’ve got my two cats. My workplace is my mind. My mind is constantly creating sound bytes and products over and over again. I also have a little home office here, with a computer. My PAW office in the valley is interesting. There’s nothing sexually-oriented there. That’s where you go to talk, if you have a problem. I never turn the lights on, because we sit and we talk, and I have teddy bears and candy for the women who come in. And the starlets sit across the room from me. And eventually they’ll grab a teddy bear and they’ll open up and talk. And they tell me whatever’s wrong with them – or whatever’s right with them. I have so many teddy bears down there – as well as here in my apartment, as you’ve noticed – and they really like these teddy bears. It brings them back into the security of being a child, and it relegates them back to the innocent time. And the room is very blue and cool and tranquil and womb-like. And that means a lot to me. It means a lot to me that I can work with these “kids.”
YOU SAID THAT ADULT PERFORMERS ARE CHILDLIKE?
Not so much childlike as they are “juvenile delinquent-like.” The great adult female performers, are the ones where the little girl hasn’t died inside of them.
When the camera goes on, the little girl hops out and runs around and lifts her dress and gets away with things.
HOW DID YOU START PAW?
Protecting Adult Welfare was created five years ago. It rose from the misery of this business and the suicide of Savannah [popular porn actress], on July 11, 1994. On that date, I received a phone call from Ron Silva, a director of adult material. And I swore at that time there would be no more Savannahs. And the rest is history. I started the organization. I went and got a person who counseled us on how to counsel. And I challenged the Free Speech Coalition – what I did, rather cutely, was I made a call to a friend of mine at the L.A. Times. We talked. I told them I was putting together PAW and, lo and behold, on Saturday, the story ran. On Tuesday, I was at a board meeting of Free Speech. They said, “What’s this?’ I said, it’s something we have to do, because it’s in the L.A. Times. So this is where my famous quote came up. They said, “We’ll give you an office but we won’t pay you for it.” And that’s where I said “there is no dollar sign in the word ‘cause.’” From that, Free Speech II became PAW, an offshoot of Free Speech Coalition.
Here's Bill Margold back in 1980, being interviewed by the late Wally George, Uber-Conservative UHF crackpot (and father of Rebecca De Mornay).
Ultimately, we’ll want to be able to start the “PAW House,” where the actresses can go to live for a little while when something wrong happens to them. I see it as a place where they can get away without anyone pressuring them or beating them up, mentally or physically. They need a safe haven, the PAW house. But, in general, yeah, PAW is all based on teddy bears and hugging and concern.
I was the first person to do the counseling like this. PAW was going along happily and I was given Miss Sharon Mitchell to be the AIDS matron. I figured, she’s a legend, I couldn’t say no. We set up shop. Then people got sick. PAW was involved in testing. But then Mitchell wanted more power and wanted her own medical domain. She created a petition to get rid of me. Instead of getting rid of me, I came up with AIM Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundations, in May, 1998. I gave it to her and said, “Welcome to Hell. Now you have a business.” I moved AIM away from PAW at the end of August, 1998.
Adult Video News proceeded to give Sharon Mitchell an award for AIM just months after I created it for her – which, to me, is like giving Lamar Hunt an award for creating the AFL before you give George Hallis the award for creating the NFL! I wouldn’t take an award from the AVN. They don’t have enough orifices for me to stick their award up. [laughs] But I just felt that you just don’t award somebody for something before it’s even a year old. AVN doesn’t really care that AIM is helping anybody’s health, they just want to be associated with “a cause” because they think that just being associated with it is cool. The AVN magazine is a bad read, but it’s a good doorstop. And if you perforate it and soften it, it has another function, too! [laughs]
WHY DO YOU HATE AVN? It has no humanity in it at all. It’s the Bible for a godless industry. It’s godless because it’s only totem is the almighty dollar sign. And there is nothing holy about a dollar bill. The AVN is purely an advertising orifice. Anything can be bought at AVN. They will totally sell out on Marilyn Chambers. [The legendary porn star Marilyn Chambers, in 1999, made her comeback movie, which also happened to be her first X-rated movie in fifteen years; Chambers would pass away in 2009.] People want to remember her from Behind the Green Door, they don’t want to see her looking like a green door! I’m not a big fan of the publication. There’s no humanity in that magazine, they don’t care about people. It’s all about selling things and making a buck.
HAVE YOU SEEN OUTCOMES FROM PAW? HAVE WOMEN YOU’VE HELPED COME BACK AND THANKED YOU?
I’ve had victories and losses, in equal amounts. I’ve had a lot of genuinely heartbreaking moments. PAW was born, I would say, not really the day Savannah died – as I said earlier – but, as I think about it, probably even earlier than that, with the death of Shauna Grant in 1984, and continuing with the death of Megan Leigh in 1990. And we’ve had other deaths in the business, too).
The pornstar Savannah died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1994.
In fact, six weeks before Savannah died, in ’94, I got a phone call at three am, from another actress whose name I can’t really say. She said: “Uncle Bill, Uncle Bill. Please, I need to talk to you. Please I need to talk to you.” When I get a call like that in the middle of the night from a girl and she’s distressed – which I do more often than I’d like – I can kind of mentally transfer myself into her place so that, in a way, I’m right there beside her when she’s talking to me. She said that Megan Leigh was right, when she said that the industry has no soul. I talked this girl all the way home on her car phone and then, when she got home, her cat got in her lap, and she said everything was okay. I told her I loved her and I hung up.
I didn’t realize that I had cried so much during the conversation. There were puddles in my collarbones. Later on, Nina Hartley, in a public announcement, said that my talking on the phone to this one girl saved the life of one of her best friends. And then, six weeks later, Savannah died, and that’s when I decided that the adult performer needs to be hugged rather than screwed. These women are all fragile panes of stained glass and they need to be held and assured that everything is going to be okay. And, the fact is, everything is not going to be okay – that’s the problem. There’s a lot of problems in this business, and a lot of people in the business hurt my kids, and I just won’t tolerate that. These are my kids and I will protect them, even the ones I don’t like, the ones I call my “bad children.” But I protect all of them. There are a few who, after a point in time, wear out their welcome, and then they have to go on their own. I won’t help them anymore because they keep making the same mistakes many times. But if they really, really, really need me, I will not deny them. And I’ve had enemies at the door that I’ve taken in. Because I have no choice. Right now I’m lucky to have somebody really great, Marin Beaute, living in my guest room, but after she leaves – and she will – another “kid” will come and need the room, whether it’s for a night, a week, a month, or a year.
WHAT ARE SOME MORE SPECIFIC PROBLEMS THAT THE WOMEN COME TO YOU WITH, IN PAW?
Well, it ranges from peer-pressure, to work problems, to boyfriend problems, to a certain amount of drug problems. But now that AIM is up and running, I refer the drug problems to AIM, because Miss Sharon Mitchell likes to deal with those things. She has a background in it. Sharon’s done her time in Hell. And I say, “If you’ve been in Hell, you might as well handle Hell!”
DO YOU EVER INTERCEDE ON A GIRL’S BEHALF, IF SHE SAYS THAT SO-AND-SO (BOYFRIEND, OR A PERSON IN THE INDUSTRY) IS THREATENING HER OR NOT TREATING HER FAIRLY? DO YOU EVER GET PERSONALLY INVOLVED TO THE POINT OF CALLING THE PERSON WHO’S HURTING THE GIRL AND DEALING WITH HIM YOURSELF?
Yes, I will make calls – which makes me even more hated by the people I’m calling. But, hopefully, if I make the call and get involved, it gets done. People will not say no to me, because they recognize that one day, they may need me. And they know it’s not really wise to deny me something when it’s not for me – it’s for the person I’m calling about. I can’t keep reiterating enough that I don’t want anything out of anything I do. The kids that I bring into the business, the kids that I watch over, the kids that I help in this business, I want nothing. Perhaps what I really would like, is if they’re ever asked who helped them, who led them in the right direction, who was their patriarch so to speak – their “daddy” – uh, I think that’s cool when they say it was me. I like that very much.
DO YOU EVER SEE WOMEN YOU’VE HELPED OUT OF PROBLEMS TURN AROUND AND HELP NEW WOMEN WHO ARE COMING INTO THE BUSINESS IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU’VE HELPED THEM OUT?
Oh, absolutely. I don’t have a lot of disciples, but I have people who have learned from me that it’s wiser to help, that it’s better to give than take, because you can only take so much. And you get a better feeling out of giving what you have and what you’ve learned, rather than simply taking – because I know I want nothing. There’s really nothing in this world that I would like, outside of helping people in this business, except maybe the Lions in the Super Bowl. I have everything else. Whether or not I ever have another relationship, like I did with Viper, is really questionable. You don’t make your own plans for that. If it happens it happens.
PAW is not a job. It’s my cause. Of the three organizations I’m with, it would be the one I would hang onto the most tenaciously at the expense of the other two. If I was told I could only do one “job,” channel all of my energy into one thing – which I can’t do, because everything is a by-product of everything else, I would just stay with PAW. But, realistically, I can’t really do one thing because all three of my organizations are like a hydra. You cut off one head, it’ll grow back, because the other two will pump life into it. My organization “FOXE” [Fans of X-Rated Entertainment] is exactly that. The fans are the lifeblood of the industry, the industry’s money source. It’s in third place, only because it’s ten years old and it’s become marginally self-sufficient without me working on it day to day, like I do with the other ones.
Bill and the magnificently proportioned Taylor Wane.
