Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Respected critic, Gram Ponante, has chosen John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches as one of his five best book selections of 2008.

Ponante has also crowned John Holmes, the Comeback Kid of the Year, due to the publication of "A Life Measured in Inches", in conjunction with the re-release of the original Johnny Wadd - the first of the nine-part "Johnny Wadd" series directed by Bob Chinn, and The Return of Johnny Wadd, produced by John and partner Bill Amerson's company, Penguin Films. Additionally, Johnny Wadd, Eruption and The Return of Johnny Wadd have all been nominated in the 'Best Classic Film' category in the upcoming 2009 AVN awards.

Twenty years after his death, 2008 was indeed a stellar year for John C. Holmes.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Erotic Heritage Museum Book Signing!

In addition to our four day appearance at the Adult Entertainment Expo, Jennifer and I have been invited by special request to do a book signing at the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas on Saturday January 10th, from 4-6 pm. We will be joined by Ms. Laurie Holmes to meet and greet fans, sign copies of our book and pose for photos. Copies of the biography will be available for purchase in the gift shop. Please be sure to arrive early.

Newly added: Sugar and Nelson will take the stage at 6:00pm to read excerpts from their book, followed by a brief Q&A session. All event attendees are invited to stay for this segment.
Link to Erotic Heritage Museum Book Event:

Saturday, December 13, 2008


--Friday, December 12, 2008--

John Holmes book also measured in inches - Written by Gram Ponante -

John Holmes single-schlongedly embodied the American narrative of success, downfall, and redemption in its porn context, which means something different from any other context. And his story as told in a new book by Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson, John Holmes, a Life Measured in Inches, unfolds that story as comprehensibly as possible. I say "as possible" because Holmes seemed pathologically incapable of telling the same story to everyone. And it wasn't just bullshit and bravado - he would add and drop entire skill sets depending on the group he was with.

Even though he worked under his own name, Holmes' best friends didn't know who he was. It wasn't until his death in 1988, for example, that most of the porn community found out that Holmes had been married for the entirety of his adult career. Not only that, but prior to the drugs, that marriage to Sharon Holmes had been sexless but happy.

If any single figure in the adult industry past or present deserves a book, it is John Holmes. Then Larry Flynt. Maybe Nina Hartley, but is a story really interesting if someone just keeps getting better?

Holmes' success roughly parallels the so-called Golden Age of Porn, in which the money was piled as high as the cocaine and "porno chic," a term that arose from the fame of Deep Throat, made legitimate celebrities of performers long before anyone bothered creating a Jenna Jameson Crossover Star of the Year Award. Holmes was a boner-fide star.

And he was complex. While his wife of 19 years, Sharon, said Holmes could hardly boil water and wouldn't approach the kitchen, friends in the adult industry remember Holmes cooking feasts (director Roy Karch, who was the production manager for 1979's Dracula Sucks, starring Holmes, Jamie Gillis, Serena, and Paul Thomas, told me that one late night during the weeklong shoot he walked into the kitchen of the Palmdale-area castle to find Holmes, cooking stew for 50 people for the next day.)

Not only that, but Holmes was also a cop magnet. Years before his use of drugs sidelined his career and landed him at the scene of 1981's Wonderland Murders, Holmes was an informant for the L.A.P.D.'s anti-porn unit, escaping jail time by providing info on other porn sets.

But drugs were Holmes' downfall, inasmuch as it was he who chose to take them. According to the book, this casual Scotch drinker and pot smoker devolved quickly into a basehead, stealing from fellow performers, ripping off luggage from the airport, and breaking into cars to steal for his habit.

All the while Holmes could be a loving boyfriend to various women (who knew nothing of each other) and a father-figure to the children of Bill Amerson, a longtime producer and his partner in Penguin Video.

Inches provides an extended study of Holmes' involvement in the robbery of club-owner and drug dealer Ed Nash and the murders of the Wonderland Gang two days later, as well as Holmes's imprisonment for contempt, flight across the country, and his eventual, if reluctant, exoneration.

