Harry Reems In Grease

If you are in porn,  read that, and said who is Harry Reems? Shame on you, you really need to read up on the history of our biz.  Harry Reems was a classically trained actor and an ex-marine who served in Viet Nam.

He accidentally landed his role (and got the name Harry Reems) when Gerard Damiano, the director of a movie called Deep Throat had a part he couldn’t cast.  Reems was hired on the movie as a part of the lighting crew.  When Damiano asked him if he wanted the role and 250.00 for a days work Harry took it.  ( He had done porn prior to this but mostly in 8mm short films called “loops”), prior to Deep Throat Reems used the monicker Peter Long.

Reems was cast in the 1978 musical film “Grease” as Coach Calhoun (he had done legitimate theater before turning to pornography), but out of fear that his notoriety would jeopardize the film’s box office in the Southern United States, he was later replaced by Sid Caesar.

Reems appearance in Deep Throat led to his arrest by FBI agents in New York City in July 1974  and his indictment in Memphis, Tennessee, in June 1975 on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines.  Reems called it forum shopping. He was convicted in April 1976 with 11 other individuals and four corporations, His conviction was overturned on appeal in April 1977 because his activities in making the film occurred before a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on obscenity in 1973 (Miller v. California), and Reems was granted a new trial.

The charges against Reems were dropped in August. Reems defense claimed that he was the first American actor to be prosecuted by the federal government merely for appearing in a film, and he received considerable support from established Hollywood and New York celebrities during his trial, His successful appeal was handled by attorney Alan Dershowitz.

Grease went on to become a huge box office success, whether Reems appearance in the movie would have changed that is anyone’s guess.

Whether it would have changed Harry’s life isn’t. Royalties alone would have made him far more money than everything else he ever did combined.

Reems died on March 19, 2013, at the veterans hospital in Salt Lake City from pancreatic cancer

 

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