YOU’VE BEEN SAYING THAT PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS DON’T LIKE YOU. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO RUFFLE FEATHERS?
I tell the truth. People don’t want to hear the truth, in any way, shape, or form. They don’t want to hear the facts of life, or even their own facts of life. Needless to say, way back in 1979, when I was still acting as my mainstay, Rona Barrett interviewed me, she asked me if I had [natural] children. I said, “Yeah, anyone can have kids, that takes no talent.” She said, “Would you allow your daughter to be in the X-rated business?” I said, “Yeah, I really don’t care what she does. It would be hypocritical of me to tell her what to do when she turns eighteen. In fact,” I told her, “I’ll work with her myself!”
She was amazed! I said, “Well, no, I’m not really going to fuck my own daughter.” I basically tapped into her own uneasiness and the uneasiness of the culture as a whole, as well as her own misery. It finally got to the point where I was supposed to apologize to the business for saying that one little comment – so that whole comment has been held against me to a certain extent for the last nineteen years, even though I was only joking when I said it. That’s the only incident where I overextended my bounds.
I think that I have been able to redeem myself to my critics and enemies in the industry, in 1985, by going in front of the Meese Commission and saying my most famous quote, the “…nobody has ever died from an overdose of pornography” line. I established myself, at that point, as someone to reckon with when it comes to talking about this business. And that’s where I realized that, for better for worse, I would become one of the spokespeople for the industry.
It’s funny, because sometimes the people who hate me the most in this business respect me the most. Often, my enemies call me to help a girl who’s in trouble because they know I’m the only one who can do it. It’s far more important for me to be respected than liked. I’ve earned their hate and they hate me so much they respect me. Because I tell the truth. One of my enemies, an actress, said to an interviewer, “I hate Bill Margold.” And the interviewer said, “Why?” And she said, “I don’t know.” And one of my enemies said he wanted to be me, because I’ve done everything he’s ever wanted to do but didn’t. And they also know I’m one of the honest people in the business.
WHO ARE THE OTHER SPOKESPEOPLE FOR YOUR INDUSTRY BESIDE YOURSELF?
There are other spokespeople for the industry, but most of them have no right to speak for it, especially the lawyers. Only if they’ve been in the trenches [been in the movies, as performers or as creative people] do they have a right to talk about it – the Nina Hartleys; the Gloria Leonards; the Jane Hamiltons. These are actresses. Anyone who speaks about this business has to have lived this business on the vulnerable level, before they can have any kind of credibility, in any way, shape, or form.
YOU TALK ABOUT NEEDING TO HAVE “BEEN IN THE TRENCHES” TO BE A SPOKESMAN FOR THE ADULT BUSINESS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN THE PORN BUSINESS BACK IN THE SEVENTIES – CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR ACTING AND WRITING AND MANAGING DAYS?
Sure. I started in this business in 1971, as a journalist, covering it. I wanted to write about the business and report on it and I wanted it to be, as I told you – because of my affection for the Detroit Lions – the George Plimpton of pornography. I wanted to live this business on whatever levels I could. I began to interview people and I began to meet people in the business through a publication called “Spectrum West.” And one day, in 1972, I met [the porn talent agent] Reb Sawitz.
I hung around Reb’s office. He was the center of attention in the business, in the early seventies. It was totally illegal at that point, so he was sort of dodging the vice cops and I said to him, “I’d like to run your office.” He’d already had legal problems, and he was wearing thin. And I said, “I want to act in an adult movie, so I can write a story about being in an adult movie.” It was arranged that I would be acting in a softcore movie called The Goddaughter. I would write about the making of the movie, as a journalist, and I would not be paid for being in the movie. And Reb told me this would be my only appearance in adult movie, that it would be a one-shot deal. When I got down to the set – my very first day of being on an X-rated movie set – I felt, “This is where I belong.”
There is a cute story about this movie: I played a character called ‘Dummy’ who had no lines, because I wasn’t a very good actor. So I just lumbered around in the scenes and did what I had to do. The last night, at 4:30am, now I’m – or should I say “poor Dummy is,” rather – trapped in two sex scenes. I’m with this woman named Diana Hardy, and I’m supposed to have two simulated scenes with her. Remember, this is soft core, so we weren’t showing actual genital penetration. One of the scenes goes all right. But by the time the second scene starts, Diana starts playing with me. I get an erection and she’s playing with it! And the cameraman is pissed, he says, “I can see his dick.” And this is softcore, so we couldn’t show erections yet. So the cameraman said to me, indicating my dick, “Either cut that damn thing off or hide it.” This is not the kind of thing I want to hear. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for my dick. So Diana says, “Okay, Dummy, you can stick it in. But don’t enjoy it.” After, she says, “You didn’t enjoy it, did you?” and I said [sarcastically], “No.”
Anyway, it was frustrating for me, because I never got off during those scenes. When I pulled out of Diana, I was still rock hard. Twenty years later, I was doing a lecture at Orange Coast College, and a student says, “Tell me about what it was like to film simulated sex.” And I said, “What?” And the whole nightmare came back. I forgot about that scene for twenty years. I was ashamed that I had been hard and that my dick wouldn’t behave. Diana Hardy eventually died of an overdose. Gorgeous woman. I didn’t really like her, she was sort of a bitch – a mean-spirited woman, like a high-strung Persian cat. She never did hardcore in her career, only softcore.
I wrote the story about the movie and it was cool. At the end of the movie, everybody was signing everybody’s scripts and saying goodbye; it’s like graduation from high school. I felt so adopted into a family of all these cool people, that I drove home and I began to cry because I knew that, essentially, this was my one shot at being in an adult movie, and they were just letting me be in it as a favor, because I asked permission to write an article about what it was like to be on the set. Driving home, I said to myself, “I have to do this forever.” I wanted to do it permanently.
My next great benefactor after Reb, was Titus Moody, one of the first hardcore directors. I told him I want to do hardcore. He said, “You write it, you can be in it.” So on October 1, 1972, in a garage in Venice, Calif. I performed my first act of hardcore with a woman named Sue Kay. It was a blow job scene, it went off very nicely, and I got off on her face. I was all warm and sweaty and I said to myself, this is really cool. Then I noticed this cat looking at me. I said, “What the fuck’s that about?” It turns out, I was lying on this rug, which happened to be this cat’s piss box. Then, the cat pissed on the rug, and I said, “Not good for me.”
Next, I had sex with a black girl, for a book, for a still photo shoot – it wasn’t a movie. I’m not really attracted to black women. I like my football players black and my women white. That day, I fucked a black woman, two white women, and then Sue Kay again. It was my birthday, October 2nd. I went off five times in seven hours! And the director of the photo shoot said, “Hey, Margold, how come you came so much?” And I said, “Because nobody told me I couldn’t.” That evening, I go to my motel, there’s a knock on the door, and it’s Sue Kay. I said, “Oh, no! Not more sex!” And she said, “No, I just want to sleep next to you.” She wore a little nightie. She did give me a blow job the next morning, too, which I didn’t even ask for.
YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU LEARNED, THROUGH COUNSELING WOMEN IN PAW, THAT WOMEN IN THIS BUSINESS WANT TO BE LIKED AS PEOPLE AND NOT AS OBJECTS.
They do want to be liked first. But what I’ve also learned in my life, is that they’ll use sex as a way to avoid being liked. Because being “liked” means more emotional involvement. If they can avoid the emotional involvement, they’ll avoid it by allowing you to fuck ‘em and then they’ll have no use for you. They think that fucking is a validation, and to a certain extent, it is. But in a reality, sex is also way of eliminating you [a man] from their life on a serious basis. It’s a paradox, because the people who deal in sex, use sex to avoid relationships and it’s amazing. I discovered very early when Serena [1970s porn star], my first great love –and my spiritual ‘adopted sister’ – came into my life.
When I first met Serena, I was overwhelmed with her. She came to Reb’s office, which I was managing in mid-1973, and she just came into my arms. I hugged her and she started to purr like a cat. I thought, “This is wonderful.” She just nuzzled. For years, she has called me ‘Brother Bill,’ and we never really worked together, until we made Disco Dolls in Hot Skin in 3-D, in 1977.
RIGHT. THAT’S THE MOVIE WHERE YOUR CHARACTER UTTERS MY FAVORITE LINE IN MOVIE HISTORY. IN FACT, PARTIALLY, WHY I AM EXCITED ABOUT INTERVIEWING YOU, IS BECAUSE YOU SAID THAT LINE. IF YOU COULD SAY IT NOW, I WOULD BE GREATLY HONORED!
Right: “A day without my dick is like a day without sunshine.”
I had known Serena for four years and she starts crying. She says, “We can’t have sex [in this movie]. We’re like brother and sister.” And I said, “No, you’re ‘Jennifer’ and I’m ‘Harry Baulls,’ and those are our characters in the movie. They’re having sex, we’re not. Among the five hundred sex scenes I’ve had in my career, sex with Serena ranks in the top twenty-five. The best sex I ever had in this business, to this day (I’ll never do penetrational sex again in a movie; I might do an occasional blow job) was a woman named Danielle Martin, who was like having sex with an oven. Never before have I ever been in anything that hot, or that sensual and arousing and overwhelming. It’s the only time, I’ll tell you, that it was so good, that the next day, in an orgy scene we filmed out in a barn, I said to her, “Mind if I fuck you for a little while we’re waiting for the [camera] set-up?” And she said, “Sure.” And I said, “Oh, thank you!” So we screwed for two hours when the camera was off. That was the only time I ever really did that, because I never wanted to take advantage of who or what I was in this business. It’s not wise to do that a lot – to take advantage of somebody – because you can’t take it back. You can’t remove the stigma of what you’ve done.