But it is the aftermath of Holmes' release from jail in 1982, up to the point when he contracted AIDS around 1986, that I found fascinating. Because it was in this time that he seemed to make the best use of this window for redemption. A ccepting a divorce from Sharon (she had had enough, finally) and dumped by longtime girlfriend Dawn Schiller (she had had enough, finally), Holmes began a strong relationship with Misty Dawn on the set of his comeback movie. He eventually married her and she became Laurie Holmes.

But it all slid backward when he contracted AIDS, perhaps from a gay actor in a big-budget gay-for-pay movie. Knowing he had the disease, Holmes hit the drugs as hard as he could. He also knowingly worked with other performers during this time, including the Italian actress (and future member of the Italian parliament) Cicciolina. It is believed that Holmes did not pass on the disease to anyone else.

Inches is an oral and text history, meaning that Sugar and Nelson pored over existing interviews and added dozens of their own, quoting dozens of subjects in full paragraphs.

I talked with Sugar and Nelson from their homes in Michigan and Ontario, respectively.

Jennifer Sugar: I was five years old when John Holmes died, and so I had no idea who he was until I was 21, when I saw the movie Wonderland. After seeing the movie, I was interested in the details about John's life story. After reading and watching everything about John Holmes that I could get my hands on, I learned that there wasn't already a biography about him, so I decided to write A Life Measured in Inches.

A couple of years into the project, between juggling college classes and my part time job, I "met" Jill on an internet message board related to Wonderland. We corresponded by e-mail for a period of time and I could tell that she had some of the same questions about John's life that I had and that she was genuinely interested in Inches, so I invited her to co-author the book.

Jill C. Nelson: When we first started communicating, I was impressed that Jennifer had decided to take the high road in her desire to author John's bio, rather than resorting to sensational traps. John was involved in some despicable acts, but I believe it is easier (and tempting, in many cases) to write a scathing book about a person's life, rather than to dig and find the diamonds in the rough. When she invited me to assist her with this project, I was honored, in part, because of her intention to write a fair and balanced biography.

Gram: How did you decide on the oral history model?

Sugar: In the beginning of my writing process, I was intimidated with the volume of material and I was having difficulty presenting all of the information from various interviews. A few people suggested that I try the oral history format, so I read some examples of this (The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry and Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests).

It took a lot of experimentation before Jill and I found what worked best -- our goal was to present "whole" quotes that weren't choppy or taken out of context and to present as unbiased view of John as possible. The main reason I think the oral history format is the best way to tell Holmes' story is because he is such a multi-faceted man. More often than not, there is more than one side to these stories and a juxtaposed presentation of the actual quotes from our interviewees allows the reader room to make interpretations.

Nelson: Some of the people we interviewed were displeased by the way in which the information they had imparted had been misconstrued in previous projects relating to the adult entertainment industry, as a whole. They very much appreciated the fact that we'd quoted them verbatim, utilizing the oral history format.

Gram: How long did the book take to complete and how would you describe the logistics of your collaboration? For example, did you write over e-mail or across a table?

Sugar: The book took a total of four years to complete, beginning in August 2004 to when the book was released in August 2008. When Jill and I started working together, we sent files back and forth over e-mail and talked over more complex issues by phone. The first time that we met in person was in July 2007, when we both went to California to do in-person interviews for the book. We only worked together in person one other time before the book was published, when I went to Jill's house for several days to work together on the photo sections.

Gram: Did you encounter any resistance to your questions of the LAPD or the adult community?

Sugar: Not really. Once or twice, there were a couple of questions people would not answer or not want "on the record," but it was very rare.

Nelson: The people within the adult community felt that our approach was refreshing, and I believe they took a leap of faith because of the fact that we weren't a part of the adult entertainment industry.

The same is true for the two former L.A.P.D. homicide detectives, Tom Lange and Frank Tomlinson. They trusted us and viewed our book as a welcome opportunity to tell their side of the story, since neither one had really spoken (in depth) publicly, about the Laurel Canyon case before.

