Harry Reems, 'Deep Throat' Porn Star Legend, Dies At 65

Harry Reems, best known as the male co-star of the 1972 adult film “Deep Throat” that helped make porn mainstream, has died at the age of 65.

His wife, Jeanne Sterrett Reems, told the Associated Press on Wednesday he died at the veterans' hospital in Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon. Doctors are not sure of the exact cause of death, but Reems had several health issues, including pancreatic cancer, according to his wife.

The adult-film classic attracted middle-class audiences to the theater and has since evolved into the forebear of today's hardcore adult-entertainment industry.

The porn star was born Herbert Streicher in New York in 1947. He was a soldier in the U.S. Marines before he wound up in the adult entertainment industry in the 1970s. He initially wanted to become a serious actor but was flung in front of the camera when he was part of the production crew for “Deep Throat.”

When a documentary about the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005, Reems explained to the Associated Press the movie was the first to "drop any pretense that it had educational value.

"There was no socially redeeming value, and so the word of mouth went out from people who saw it saying, ''This is just a comedy. It's great. You've got to see this,'" Reems said.

The original lead didn’t work out. That’s why Reems, who was originally the lighting director on the set, got the role. He was a doctor who was helping a patient, played by Linda Lovelace, who happened to have a sexually sensitive area toward the back of her throat. Lovelace died in 2002.

After the success of “Deep Throat,” he went on to stars in dozens of XXX films such as “The Devil in Miss Jones.”

"He hated, at the end, doing porn," Jeanne Reems said. "It was all he could make money doing."

He married his wife in 1990.

"He was very romantic and a great husband," she said.

"I met him long after he left the adult film industry. The adult film industry basically destroyed him," friend Don Schenk said. "He would never talk about the salacious stuff -- we always talked about how he was a survivor."

He battled with alcoholism, and, according to Gawker, he said he was 16 years "clean in sober" during the 2005 release of the "Deep Throat" documentary. 

He was hospitalized on March 5, 2012, and died March 19, 2012. His wife and brother survive him. He didn’t have any children. 

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