Serena, Bill's friend and occasional co-star.
NOW THAT YOU’RE THE FATHER FIGURE/THE COUNSELOR, YOU HAVE TO BEHAVE, RIGHT? YOU CAN’T HAVE SEX WITH THEM AS MUCH.
Right, I have to behave. I put myself in a very interesting position now, with PAW, of being in a situation where I have become the father confessor/patriarch to many of the young women in the business. I’m not allowed to have sex with them, because it would be taking advantage of my own “children.” So I’m in a very strange position, in that I’m in a business that deals in sex, and now I’m not allowed to have it anymore. I don’t really know what to do about that, and I don’t think I really care. I’m really not missing anything. Masturbation is a very cheap and pleasant and functional release. I have a certain amount of affection for a woman in the business now named Fiero, but I'm worried that if it’s overt affection I might be taking advantage. One night, she came over here, to my apartment, and we had an amusing oral sex adventure that felt very good. But that was about it with her.
But I don’t know, I’m sort of waiting to see if I’m ever swept off my feet again, if anybody can sweep me of my feet again, as I had been swept away by Viper. I think if anyone ever swept me off my feet again, they would get knocked over, first by the industry itself, which would hold me in contempt for taking advantage of who I am, and them for being in the relationship with me. Anyone who gets in a relationship with me is affected as much as they are helped. Because people who know that I’m allied with certain people, then try to hurt those people to get back at me. So I warn those people coming into my life that they’re entering in a very dangerous area where they can get as much out of it as they can get hurt by it.
IS THERE MORE BACKBITING IN THE ADULT FILM BUSINESS THAN IN THE REGULAR HOLLYWOOD MOVIE BUSINESS OR THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
Well, I always say, “in a business predicated on screwing, you’re gonna get fucked.” That’s the nature of what it’s all about. It’s as simple as that. It’s the nature of the beast, and people use any form of sexual divisiveness to get people back one way or another. I try to protect them, but nobody wants to listen even marginally moralistic because, to a certain extent, it’s an immoral business. As I said, AVN is the Bible of a godless business.
My last hardcore scene was a blow job in ‘95. [When I sat down with Bill ten years after the initial interview, in July 2009, he updated me on this: He subsequently received an on-screen blowjob in a film made in 2000.] Since ‘95, I’ve done tangenital scenes. Mostly now I’ve relegated myself to masturbation scenes – coming in a woman’s face. I really think that’s cool, because people can live vicariously through me jacking off into a woman’s face, as if they’re jacking off into a woman’s face. I’m not doing it for any kind of sexual thrill, per se. If I was doing it for a sexual thrill, I would get laid or get a full blow job. It’s so cute, because I was working with Montana Gunn [1990s’ porn actress] in [a film called] Anal Ball, and she said, “I’ll suck your dick.” And I said, “No you won’t.” And she said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “First of all, I’m not tested. Not that I have anything to be tested about; I was tested once last year. And I also said, “I shouldn’t be doing this because I’m a patriarch.” She said, “You’re ‘Papa Porn.’ I would be honored to blow you.” Finally, I did jack off in her face and she said, “I’m so honored to be jacked-off upon by Papa Porn. You’re the legend.” I laughed.
My most recent jacking off scene was this thing I just did for a movie called Cybergardens. It’s an S&M scene, where I’m subjugated in domination by Mistress Morgan Fairlane. And I’m tied up and I’m blindfolded and I’m tortured. And then I’m forced to jack-off on her boot and eat my own come shot, which is something I invented in 1979. It’s called “The Margold Shot.” It’s mine. I get full credit for it. I’m very proud of it.
SO, UH, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE THE EVEL KNIEVEL OF THIS ONE PARTICULAR SHOT WHICH YOU’VE “INVENTED.” DO YOU THINK ANYBODY WILL BE BREAKING YOUR RECORD?
There are people who are doing it now! But when I first ate my own come shot, in 1979, the men on the set went, “Ewwwww!” But the woman who wrote the movie came over and said, “That was the most romantic thing I ever saw.” I said to the men who were scorning me, “Haven’t you ever kissed your lady after she sucked your dick? Got off in her mouth?” And they said, “No way.” So I said, “Well, then you have no right to get your dick sucked.” And also, since I know where my come comes from, what do I care? It’s just putting protein back into my system. So what the hell is all this repellence about it? I created “The Margold Shot” and I’m proud of it. There wasn’t a time when Viper blew me, when I didn’t kiss her after she blew me.
On Saturdays I have always played football. And when I lived with Viper, after I played football and came home, she always wanted me to come on her face and then she’d rub it in to her skin. Then she’d just leave it on and peel it off. And if you look at Viper’s face in one of her movies, it’s perfect. No pimples, no impurities. See, it’s because what’s inside of me – because I’ve never done drugs – is pure; it was good for her. When I first met Viper – she later told me -- she had a yeast infection, and after fucking me she never had a yeast infection again for five years! I have so much acid in my system, just naturally, that I kill all bacteria and viruses on contact! There’s a scene in Intimate Lessons [a movie Bill acted in, in the ‘70s] where I take K.C. Valentine [70’s porn actress] into a sauna bath and I beat her across the face with my dick – and I have a fairly big dick. She’s in virginal white, I’m all dressed up in black leather. I snapped my dick in her face a few times and I heard this weird sound, but I didn’t think anything of it. And then, I jacked off on the hot coals, right there in the sauna bath. And I heard a weird sound there, too.
The luminescent Viper, a porn actress who was also a former ballerina, was the one true love of Bill Margold's life. Bill told me, re: 'true love,' "You only get one, kid," and Viper was his. Viper and Bill were together between 1986 and 1991, and she then disappeared.
The next morning, I went into the sauna bath – I don’t even know why I went there – and I look at the rocks, and I’ll be damned if there aren’t these little grooves cut into the rocks from my come! Like, the acid in my come had seared the rocks! And then I went into the barn to have the orgy scene, and I see K.C. Valentine there, and she has black marks under her eyes. And I said, “What the hell is this?” And she said, “You broke my nose with your dick yesterday!” And I said, “Wow, am I sorry!” She said, “Oh, no! I loved it! I came like you wouldn’t believe!” She said, “Oh, it was really good, I enjoyed it.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE MAGICAL FLUIDS THAT YOU CAN SELL TO WOMEN AT ‘THE BATH AND BODY SHOP!’ MAYBE YOU CAN ADD THEM INTO LITTLE ‘BATH BEADS’ OR SOMETHING!
No, it’s true, Chuck, that women call me if they have stretch marks or little wounds. I jack off on them and, mystically, things on their skin start healing themselves. In 1973, I went to Texas to make a movie, and I woke up the next day, and I was pissing fire. And I saw this doctor when I got back home to L.A. The guy said, “What have you been doing with that dick, buddy, digging a ditch?” And I said, “Well, no, I was doing these sex scenes in a movie, and I had to stay hard for a few hours at a time.” At the time, hardcore was so new, the doctor had never even heard of it – he had never heard of having to stay hard for hours at a time.
He said, “Do you understand how things work and why it’s dangerous for you to do this?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, you have your urethral lining. It’s lubricated and, after awhile, you run out of lubrication and it starts to break down and you can get a situation known as ‘non-specific urethritis,’ which is irritation of the urethral lining. He said, “You’re wearing-out the brake lining.” He also said, “You know, you have an awful lot of acid in your system. What’s that all about?” He decided that I could never get any venereal diseases because anything that goes into my system will just die on contact – and I thought that was kind of cool. So I’m lucky. I’ve never had a venereal disease, I’ve had non-specific urethritis three times. But I never had to fuck too hard to get what I needed to get.
I always preferred, when I did my scenes, to “get myself up” – spit in my left hand; or else, I had this stuff called bear oil. But beside that, I just wanted to be left alone. I never let anyone touch me until I went to work. I screwed as little as possible off the set, because I didn’t want to take advantage of these peoples’ good graces. Blow jobs were sort of amusing but, even there, I let them suck on my dick just enough to get whatever footage they wanted. I wasn’t in it for the sex, I certainly wasn’t in it for the money. I was in it absolutely, totally for the glory. Always. Glory, glory, glory, glory, glory. I just dig glory.
IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR ALTRUISTIC WORK WITH PAW AND YOUR OTHER CHARITIES? GLORY AND RECOGNITION? YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T WANT ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF…
No, for my causes, that I’m running today – PAW and the others – I just want to help people. I said that. I want nothing for myself. But for my acting career, I do love the recognition factor and I always have. I’ve had a wonderful series of experiences in my life lately, where I’ve had standing ovations for scenes I’ve done, from audiences who didn’t know I was standing in the back of the theater. And you can testify to this, because you saw Hot Skin in 3-D, when they revived it just recently…
[I met Bill at a screening of this 1978 3-D porn film, at the New Beverly Theater, a great L.A. repertory house, a few months earlier, where, based on the popularity of Boogie Nights, it was screening as a cult film/midnight movie to mainstream/college-educated audiences who were really loving it.]
… and you heard the audience get off behind what was I doing when I was fucking that woman from behind and I drowned her in that giant vat of chicken soup! And when, after the woman bit my dick off, I took the stake and jammed it into her! And the audience was cheering. They’re not laughing, they’re cheering! That’s so cool. That, to me, is music on notes that nobody can create – except for the sincerity of somebody being appreciated for what they do.