Gram: Aside from learning the facts of the Wonderland case and the those of Holmes' life, did anything surprise you? If so, what?

Sugar: It was surprising to learn more about John as a father figure to Bill Amerson's children and Laurie Holmes' son. Up until A Life Measured in Inches, John's role in these childrens' lives hadn't been discussed in detail.

Nelson: I found it enlightening to gain information about John's artistic side. By many accounts, he truly enjoyed working in various capacities within the art medium -- whether it was building, writing, drawing or sculpting. And he loved music.

Gram: As so much of Holmes' story was of his own fabrication, did you ever find yourself in the middle of conflicting accounts between eyewitnesses? Particularly I'm thinking of Laurie Holmes, Dawn Schiller, Sharon Holmes, and Julia St. Vincent, who seem to be the main women in the story.

Sugar: We weren't able to interview Sharon and Dawn, but we were granted permission by Hustler to use their quotes from the WADD interview transcripts. It was disappointing that we did not get to ask them our own questions, but using the other transcripts, we were able to fill in their stories. There did not seem to be conflicting accounts. For example, Dawn's version of the time that she and Julia confronted John together was very similar to what Julia had told me. It all seemed to fit together very nicely.

Nelson: John was a chameleon and displayed different sides of himself to everyone he encountered, including the various women in his personal life. Julia commented that she experienced more of the flashier side of John, whereas, Dawn was more accustomed to John's artistic side. Laurie spoke of him being a homebody, and because Sharon had known John longer than any of the other women, she remembered him when he was a "regular" guy, prior to his foray into the adult genre and his troubles that later resulted because of his addiction. It was interesting that because of their unique experiences with John, there really weren't contrary accounts.

Gram: Based on your research and your immersion in this story, what do you think happened on 1 July, 1981, the morning of the Wonderland Murders?

Sugar: I think that Ed Nash found out that John set up the robbery at Nash's on June 29th, and so he forced John to lead the killers to the Wonderland house -- or else. John chose to lead the killers to the house and to let them in or leave the door unlocked, like he had done at Nash's. My gut feeling is that the killers forced John to watch the murders. I will always wonder why John wasn't also killed, but Nash seemed to have liked John and for whatever reason, he didn't want to kill John, but still wanted to make sure that he fully understood, "Don't f***" with Ed Nash.

Nelson: I have to go along with the evidence (or lack thereof) presented in the trial. Because there wasn't anything concrete to support the proposal put forth by the prosecution that John had actually participated in the murders, I believe that John's involvement in the murders was as a spectator, and that he was forced to watch under duress.

Gram: Beyond calling Holmes complex, do you believe you would like him if you met him? My own jury is out on this, but I have a feeling that if I knew him as a contemporary, I'd like him.

Sugar: I hate to admit it, but I probably would have liked John if I had met him. He had "it," whether it was, his blue eyes, his big heart, or his big penis -- most people who met John were entranced by him and many of them still have fond memories of John, despite the bad (and often reprehensible) decisions he made in life.

Nelson: John's charismatic nature was potent, which is why people found him hard to resist. Despite his "bad boy" tendencies, I do believe that he possessed redeeming qualities, so I most likely would have liked him, had I met him. According to those we talked to, John's poor choices were (mostly) a result of his addiction to cocaine and freebase. That isn't an excuse, but it is a way to try to comprehend what might have motivated him to be hurtful to other people, in his insatiable quest for drugs. Bob Chinn told us that the "old" John was the greatest person you'd ever want to meet.

I learned many things about Holmes and the history of the adult industry from this book. As Sugar says, the differing viewpoints let the reader come to his own conclusions about Holmes' life.

My only complaint about the book is that the authors sometimes let their interviewees ramble past the point of usefulness and relevance, and the oral history aspect sometimes means that key events in Holmes' life get presented more casually than one might expect. I don't always want to have to come to my own conclusions.

Like Holmes himself, Inches is a massive and compelling book. Just don't drop it on your feet.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It's happening in Vegas...


Jennifer and I will be at the Adult Entertainment Expo Show 2009, at the Protecting Adult Welfare (PAW) booth, hosted by William Margold. We will be available throughout the entire event to meet with convention attendees, sign copies of our biography and take book orders. Special guest, Ms. Laurie Holmes, will join us to mingle and reminisce with Golden Age fans.

And In other news...

New CBC radio interview!

Jill Nelson was a recent guest on Canada's CBC radio show, "Q", hosted by Jian Ghomeshi on Wednesday December 10th. Please click on link to listen to podcast:

Watch for new book reviews!

AVN Magazine - December 2008 -- By Jared Rutter.
Ottawa X-Press - December/January -- By Geoffrey Brown.
SWANK - January '09 edition -- on stands December 23rd.
HUSTLER - March '09 edition -- on stands January '09.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Michigan Mittenlit Book Review & Podcast interview!

A New Biography of the Top Gun in the Porno Industry

This past week the two authors of a new biography on John C. Holmes did a book signing and discussion in Lansing. It was their first mainstream appearance. Here’s a look at this controversial new book.
Pornography, drugs, and murder; who wouldn’t want to read a biography that is absolutely saturated in sex, cocaine, and a mass murder? From Mark Wahlberg’s portrayal as Dirk Diggler, a physically talented but drug addled porn-star in “Boogie Nights,” to Val Kilmer’s graphic yet stunningly vivid and accurate characterization in “Wonderland” John C. Holmes legend has grown in proportion to his legendary appendage.

In “John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches,” authors Jennifer Sugar of Michigan and Jill C. Nelson of Canada provide the first and more than likely the most detailed biography ever of porn superstar John Curtis Estes, aka John C. Holmes, aka Johnny Wadd.

John C. Holmes became an instant celebrity during the 1970s after the American culture had undergone an extended sexual revolution which allowed pornography to sneak right into the mainstream and the living rooms of millions of Americans.

To be completely honest, John C. Holmes’s rise to celebrity status was primarily because of his un-naturally large penis which according to John himself was, “…14 inches long and as round as my forearm, six inches above the wrist,” After years of starring in hundreds of films and hiding his marriage to a conservative girl, Holmes eventually began his downward spiral of excessive drug use that plagued so many celebrities and average Joe’s in the 1970s-80s. After leading a substance-abuse free life for numerous years (Holmes even abstained from tobacco and alcohol), Holmes jumped into the life of cocaine with such intensity that his string of hit porn movies would soon come to an end, not to mention his freedom.

After befriending Los Angeles drug kingpin Ed Nash, John became entwined with nefarious characters that eventually led to quadruple homicide charges against him that would become embedded into the history of Hollywood and soon on the big screen as the “Wonderland murders”. John would emerge a free man, but no way whatsoever vindicated. After contracting HIV, Holmes with, knowledge of his illness, continued to film porno movies and possibly exposed many female co-stars to the disease. He succumbed to AIDS in 1988 leaving behind a legacy with enough unanswered questions to make many wonder who was this man?

In a book that utilizes years of research including hundreds of hours of interviews with friends, family, co-stars, police officers (essentially those who knew Holmes at his most intimate moments), John C. Holmes’ life before, during and after porn is described and chronicled with painfully hard memories.

These two first-time authors (one actually went to a filming of a XXX movie to interview a director who was extremely close to Holmes during his extended run in the pornography game) put together a 582 page biography that reads like a college textbook on speed with a side of steroids. In addition, to pages upon pages that recount a fascinating life that coincided with the criminalization and then legitimization of pornography, Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson provide the reader with hundreds of synopsis’ of Holmes’ films including little-known reels from the earliest days of pornography that conclude with brazenly poignant reviews such as “…John gets the girls prepped for a shared facial—a personal memento from Mr. Big.”

“John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches,” is a narrative similar to other star biographies with one major exception; the pages and pages of quotes and personal accounts of nearly every major figure in John’s life. Instead of unverified accounts given by outsiders with no obvious connection to Holmes, these authors included the personal accounts of many of his peers which allow readers an inside view into Johnny Wadd’s troubled life.