ISN’T IT GREAT WHEN A MOVIE THAT WAS MADE TWENTY YEARS AGO, ESSENTIALLY TO BE SHOWN TO AN AUDIENCE OF HORNY GUYS IN A DILAPIDATED PORN HOUSE, IS NOW, TWENTY YEARS LATER, BEING SCREENED IN AN ART THEATER TO AN AUDIENCE OF YOUNG, ‘HIP’ PEOPLE, WHO ARE JUST HAVING FUN WITH IT, AND ENJOYING IT AS A FUNNY ‘CULT MOVIE?’
It’s cool, because the people from your generation, or younger, are giving me back all of the recognition of what I’ve done over the years and now, whole new generations are getting off behind it. And it’s a wonderful thing, for me and for them. They get to see the history of this business, they get to see these twenty-year-old movies coming alive again. I don’t think these kids were too upset by what they were watching. They knew it was all tongue-in-cheek, so to speak.
Bill with Christy Canyon.
YOU’RE THE MASTURBATION SURROGATE FOR THE WORLD!
Sure. It’s the cheapest date in the world. There’s no guilt involved. A release is a release is a release is a release. What’s the problem?
WHO ARE THE MAIN ACTRESSES YOU DISCOVERED WHEN YOU WERE AN AGENT/MANAGER?
Serena. Kelly Nichols. Seka. Pat Manning. Jennifer West. Tiffany Clark. Lee Carroll. Drea. Bunny Bleu. Desiree Lane. Kimberly Carson. Amber Lynn. Brandy Alexandre. Of course, Viper. And Anita Cannibal. To a certain extent, Danielle Cheeks, I helped her a lot. Alex Jordan. And now I have Marin Beaute. Cannibal was my ’97 find, Marin was my ’98, and now I have a brand new ’99 one, Cativa. She does need, very much, a breast job, and then she will get that and then, hopefully, everything will be okay. And she will go off and, if she wants to pursue a hardcore career, she will. But I told her something last night that may have disturbed her. I told her that she may not need to do hardcore. She might be able to survive in the business just by doing “pretty girl” modeling and just doing non-penetrational sex. Although she had already done a blow job scene before I got to her.
WHAT’S “PRETTY GIRL MODELING?”
Magazines. Wide-open splits. No hard core penetration or any sexual situations. That might work for her and, if it does, more power to her. Uh, we’ll see what she really wants to do. She’s very grown-up, very attractive. She’s stunning. Like I said, her breasts are kind of small.
WITH PAW, ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE WHO EVER COME TO YOU FOR COUNSELING WHO YOU DISCOURAGED FROM BEING IN THE INDUSTRY? MAYBE YOU FELT THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE CONSTITUTION TO BE IN THE BUSINESS?
Oh, yeah. Well, way before PAW – when I ran Reb’s talent agency from ’73 to ’82 for nine years, it is said that I discouraged ninety percent of the people who walked into my office. I had a line that I would use: First of all, as I’ve said, the perfect person for this business is what I refer to as the “Sterile Orphan” – which means, no kids, no family, no underbelly, no vulnerability. As a talent agent, I would tell most women who came into my office wanting to be in the porn business to think about the future; to think about what would happen when their kids came home from school ten years later and asked them about what mommy used to do. I would warn them it was illegal, which it was, at that point, in the seventies and early eighties. That would usually get rid of most of these women. I would explain that to them that they could go to jail. Some of them already had kids, and they would just expect to leave the kids alone at home and come to work on the set. I explained to them that their own natural children are not pets – that you can’t leave a bowl of food on the ground and expect to come home and find the kid there. And after my whole speech, most of them would excuse themselves and never come back. And I was very pleased about that. I – if I can get to a person and talk to them seriously, I can probably talk them out of being in this business. I’ve tried. It’s not as easy these days, because these young women are starving and they want this money and all this kind of crap. But, uh, I’m pretty good at it talking people out of being in the business if I don’t feel they’re strong enough to be in it.
ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS WHO HAVE BEEN IN IT FOR A LONG TIME, AND MAYBE THEY’RE REALLY FLUSTERED OR JUST TIRED OF IT? AND AT THAT POINT, DO YOU EVER TELL THEM TO TAKE A BREAK?
Oh yeah, I tell ‘em, “get out.” I tell ‘em, “Leave the business.” I tell ‘em this business is not for them. I always tell them that if they think it’s time for them to walk away, that they should just walk away.
BILL, BE HONEST WITH ME. AREN’T YOU ATTRACTED TO SOME OF THE YOUNG WOMEN WHO COME INTO YOUR OFFICE FOR COUNSELING? COME ON! I MEAN, THEY COME IN, YOU COUNSEL THEM, THEY HUG A TEDDY BEAR AND THEN THEY LEAVE? ARE YOU SURE THAT’S ALL THAT HAPPENS?
[laughs] Look, I’m not a saint. None of us are pure in this business. There were times when I took advantage of who I was, but I don’t anymore. This business is a candy store. But I have always been in a very unique position.
I’ll give you two stories: Tiffany Clark [actress] came into see me. She’s really a nice girl, a very odd-shape-nosed-person. She said, “Let’s fuck!” And I said, “No.” And she said, “What?” And I said, “Okay, I’ll tell you what. Call me in about a week or so, and I’ll be able to fuck you, and I’ll get paid more than what you’re probably going to get paid [to have sex in a movie].” She laughed and I said, “Oh, yeah!” So about a week later, lo and behold, I’m bangin’ away with her in a factory, nd she said, “What are you getting paid?” I told her what I was getting paid, and she said, “Oh, that’s about twice what I’m getting paid.” And she wrote a story in High Society about it.
The other story is one I’m very proud of. An Oriental girl came to see me. I don’t remember her name and, quite honestly, I don’t think I’m supposed to. And it’s a Friday. And she said, “I want to be in the business.” And I said, “This is not something you need to be doing. Particularly as an Oriental woman,” I said, “you know, this is not really in your culture’s set of beliefs and it’s not good for you.” And she said, “I gotta do it.” So I said, okay, and I took some Polaroids of her – you know: The standard front shot, the looking-over-her-shoulder shot; no really wide-open crotches or anything. I mean, I knew they had vaginas, so I didn’t need to see ‘em. I knew they were there. So, uh, I didn’t think much of it. Monday this girl comes back to my office, tears in her eyes. And she says, “You have my soul. I don’t want to do this.” She’s crying. So I took out the Polaroids and I burned them both. And she said, “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
What was interesting about this woman, is that almost every Friday, after I burned the Polaroids, she would show up with some form of meal for me. I guess it was homemade. She was so grateful to me for “releasing her soul,” that she would show up and feed me. And then she went to broadcasting school and I wrote a little skit for her to shoot for a class. That was the last I ever saw of her. I was so delighted that I could make her happy for something as seemingly insignificant as burning her Polaroids. But she was happy, because I didn’t “have her soul” anymore.
I’ll tell you another story that’s somewhat similar to this – well, you can use your own discretion about who the person was. It’s the mid-seventies and this is in my capacity as agent. This woman and her husband show up and the husband is a roly-poly man, and he says to me, “I’d like to be in the business.” And I said, “Why? This is crazy? What do you want to take your clothes off for? Do you understand that once you do this it doesn’t go away?” He said, “I gotta do this. I gotta make some money.” I said, “No you don’t. This is not something you need to be doing. Hopefully you’ll go out and have a real career in the real world.” He told me he really wanted to be an actor and a comedian in mainstream Hollywood movies, but that he couldn’t get any work.
I talked the guy out of it. He never made an X-rated movie. Couple of years later, he showed up in a movie that I think has probably made a hundred million dollars. I’ll give you this much of a hint: He was one of the woebegone fraternity brothers in Animal House, and it was not John Belushi. And I was very happy that this guy did not do X-rated material, because he didn’t need to do it.
I had another instance recently [in his home], where the most worshipped of all the strippers, the world famous Venus Delight, showed up with her husband. And she said to me that she wanted to get into the hardcore industry. And I said, “No you don’t.” And she said, “Well, what are you talking about?” I said, “You are the fantasy for a million people’s wet dreams. They want to think about you ‘doing it,’ but they don’t ever want to see you doing it. She said, “What are you talking about?” Also, she said she only wanted to do it on camera, with her husband. So I said, “What if he fails?” She said, “Well, why would he fail? He doesn’t fail at home.” I said, “This ain’t home. You have no idea.” It took three hours or so for me to talk some sense into them, and they thanked me for help. To this day, she still thanks me for talking her out of it.
SO YOU REALLY DO SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING PEOPLE OUT OF BEING IN THE BUSINESS. INTERESTING.
I know the damage my business can do, even though I have no disdain for my business. Particularly when you’ve already become a legend in your own right for doing something else [stripping], why do you now need to do something that you’re not known for, something which is only going to detract from the legend that you’ve already set up for yourself? So these are some of my stories where I’m a hero!
When I meet someone who’s determined to be in the business, as Cannibal was, I really work with her. She’s my most favorite of all.
But it was good being an agent in Reb’s office. Reb became Bre’er Bear and I became Bre’er Rabbit. And the ‘foxes’ were, basically, the women. Or, should I say, the foxes were the vice cops we had to stay away from.
DO YOU SPEND ANY SIGNIFICANT TIME NOT WORKING ON THE JOB? AND IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO DURING THAT TIME?