Throughout the book the reader is given objective information combined with subjective accounts from many former friends, lovers, wives, co-stars, etc. The reader essentially is allowed to come to their own verdict on whether this man was bigger than life or was he just a degenerate and sexual deviant who orchestrated the murder of four fellow druggies.


Click on link to listen to podcast interview with "Inches" biographer Jennifer Sugar - on Impact 89FM:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"John Holmes is Back" by Jared Rutter

Upon returning home from a terrific presentation of the book, followed by a spirited Q&A on Monday evening at Schuler's Books, Music and Cafe in Michigan (thanks again to Events co-ordinator, Whitney Spotts!) we have another great review to post!

John Holmes Is Back

20 years after his death, the porn icon is spotlighted in new bio, DVD reissues
By: Jared Rutter

Posted: 10/31/2008 CHATSWORTH, Calif. – Twenty years after his death, porn icon John Holmes is back in the spotlight thanks to the re-release of two of his landmark movies and the publication of his first full-length biography.

The re-releases, Johnny Wadd, (1970) from VCX, and The Return of Johnny Wadd (1986), from Adam & Eve, neatly bookend the star’s career. They were his first and last incarnations of the private eye character who became his on-screen alter ego.

Johnny Wadd was made in 1970 in the porn industry’s fledgling years. Director Bob Chinn made it in one day for $500 from a script he wrote on the back of an envelope. It was the first of many Wadd movies with Chinn at the helm. The director recently unearthed a pristine first-run answer print from which VCX made its DVD. Extras include an interview and commentary with him.

The Return of Johnny Wadd was one of Holmes’ last features, produced by his friend Bill Amerson for Penguin Productions. Written by Raven Touchstone and directed by Patti Rhodes, it co-stars Kimberly Carson, Sheri St. Clair, Mai Lin and Billy Dee.

According to Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson in their biography John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches, The Return of Johnny Wadd was made after Holmes' release from jail (in connection with the drug-related Wonderland murders) but before he tested positive for HIV. The actor was 41 and had not made a Wadd movie for eight years. He wanted to revive the franchise and got permission from Chinn, then living in Hawaii, to give it a try.

Touchstone says in the book that she thought her script would be the first of a new Wadd series, but it turned out to be the last. Not long after its release in early 1986, Holmes came down with the first symptoms of the AIDS-related illness that would kill him two years later.

Fans of the original should be alerted that Adam & Eve’s version starts off with a wholly unrelated sex scene that appears to have been incorporated into the movie some years after the movie’s initial release. It features an unidentified woman and a young Tony Tedeschi, who did not enter the business until the early 1990s. Otherwise, the movie plays just as it did when shot on video 22 years ago.

John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is packed with information that even the closest student of the porn legend’s life may not be aware of. It’s the work of two non-professional writers who developed an interest in the late stud bordering on obsession and tracked down just about everyone who ever knew him. Holmes’ life story, told primarily in the words of the interviewees, like an oral history, is endlessly fascinating.

The book has some terrific extras: an amazingly thorough filmography (and loopography) as well as detailed reviews of the major movies. This is no small achievement. Video stores would be well advised to stock it in their Classics section. Copies can be ordered from or from

****Copies can also be ordered at,, Barnes and and

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Review by Ian Jane at AV Maniacs and "Inches" contest!

Clocking in at a whopping 581 pages and including many photos from throughout Holmes’ life and career, this ridiculously well researched book features interviews with Holmes’ family and friends such as Sharon Holmes and Dawn Schiller as well as co-workers like Bob Chinn, Jamie Gillis, Bill Margold, Annette Haven and many, many, many more. Careful not to choose sides over the various controversial aspects of Holmes’ life, the book starts with a look at Holmes’ early years and follows him throughout the early days of his adult career in the sixties through to his rise to stardom as porndom’s main marquee star in the seventies with the advent of the Johnny Wadd films. From there we learn of his struggles with substance abuse which lead to the controversial ‘Wonderland Murders’ and his subsequent legal troubles. Of course, from there we learn of his comeback and ultimately his battle with HIV.