Well, again, I go to movies. I see movies, I review films [mainstream Hollywood movies]. There was a time when I played a lot of football. Watching my favorite t.v. shows, watching sporting events. I’m sure your editor will not be thrilled that we’re watching a Yankee game while you’re interviewing me, but it hasn’t broken my train of thought too much. Sports, movies, and television are ways I try to get mind away from something that I’m living.
THE NEXT QUESTION I ASK EVERYBODY IS, “DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BOSS.” BUT THAT’S NOT REALLY APPLICABLE IN YOUR CASE, BECAUSE YOU’RE THE BOSS.
Nobody tells me what to do. My conscience is my guide. There’s a certain “be-true-to-yourself-mentality” that I follow. I have nobody who’s really dictating to me anything because, the whole trick of – anyone who knows me has to understand that if anybody tells me what to do, I probably won’t do it. But if I’m allowed to do virtually whatever I want, invariably, not only do I get it done, but I get it done better than any of them could ever do it. So I really am my own master – and masturbator! I am in charge of my own destiny when it comes to anything I’m going to do.
With Tera Patrick.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CO-WORKERS?
Well, my co-workers are sort of my “family.” I don’t think I have any co-workers. I have people who are involved with me in certain situations on certain projects. And I have a certain circle of friends and relationships and associates within this industry. Um, I’m impatient with imperfection. I’m intolerant of stupidity. I just, I’m irritable if things don’t get done my way. Because I know that my way is the most expeditious way. My way is the most utilitarian way. And in some ways, my way is the most economical way. I don’t like to wait for anybody else to catch up to me. I would sooner do everything myself, and blame it on myself, than give somebody else the responsibility and then not have them rise to the moment. And then blame myself for choosing that person and having them fail. My intolerance has caused a lot of grief and there are those who just cant handle it.
In general, I’m not easy to get along with. I’m impossible to live with, because I’m a series of volatile emotions that are all over the thermometer of emotionality. So the best company I’ve ever had in my life is me – with the exception of Viper. But even to that point, there are points where she was on the road and I sort of enjoyed being alone. I also liked our relationship because there was at least a six-hour period of time where I was alone, and I had that part of the day to be to myself. I just, I know that I’m impossible in that respect. I’m absolutely intolerable at moments, because if things are not getting done the way I want them to get done, I get very irritated, very angry. And downright – I’m an asshole. I admit that I’m an asshole. But as I’ve told you, “It’s better to be an asshole than a whole ass.”
EVEN WHEN YOU WERE ACTING?
Well, now, that’s different, because they weren’t co-workers, they were co-performers, co-stars. I’ve directed, and I think people have always had fun on my sets because I set up nice times for them. I have a history of not getting along with my peers. With my “kids,” I get along better than I do with my peers. I can’t wait for my peers to catch up to me. I excuse the performers because I don’t expect anything out of them, except just to totally do their job. I don’t have time to excuse my peers.
SO, IN GENERAL, YOU RUN EVERYTHING, IN ALL OF THE WORK THAT YOU DO. IN FACT, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU JUST HATE AUTHORITY FIGURES.
Let me put it this way. I don’t like adults. I get along much better with over-age juvenile delinquents who remember how to be kids, than I do with people who have grown up and forgotten how to be kids. I tell a story – when I lecture in classes at colleges: I tell them, “You know what? Thirty years from now, you will become the same calcified assholes you perceive your parents to be now.” And they go, “Oooooh.” And I go, “Right now, you’re liberal, you’re tolerant, you’re open-minded, you’re happy. Life is just wonderful and you wouldn’t tell anyone else what to do. But as you grow up, you’re going to become intolerant, you’re going to become, basically, what you hate.”
I’ve always known that I don’t respond well to rules. I don’t respond well to the order of things, so to speak. I like to sort of ‘drop boulders in bird baths’ and make trouble, rebel, go against the grain. And when I got out of high school, I wanted to be a Marine. I’d read Battle Cry and it became my Bible. I really just wanted to write the next great novel about the military. And I thought by joining the Marines it would help. I knew it would be good because the Marines would break my spirit a little bit. I hadn’t been an ‘ornery child, but I had been a rebellious child. In my last semester in high school, I had an English class where I had written a review of Battle Cry, in fact. And I had written it beautifully. And the teacher accused me of plagiarizing, because she said it was ‘too professionally written.’ And I really knew I was in trouble, because I happened to write well, and she was saying I couldn’t write that well, because I was a 12th grader. So then, for a term paper, I did a term paper about the history of the New York Yankees. And she said that this was an insignificant topic. So I showed it to another teacher, I took it to him – and it was annotated, footnoted, bibliographed, everything – and he gave me an A. So I went back to [the original teacher] smoldering, and I told her, “You are a prejudiced old bitch who doesn’t want to read these papers. You want papers that are so dry, they’ll choke in your throat. And I gave you something that was alive and vibrant, and you killed it with an F.” I had never received an F before on anything. By the time I got to college, I got away with rebelling, because I had teachers who adopted me. But this high school woman teacher reported me and I spent the rest of the semester in the principal’s office for calling her a bitch.
From the time I was a kid, I always knew I was a bit of a jerk, so I thought the Marines would be good for me, and when I got out, I could go to college on the G.I. Bill. Well, I go down to the Marine Corps. They process all the paperwork, and everything’s good. And then they decide, lo and behold, they’re not going to take me because of my juvenile record. I said, “Well, you people knew about my juvenile record. You knew what I had done. Why is this happening?” They said, “We can’t take you because you’re incorrigible.” And I said, “Well, isn’t that what you’re supposed to knock out of me?” They said, “Oh, no, we don’t want to bother.” So, no Marines for me! So I just went and caddied on a golf course. Which is okay, because I got to walk there and walk home and I was built like iron at that point in time – and being a caddy was a good exercise. But then I get bored, so I figured, “Well, the Marines don’t want me, maybe I’ll try the Navy.” This is 1961. And the Navy said, not knowing what the Marines had said, “Well, sure we’d love to have you.” And the day after Roger Maris breaks the record, sixty-one home runs – my birthday, October 2, 1961 – I go down to the induction. They go, “Yeah, we’re not going to take you, you have a juvenile record.” I said, “Wait a minute. You knew all about this. What in the world is wrong with you people?” So they don’t take me. So I’m not going to serve my country. I just went back to caddying and then sold dog food for awhile. I had two other jobs where I get fired, too. I never seemed to get along with anyone who told me what to do. I worked in the Faculty Center at UCLA for awhile, and the guy who ran it was a jerk. I just didn’t want to listen to rules and order. Had I gotten into the service, I probably would have wound up in the brig.
But I have never really been interested in having anybody tell me what to do. And when I worked at Juvenile Hall, after I wrote for the Santa Monica Outlook, I asked for a ten-cent raise and they fired me. But for the last 27 years, I’ve been writing for L.A. X-Press. (Free local L.A. newspaper.)
I just don’t get along with anyone who tells me what to do, and what happened in juvenile hall, when I was working there as a counselor, was that they had all these rules. And I said, “You can lead the probation officer to the rule book, but he doesn’t necessarily have to follow it.” But I survived there for two-and-a-half years, because even though I didn’t get along well with the other counselors, I did the work of three or four people. The other counselors just sat around and played dominoes. And I did the work for all of them because I just wanted to be left alone to do my job. The kids adored me. And they never raised their hands to me in hostility and they never got away with anything, because, as I would tell them – particularly on Fridays when I was working the weekends – I would take ‘em into the Day Room – it would be three o’ clock or three-thirty, some of them had never met me before, they were new – and I would say, “All right. We’re going to be getting to know each other. It’s going to be a long weekend. And if one fails, all go down. So you people are all here to take care of each other. And if anyone comes and tells on anybody else, I will punish that kid.” And then I would have these wonderful moments where I’d say, “Just for good measure, I might take you out at six in the morning and shoot you.” [laughs] And then I’d walk out of the room. And the kids went, “Ooh, I don’t want to be shot at six in the morning, what’s that all about?” And the other kids would go, “Oh, Mr. Margold’s crazy, don’t worry about it. And then we’d all have a good weekend and have a lot of fun. I really had a good time with a lot of these kids.
I just don’t get along. I fully realize that I don’t fit into any world that I don’t make myself. I’m allowed to just exist on my own little tiny island and do whatever I want. And I think people realize… well, some of the wisest people in the business have just said, “Just leave Margold alone. He gets the job done.” And I, in fact, get the job done. And what better curriculum vitae than to have “gets the job done.” Which also sort of, essentially, validates the other part of my career, which would be, “He got it up when it counted.” Because I could get up, get in, get out, and get off, on cue.” So I get the job done. And why would anybody begrudge someone who gets the job done?
HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY DREAMS ABOUT WORK?
My whole life has been a dream. I just sometimes wonder if I’m ever going to wake up. However, let me tell you the most famous of all the dreams. Which again relates to PAW, but which also relates to XRCO, an organization we haven’t even talked about – the X-Rated Critics Organization. In 1984, this is a pretty complex story – no 1982 – in 1982, I was flown into San Francisco to perform in a movie called, The Young Like It Hot. I was to play a character named Big Dick. Nothing more than a phone call masturbation scene. On that set, in San Francisco, I met a woman named Shauna Grant [one of the industry’s most well-known casualties]. I was introduced to her. Shauna Grant, who’s real name was Colleen Applegate, had the presence of a baby lamb. Beautiful. I had watched her do a sex scene. I went into the makeup room to say hello to her. She was standing there naked; and there are women who when you stand in front of them, your knees get weak, and your mind gets hard and other parts of your body get sort of interested. And I told her who I was and she said, “Yes, I know who you are. I’ve been told I can’t talk to you because I’ve been told you’re a very bad man.” I was somewhat taken aback by all that, and I figured, well, one of my enemies had gotten to her and was protecting her from me. So I said, “Okay, but if you ever need me…”
The late, too-fragile Shauna Grant, a 1984 casualty.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY TOLD HER ABOUT YOU?
Who knows? She had a lot of problems, and I may have tried to talk her out of the business. This is pretty close to the thing I said on Rona Barrett about sleeping with my own natural daughter – which I was just kidding about – and people still hadn’t forgiven me for that. So, uh, the next time I saw Shauna was in 1984 at one of the last AFAA [the Adult Film Association of America] Awards – the third to last one, the last one happened in ’86. It was at the Coconut Grove and she was given an award for something and there were a lot of real-world people in the audience that day. And I’m sure a lot of people promised things to her and none of them delivered. So I remember looking at her there, and she looked like she had lived an awful lot of life. And I didn’t think much about it. But two days later she died. She killed herself. And I was very unhappy about it. I knew it had very little to do with the business. She had been promised a lot by real [Hollywood studio] people and nobody delivered to her on that level.
I didn’t think much more of it, but by 1984, we’re creating an organization called the XRCO, [X-Rated Critics Organization] to be a kind of more humane and honest version of the AFAA, not just something that would hand out meaningless awards. We wanted our organization – we wanted our awards – to promote truth and honor in the X-rated industry. So into the teeth of the establishment we went, creating the XRCO. The AFAA didn’t want us to create another organization that would hold awards ceremonies for the movies, an organization which, they thought, would be competing with them. So after meeting with Dave Friedman [legendary 1960’s softcore filmmaker], the head of AFAA, and genuflecting at the mountain for about five hours – smoking a cigar with him, seeing some old photos of the old days of ‘nudie’ movies from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Friedman said, “The XRCO will go on.” What helped, is that I told Friedman that he would be one of the people who would be inducted into our new Hall of Fame for distinguished people in adult entertainment. Dave Friedman, who started out making nudie movies, was another one of my first mentors in the business.
Anyway, you asked me about dreams I’ve had, and the whole Shauna Grant thing and the XRCO thing together, produced a really vivid dream that I had the night before the XRCO show, which I will always remember: The dream is so vivid, I can see it while I tell it to you. In the dream, Shauna Grant and I are in kind of a haunted house. She’s wearing cut off jeans and a white blouse cut off at her midriff. I can’t remember what I’m wearing, but we’re both barefoot, for some reason. And all of these men in the house are chasing after her. I take her in my arms and I jump out the window with her, to save her, and I put her down in the grass. And I can feel the moisture of the grass on my toes. And she leans over to me and says, “Thank you. Do it right.”
I wake up. At this point, Drea [pornstar] is living with me – I haven’t even mentioned her yet; she’s the one I married just so she’d leave – and I’m just covered in tears. And Drea said, “What’s going on here?” And I said, “I just dreamed about saving Shauna Grant.” She said, “Oh, you’re foolish, she’s been dead for a year.” That night, we were over at Gazzarri’s [big night spot on the Sunset Strip from the sixties through the early nineties] for the very first XRCO show. And they’re filming it for posterity. About ten minutes into the show, transformers blow out and everything goes dark. And our enemies go, “Ha ha ha. Fuck you people.” The establishment in the business, who didn’t care about truth and honor in porn, were hoping for us to fail – in fact they were there, you might say, to watch us fail. So we all go out in the parking lot. I remember it was still sort of light outside. We’re all walking around in the parking lot, and people come up to me and go, “XRCO is over. It’s not going to happen.” And I said to them, “Shauna’s on our shoulder. We’re gonna do it. And we’re gonna do it right.” And they said, “What are you talking about?” And I didn’t tell anybody. I just said, “Shauna’s on our shoulder.” Two hours later the lights go back on, everybody goes back inside, the show is held. Probably the most emotional moment I’d ever had in the business was when we inducted the first five men into the Hall of Fame: The King [John Holmes], Eric Edwards, Harry Reems, John Leslie, and Jamie Gillis. When we inducted John Leslie, John got up on the stage and said, “I will not accept this award until the most important person in the history of the business comes up one more time.” John Holmes got up on stage and I turned to my friend Jim Holliday, and I said, “Now we are legend. Now they’ll never get us.”
SO THE XRCO WAS STARTED TO BE A MORE CARING VERSION OF THE AFAA.
That’s right. The XRCO was born into that state of emotional furor that the AFAA could never, ever, ever create. And I think this all evolved from the dream of the security that Shauna gave us. I know that that incident [the suicide of Shauna Grant] has essentially incident has haunted me because I feel that her death was really the main reason that PAW came into being. More than any other dream I’ve ever had. I’ve never really had dreams about this business, but that dream set into motion more of what I’ve done than anything else, because in the name of Shauna, in the name of Megan Leigh, in the name of Cal Jammer, in the name of Alex Jordan, Trinity Loren, and the five people with HIV and the other ones – Stagliano, who has HIV, and Barbara Doll may or may not have HIV and the other ones who are suspected of having HIV – all of the fallen soldiers, all of the battered puppies – the “three-legged puppies” as I refer to them are the reason that I go on to make sure they have equal standing in this business. And that we never, ever forget them. Again, part of this ties in to my incredible affection for history. “There is no future if, in the present, we fail to pay homage to the past.” I think that statement sort of sums up an awful lot about me. I’ve created a past, I’ve created a present, and I want to be here for the future, but I want the future to reflect on the fact that there was a past. And the past is in the names of the fifty-two were inducting. When the people come up to get their medallions, I will cry, because they will be so overjoyed to go up to that stage and get the medallion around their neck, because they were being ‘knighted.’ I got a call from the most pompous of all of them – Paul Thomas [male porn actor/director], who[m] I refer to as ‘the postman,’ because he mails his life in; he does his lungs a favor by breathing. He’s a very, very stuck-up man. And he knows I say this about him, so it’s nothing that can’t be printed. In fact, please don’t cut anything, because I don’t care what people read that I’ve said about them.
And Paul called me, it was like two in the morning, and there was only one message on my machine. And he very simply said: “Now I know what it is to be famous.” And it was so human of Thomas to say that. I was so moved by that, I was so moved that I had moved him. I don’t know if we are going to be able to duplicate that night again.
I’m a fan of the people in the industry who were there in the Golden Age, in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I wanted to create a Hall of Fame award for them to give them tangible recognition.
The AFAA started in about 1974 or 1975. Every industry needs an organization. It gave out its first awards in 1977. The Opening of Misty Beethoven won for Best Picture. I went to the first awards show. I stayed outside – this is at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater – and I was wandering around on the sidewalk. I was confronted by a guy protesting the show, a religious-right zealot called Arthur Blessit, who was in front of the theater carrying a huge, giant wooden cross on his back! He says to me, “Jesus is coming.” I said to him, “If he can come twice, I’ll put him to work!”
DO YOU THINK THE ADULT INDUSTRY WILL BE IMPORTANT IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
I opened up our conversation this morning with the sentiment that we’re becoming ordinary, we’re becoming normal, we’re becoming tolerated, we’re becoming accepted [by mainstream America]. Complacency creates stagnation, stagnation – eventually – creates extinction. We used to be illegal, and now we’re legal, and we’re the biggest industry around. We used to be “the Island of X” and you had to come to us [to watch X-rated movies in a theater]. But now we come to you, via video [and the internet], in your home.
I don’t want to be absorbed by the masses. I want to absorb the masses. I still – even though I’m on all these boards and in all these organizations – I still sort of like the idea that I’m on the outside looking in, rather than on the inside, trapped and looking out. I haven’t completely capitulated to their way of thought. I don’t know if that if answered the question.
ARE THERE ANY NEWER ACTRESSES IN THE INDUSTRY WHO WILL BECOME BIG STARS IN THE FUTURE, IN THE WAY THAT SOME OF THE OLDER STARS HAVE BECOME LEGENDS? IN OTHER WORDS, ARE THERE ANY NEW MARILYN CHAMBERS OR JANE HAMILTONS?
Danielle Cheeks and Leena are contenders. Janine. Jenna Jameson, who’s a public relations genius. But mostly, today, the new performers are what I call “cro-magnon men and marshmallow women.” Faceless, soulless, they only care about the present. They don’t care anything about the past of this industry. They are Barbie and Ken dolls, with the emotional range to match.
WHAT ARE THE PERKS AND PRIVILEGES OF WHAT YOU DO?
Well, with PAW, the perks are just satisfaction, and knowing that you’ve done something to help somebody. It’s not any kind of tangible perk, it’s a mental satisfaction that you go to your house justified. It’s a famous line from [Sam Peckinpah’s] Ride The High Country: “I want to go to my house justified.” And I’ve always thought about that. PAW has allowed me to give it all back. Being interviewed allows me to give it all back in another way, because I get to validate who I am and what I am. 95% of what I do in PAW will never be known, because it’s “caring and confidential,” as it says on the [PAW] business card. And that can never be taken away from me. So if checks and balances are equated in one’s life, I have a lot more credits than I do demerits. And that’s sort of cool, I’m storing them like nuts. So if I ever need them, I can roll them out and play dice with my future, and get a lot of boxcars instead of snake-eyes. And I don’t think that’s all together self-serving. I think, If I’m in a position to help people, why not be able to help them? And I help them in many, many different ways. Maybe in some cases just by being there, because I am “the eternal bear.” I’m around when somebody calls – you notice I screen a lot of my calls. There are certain calls I don’t want to deal with, because they’re not too severe – they’re not too necessary to deal with. But PAW is my way of giving back to the industry everything that’s good that the industry has given to me.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC JOB-RELATED HAZARDS RELATED TO PAW, OR TO ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU DO?