The book manages to paint a portrait of a man both troubled and proud. At times sincerely nice and kind, and at other times completely full of shit, Holmes makes for a fascinating subject and the care and attention to detail put into this project, the obvious desire to paint an honest portrait of his life rather than to simply focus on the more sensationlist aspects of it, makes this a book very much worth reading.

Anyone with a passing interest in the adult film industry or who just enjoys a good biography in and of itself owes it to themselves to check out this meticulous and fascinating study of one of the most infamous and recognizeable adult film icons of all time.

For details to win your free copy of the book at AVManiacs, please click on this link:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lansing News!

MSU grad writes porn legend's bio

Film prompts look into John Holmes' life

NOISE by Emily Caswell

Jennifer Sugar swears she's a wholesome girl. Married and living on the west side of the state, Sugar, a Michigan State University alumni is probably not the kind of person you'd imagine writing a biography of a porn star. But she did. Along with co-author Jill C. Nelson, Sugar, 26, put together a biography of John Holmes, one of the first porn actors who was well-known for being well-endowed.

Sugar became interested in Holmes after seeing the motion picture "Wonderland," saying she had a feeling "there (was) a lot more to be told." And so she started her research. First, by watching many of Holmes' films. "Some of them were really funny," said Sugar. "The more I watched them, the more I liked them. ... Then they got repetitive."

Second, she took a trip to Hollywood in August of '04 to attend a birthday party thrown in Holmes' honor. He died in 1988.

There she met up with Bill Margold. Considered to be the world's foremost adult film historian, he worked with Holmes throughout the '70s and '80s, Margold took Sugar to the party. From there, she got some contacts and started working on the book. NOISE talked with Sugar about the bio, her time with Margold and more.

So why John Holmes?

I was curious really because he was a boy from Ohio who went out to Hollywood and became a porn star ... It just seemed like he was an important person. ... A pop culture icon ... I wanted to see him as more than just a penis.

How did you get people in the industry to trust you as an outsider?

Some people were skeptical. They asked me a lot of questions.

What was it like hanging out with Margold?

That was kind of crazy. ... He's very bombastic. ... Bill, he just looked out for me ... He'd say "so and so, he just wants to get into your pants." (laughs).

What was the most surprising thing you learned about Holmes?

He was such a paradox. ... There were a lot of stories about John doing positive things.

Did you set out to write the bio to find those positive parts of him?

I was looking to write something that would be unbiased. ... I wanted to present an even view.

How did you get hooked up with Jill?

I met Jill on a message board related to John Holmes...I just got to know her.

What did your parents think of the book?

My dad, of course, was a little bit surprised. My mom, she was really curious.

How did you find time to work on the book while in college?

I didn't let it take over...My college stuff came first. (I) mostly (worked on it) over summer.



Thursday, October 30,2008 By Bill Castanier

Literary Endowment

The story of how two women came to write a biography of the unquestionable "King” of Porn," John C. Holmes, is almost as fascinating as their subject. Almost.

Recent Michigan State University graduate Jennifer Sugar, of Michigan, and Jill Nelson, a businesswoman from Toronto, have written a fascinating account of Holmes’ rise to fame and dramatic fall in their 581-page book “John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches.”

Most know of Holmes for his extraordinary endowment, which helped make him the star of thousands of pornographic movies during the “golden era” of porn. His most notable achievement was the “Johnny Wadd” series, in which he played a detective or, as it’s known in the trade, a private dick.

Those less familiar with his work know about Holmes from the movie “Wonderland,” which not only details his life in the industry, but also his decline and fall, which led to cocaine addiction, his entanglement in a drug robbery and murder and his ultimate death from AIDS in 1988.
Sugar became fascinated with Holmes’ life after watching “Wonderland” as an MSU student in 2003. “I hadn’t watched a John Holmes movie, and (after watching “Wonderland”) I said I’ll never watch a John Holmes movie,” Sugar said.