Yeah. Because who helps the person who helps? I continually have to absorb all this pain, through PAW, which I don’t mind doing. But where do I dump all of this absorbed pain? What do I get to do to unload my pain on somebody else – which really, they wouldn’t want to have to deal with, anyway. So I have to swallow a lot of it. But I am extemporaneous and I can get rid of a lot of my pain, just by sounding off against the world. For example, if I’m driving up and down Laurel Canyon and somebody ahead of me is going too slow, I scream at the drivers. I’ll tell them to go and die on their own time! So I will exact my fiendish form of catharsis on innocent parties that happen to be in the way when I need to explode. I don’t keep very much in me. If I need to get something out, it comes out, and I don’t really care who gets in the way of it. I don’t watch my tongue; I don’t – I am the least tactful person I’ve ever met in my whole life. If I need to say something, I say it. I don’t mince words. And I don’t know if that’s a detriment to me. You asked me if I get along with my coworkers before and I don’t. I don’t consider people in the industry my peers. I think I consider people in the industry my children. If I considered them my peers, I’d probably be in a lot of trouble. Because I probably wouldn’t like ‘em. I think that the downside to helping people is: Who helps the person who helps? And I analyze that, and I sometimes wonder about the pain that I go through. But I figure, somebody has to feel somebody else’s pain because that’s what we’re designed to do, as humans. And I was designed – I was put in the right place at the right time, as far back as juvenile hall, to be there to help people. And if I can’t help ‘em, who’s gonna help ‘em? Who’s gonna care about my kids?
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR JOBS ARE PREPARING YOU FOR OR LEADING YOU TO?
Well, at fifty-five years old, if I haven’t already been “led” to where I’m supposed to go, I don’t think there’s much ahead of me on my path, other than maybe I’m still learning a little bit more about how to help people, I’m learning things that I can impart onto other people. And yet, you can’t teach other people how to help people, because you simply do it or you don’t do it. It’s absolutely instinctual. You are born to do it, you’re not taught how to do it. People did not teach Jesse Owens how to be a great athlete, he was born to be a great athlete. Jim Brown was born to be the greatest runner in pro-football history. Derek Jeter has been born to be the superstar to lead us into baseball in the next century, in the same lineage as Pete Rose – a guy that little boys and girls can idealize. You don’t train somebody to help. You just say, there’s a fire, and you stick your hand in, and if you get burned, you get burned.
WHAT’S THE BEST DAY YOU’VE EVER HAD DOING WHAT YOU DO?
Well, the happiest incident of my life was when Viper won her Best Supporting Actress award from Adult Video News. And I loathe Adult Video News, it’s an advertising orifice. But what she got, for the first time in her life, was that she got the recognition she deserved. Now the happiest moment in my life, is when I met Viper. I worked very hard, in our relationship, to make her more important than me. It was the only time I ever sacrificed my own ego – to subvert it, subordinate it – to someone who meant more to me. I knew she needed the attention more than I needed it. I said once that Viper tempered the bowie knife of my soul. I didn’t consider myself human before I met Viper, and she made me human.
As far as happy moments in this business, as far as PAW is concerned, is that I guess it’s that most of the people I’ve spoken to haven’t died.
WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE BUSINESS?
I’ve had people who’ve died. I’ve had people who’ve died questionable deaths, ones in which I’m not sure if it was suicide. I’ve had a few marginal disasters in this business. One of the problems was more personal than work related, but you’ll see how they go together: My worst thing was the Viper situation. Viper went crazy. You get one great person in your life – one great romantic relationship – and I knew it from the day I met her. I knew what I was in for. She, rather cryptically said to me one day, “I’ve ruined you for anyone else,” and I said, “Oh, man.” But I just, I just treasured every day of the five years and two months we were together. She left on the last day of May in 1991. And… in many ways I was relieved, and in many ways I was completely shattered, and I’ve been picking up the pieces ever since. And it’s kept me, essentially, away from any other serious relationship because – well, first of all, nobody’s going to be Viper. And second, relationships are something that you have to maintain or it’s over. And I have so many people that I have to take care of, especially through PAW, that I have to have someone totally self-sufficient who would just simply put up with my taking care of everybody else. Viper did that. Viper was so wise and empathetic. And she allowed me to watch over other people, and she sort of helped out as well. She would bring people into the house and talk to them. She would absorb their pain and she would cry when they left. Viper helped me out a great deal way before I established PAW.
IS THERE ANYBODY WHERE YOU THOUGHT, MAYBE THIS GIRL – MAYBE THIS ACTRESS – IS FINALLY ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY, BUT THEN SHE SURPRISED YOU AND WENT DOWNHILL?
Nothing surprises me. To be honest with you, I’m surprised that more of them aren’t dead. Because they wake up one morning and they realize that nobody cares. And a lot of them don’t have the wherewithal to keep on going. And I feel sorry for them, in that respect. And they won’t reach out, because they don’t have the faith that anybody cares about them at all. These are extremely fragile panes of stained glass and they just need to be hugged and watched over. And I’m told about some of them now, who are in dire straits. And I try to reach out to them, but they don’t want to be helped. And you cannot help somebody who doesn’t want to be helped.
If a person wants to die – of course, you don’t get to choose when you die. That’s all set up for you before you’re even born. But if a person is really determined, there’s nothing you can do to keep that person from ending their life. There’s a reason they’re ending their life: Because what souls are transmigrating into that person need to get out, to go into another person who’s about to be born. So there’s a [cosmic] necessity to “keep on moving;” you know, sort of a strange version of, “Herd ‘em up, move ‘em up, move ‘em out, Rawhide” of the souls. There are some restless souls out there who need to be freed up to go into somebody else. Because I firmly believe that I am not just one soul. I am a whole series of souls and they keep pulling me around, in a merry-go-round fashion.
SO WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS, YOU’RE SCHIZOPHRENIC? YOU’RE A BIFURCATED PERSONALITY?
I’m not bipolar. I always thought a bipolar person was a bisexual polar bear!
WHAT’S THE STRANGEST DAY YOU’VE HAD IN ANY OF YOUR JOBS?
I don’t think strange is a fair question, because the whole business is strange. I guess the most against-the-grain day is, in the ‘70s, when the vice cops came looking for me, so I dodged them for the entire Monday. I always thought they could have found me right away if they wanted to, but they were just going by old records. They wound up at my old address at six in the morning. One guy’s name is Lloyd Martin and the other guy’s name is Peters. My [real daughter] Elizabeth answered the door, she was six years old told then. She told them, truthfully, “I don’t know where my daddy is.” These people are so concerned with busting me, they don’t care that this kid is all alone in the apartment at 3611 Watseka Drive. Vice Cops are basically ‘Javerts’ and we are ‘Jean Valjeans’ and our loaves of bread are between our legs. Anyway, the cops couldn’t find me the first day. And the second day, I just walked into the police station and I said, “Okay, I’m ready.” And they said, “What do you mean?” So they put the handcuffs on real tight even though I had a football injury on my wrist and I told them not to. I said, “When this whole thing’s over and you’ve lost, I will salute you with a broken wrist. I will salute you like a downed World War One pilot.”
I don’t consider what I’ve done normal, but I also don’t consider it strange.
YOUR REAL DAUGHTER, ELIZABETH – WAS HER MOTHER IN THE ADULT BUSINESS?
No, well only in a very limited way – she had done a scene or two and I wasn’t even married to her at that time. Her name was Penny. I wasn’t living with her at the time. I was living with another woman named Linda at the time, who[m] they didn’t even know about.
YOU TOLD ME ABOUT THE DATE WHEN THE ADULT BUSINESS ACTUALLY BECAME LEGAL, AND I’D LOVE TO KNOW MORE. I’M REFERRING TO THE DATE WHEN PORN MOVIES STOPPED BEING CONSIDERED PROSTITUTION/PANDERING, AND YOU GUYS STOPPED GETTING BUSTED AND IT BECAME LEGAL TO MA00loKE THE MOVIES.
August, 1988. What provoked it, was a movie called Caught from Behind. The director got busted, and he appealed it all the way to the California Supreme Court. He told them that he was a filmmaker and not a panderer. They dropped the pandering charges and the rest is history. When we were busted in Las Vegas in ’93, that was not for a movie, that was because we put on a live sex show on stage that got a little out of hand. So our shoots don’t get “busted” anymore. We’ve been legal for eleven years.
WHAT PERSONALITY TYPE IS BEST FOR YOUR JOB?
You can’t type it. In order to do what I do, you have to have lived what I’ve lived. You can’t just walk in and do it without knowing where the danger signs are, where the “bear crossings” or “deer crossings” are. Each entity is a separate and unique problem within this business and you just have to be there for them.
I was in a room full of the major people in the industry once and I said to them, “You know, if I tried real hard, I could be any of you in this room. But no matter how hard any one of you try – or no matter how hard any of you try collectively – none of you can ever be me.” They nodded and they wished me Merry Christmas.
HOW DOES YOUR PERSONALITY HELP YOU WITH YOUR WORK AND HOW DOES IT HOLD YOU BACK?
I’m my own worst enemy. I have a streak of rebellion, a streak of ornery, a streak of against the grain, and an overwhelming desire not to be ordinary, normal, or tolerated. I don’t want to be tolerated. I want to continually be a boulder in a birdbath. I want to make waves any way I can. I’m not happy unless there’s turmoil. I’m not happy unless I have a definitive enemy that I can set my sights on. I’m not happy unless I’m making trouble. But the trouble I’m making is all corrective. I just cannot behave because rules are for corpses. So I channel my incorrigibility toward helping people. The way that I help people, by the way, when a person comes to me with a mental wound, I do what I call invasive curing. I go into the wound and make it deeper, cleaning it out with words. I cauterize them, I “bleed” them. I love blood. I love to clean out their systems. I’m jealous because women have periods and we don't. I like to make a person ache the most they can ever ache. Because then, when they know what extreme pain is, then I can start working on it. But if I just cover it up with a placebo, and dump some bubble gum in there and some jelly beans, the problem will just fester beneath the surface. There will be a lot of things happening underneath the jelly beans that I don’t want to deal with. So I go in and I cure them invasively. I go into the hole and make it deeper and look at it and play with the nerve endings and, and wallow in the blood. And then I start to heal them from the inside out. And by the time I’m done, I think I’ve done a fairly good job. I’ve won a lot more battles than I’ve lost. I’ve helped a lot more people than I’ve failed. As I told you, one of my friends I’m estranged from told me, “You use people.” And I said, “Yeah, I use people by helping them.”
CAN YOU ALWAYS BE DISPASSIONATE ABOUT THE GIRLS YOU’RE HELPING IN PAW – CAN YOU STEP BACK FROM WHAT YOU DO?
Yes. That’s what I’m trained to do. If I allow myself to become vulnerable, I won’t be able to help anybody else, because I’ll be wallowing in my own self-pity. I would be of no value to anybody else. I allowed myself to be vulnerable once, when Viper left, in ’91, but never again. And, weirdly enough, that was also the only time the Lions won the Playoff Game!
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
They’re not my friends unless they know what I do. Uh, they’re not my associates unless they know what I do. I have no wife at this point. The last wife I had was Drea, who was in the business. She left me in ’85 and she left the business in ’86 and ’87. But as far as my [natural] kids, Juliette – who I call “Goldie Bear” – and Elizabeth-Anne. In 1990, when Viper was starting to disintegrate, I had a meeting with my real kids at a Chinese restaurant on Washington Blvd. – on Washington and Centinela. I told them that I would not be able to pay attention to them anymore. I explained to them that I was completely involved with what Viper was going through and that I could not, in any way, shape, or form, rationalize giving any attention to anybody else but Viper.
YOUR OWN CHILDREN?
However, I told them, “If you ever need me for anything, you know where I’m at.”
WHAT WAS THEIR REACTION WHEN YOU TOLD THEM THAT?
Well, they had been estranged from me for a long period of time, anyway. Anyway, Elizabeth is living with Linda, and Goldie Bear, who is Linda’s kid, sort of felt that I was not doing a job as a daddy. And I admitted I wasn’t doing a job as a daddy. I was not a good daddy. I didn’t have the time to be a daddy. I’m a daddy to the kids in this business. I can’t be daddy to my own real kids. To be honest with you, I never wanted my own children. One of them was an accident.
HOW WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR KIDS WHEN THEY WERE LITTLE? WAS THERE ONE AT ALL?
Well, it was never consistent. With Elizabeth, I never really lived with her for any great length of time. Penny wanted a kid and I didn’t want a kid – that was the accident. But Penny – I tried, in the sixties to be a father; I tried to live with her. But I just couldn’t handle it. I don’t like anybody being the center of attention except me. With Elizabeth, I never spent that much time with her. I tried and failed, tried and failed. I wound up with Liz, ironically, when Penny went into the hospital, in ’79, from a car accident. Liz came to live with me and Linda and Goldie-Bear, Linda’s half-sister. Now how Goldie Bear was born – I came to live with Linda, I started to live with Linda in 1972 – she was not in the business, she was a social worker – and four years later, she wanted a kid. And I said, “I will not take any responsibility for this kid,” and she said, “No, you don’t have to.” Now Linda had been through an incestuous relationship with her own father. And sex between Linda and I was always by her request. She said, “I want to be pregnant.” And I said, “Okay.” So in December of 1975, I knocked her up. It takes no talent to get anybody pregnant, I’m very good at that. I lived with her until 1980, and after that, I saw them on occasion. Goldie Bear and Liz would come here occasionally when Drea was here and even when Viper was here. It was unfair because Viper herself had a kid. And it wasn’t fair of me to force my own kids down Viper’s throat. And really, Viper and I were quite content by ourselves.
WHAT’S NEXT? ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT EVER MAKING MOVIES AGAIN – IN TERMS OF GOING BACK TO WRITING, DIRECTING, AND ACTING
Yes, I’m working on starting my own company in the fall and making movies again. I have a lot of ideas. I, myself, just appeared in a movie, for somebody else, which should, hopefully, be marginally controversial, called Anal Ball, where I play a deranged court jester. And Montana Gunn [porno starlet] pisses in a big goblet above me… and then I pretend to drink it, although it’s really apple juice. Then I spit it back on her and then I say horrible things to her and I wind up jacking-off in her face. I say very odd things and I kind of bounce around. It’s the kind of scene that pushes what’s left of a very worn and very tired envelope.
I also starred in a series of bondage movies where I play one of ‘The Bruise Brothers.’ Fetish videos are very, very popular.
IF YOU COULD LIVE YOUR LIFE OVER AGAIN, WHAT OCCUPATION WOULD YOU PURSUE?
Had my father not died, and everything had gone correctly , I probably would have wound up at Harvard Law, but then I also wanted to be a journalist, which I have done, and which I still do for the L.A. X-Press. When I first saw my byline as a journalist, before I got into porn, I realized that I had a backbone. The byline is all-powerful. It is the supreme thrill.
I WRITE A LOT OF SCREENPLAYS FOR MAINSTREAM HOLLYWOOD, BILL – USUALLY, FOR THESE CLOWNISH ‘INDEPENDENT PRODUCER TYPES’ – AND IT SEEMS THAT IT’S A WASTE FOR ME, BECAUSE NONE OF THE SCRIPTS PEOPLE HIRE ME TO WRITE EVER GETS MADE!
Never consider writing a waste, kid, because you can regurgitate your entrails. I’ve been living off certain pieces that I’ve written years ago, and I keep rewriting them and rewriting them and people keep running them over and over as if they’re brand new.
WHAT’S WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR WORK AS AN ACTOR AND A WRITER BACK IN THE ‘70S AND ‘80S?
Recognition, recognition, recognition. But for my charitable work I do, with PAW and my other causes, I’m just doing it to help people. I want no recognition for that.
I’m at the point in my life – which sounds horribly egotistical, but I am horribly egotistical – where I would prefer to have people write about me rather than to write about myself. I don’t have the time or patience, or the manners or the mentality, to sit down at a computer for twelve hours a day. I’m not salivating at the idea of going into a bunker and start knocking something out. I can’t get away to write. I have too many demands on my time, and without the demands, I wilt. So without people calling me, wanting something, I’m useless. I don’t feel good unless I can do something. So sometime, somebody might come along and say, “Hey there’s a book in this guy.”
A lot of people try to edit what I have to say and they try to protect me, for some reason. And I don’t want to be protected! Every single thing I say to you, I’m sure that you’re not going to use it all, but what you’re going to use must be unexpurgated. I do not want some kind of mollifying intonations, “Oh, you shouldn’t have said this. You’re going to get in trouble.” I don’t give a shit if I get in trouble. How can I get in trouble in a business that is the definition of trouble? You can’t throw anybody out of the litter box. And I also refer to this industry as “the litter box.”
WHEN THE MOVIE BOOGIE NIGHTS WAS RELEASED IN 1997, YOU WERE PRETTY VOCAL IN THE MEDIA ABOUT HOW YOU FELT ABOUT IT. YOU DID NOT LIKE THAT MOVIE AT ALL.
Boogie Nights was wrong. That’s not what it was like in the seventies at all. We were underground. This was a community unto itself, the “Island of X.” The way it was presented in the movie, is that the people were out there and flourishing and dancing and having fun. We didn’t do that. We were looking over our shoulder for the vice cops for a decade-and-a-half.
HOW DO YOU THINK EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE IN THE BUSINESS HAS AFFECTED YOUR VIEW OF THE WORLD, OR YOUR VIEW OF PEOPLE?
HAS IT CHANGED YOU?
I’m not jaded. I think I’m still vital. I think I’m amazingly creative. That’s something I’m very thankful for. All of creativity is, basically, a tube of toothpaste. You just have to know how to squeeze it. If you grab the damn thing in the middle, eventually, nothing’s going to come out. But if you roll it very carefully and then after you’ve used it, you let it sit in the corner of the sink, it replenishes itself. It loads back up and it’s ready to go again. I’m constantly trying to create. I’m constantly in the “competing with myself” mode.
HAS WHAT YOU’VE DONE MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON OR A WORSE PERSON? I MEAN, YOU SAID THAT VIPER MADE YOU – OR, YOU FELT SHE MADE YOU – A BETTER PERSON.
Oh, what’s a “better person?” But… it certainly has not made me a worse person. It’s made me even more fascinating than I was when I came into the business!
On Sunday, September 6, 2009
Bill Margold and Protecting Adult Welfare (PAW)
invite you to participate in
BARE BOWLING 2009
in the San Fernando Valley.
For more information, contact Bill at
(818)501-6139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.