The promise to look away was short lived. “I was most interested in the murders at first,” Sugar said. Sugar watched documentaries on Holmes and read everything she could find. One thing she could not find was a biography of the porn star. Undaunted and naive about how hard it would be, Sugar decided to write it herself. “I just thought it would be kind of fun to try,” she said. In August 2004, Sugar who calls her self “shy,” went to Hollywood alone for the “Fit For a King” event, a celebration of Holmes’ life. She returned to California over the next three summers to conduct more than 35 interviews with Holmes’ co-stars, directors and the police officers involved in the investigation of the robbery-murders.

One major player who helped make contacts for Sugar was Holmes’ widow and former porn star, Laurie Holmes, who also gave her and her writing partner access to audiotapes from Holmes’ autobiography, “Porn King.” “I think my age and not having any experience as a journalist or author let them open up to me,” Sugar said. By the time Sugar interviewed director Paul Thomas while on a shoot, she was quite familiar with the industry. “What was shocking was that I wasn’t shocked,” she said.

Later, she and Nelson shared the responsibility of watching 114 feature films and another 86 loops starring Holmes to complete the section on Holmes’ filmography.

Sugar met Nelson online in a chatroom about “Wonderland.” They corresponded through e-mail for more than a year before Sugar asked for help with the book. “As I got to trust her, I told her it was too much for one person,” Sugar said.

Nelson said her initial interest in Holmes stemmed from her fascination with Val Kilmer, who played him in “Wonderland.” “I knew about John Holmes, but other than knowing he was well endowed, I wanted to see how Val Kilmer would portray him,” she said.

Her interest grew, and Nelson found herself wanting to know more. “I wanted to find out how a country kid from Ohio could get caught up in pornography and be catapulted into stardom,” she said. Nelson also brought a different perspective, since she was twice Sugar’s age.
“I knew the ‘70s,” she said. “I lived through them.” Nelson said sifting through all the material was a lot of work. Much had been written about Holmes, but there was no complete biography, and that was the authors’ goal. They wanted to know what went on behind the scenes and who the man was. They each conducted interviews and reviewed movies. “We both respected each other’s opinions,” Nelson said. “I think that’s the reason it works. We’re both determined and perfectionists, and we’re both meticulous.”

Each woman is proud of her accomplishment, which is the best look to date at a porn star who helped redefine a film genre, bringing it from seedy art house to a new life at video stores. The book is also the first mainstream biography of a porn star to feature full frontal nudity. Both authors agree it had to be included, and it’s the first thing readers turn to.

Now the authors are on the circuit to promote the book, making appearances everywhere from mainstream bookstores to the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January.
For the record, Sugar’s “favorite” Holmes’ movie is “Eruption,” and Nelson favors “Jade Pussycat.” Neither would elaborate, but Sugar did recently see “Eruption” on a large 35 mm screen. Perfect to watch John C. Holmes.

Jennifer Sugar & Jill Nelson Authors of “John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3 Schuler Books & Music, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., LansingFREE

(517) 316-7495

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Schulers' Books & Music & New Author Interview!

It is less than a week now before our book signing at Schulers' Books & Music and tomorrow, October 29th, Sugar will be a special guest on The Impact, at 88.9 at 7:00 pm!

This is from Schulers' website:

A Look Behind the Lens of the Life of Pop-Culture Icon John Holmes, Monday. November 3. 7:30 p.m. Meet MSU alumnus Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson, co-authors of the definitive biography of John Holmes, the undisputed King of the adult film industry, whose devastating downward spiral contributed to one of the most gruesome, unsolved, multiple-murders in Hollywood history. The grave consequences of his cocaine addiction, his association with the Wonderland murders, and his AIDS-related death made him an infamous figure in pop culture. Now John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches looks beyond the stigmas and rumors to reveal the man behind the myth, and the cultural implications of the birth of the adult film industry.


New author interview at Cindi's Naked Truth!

John Holmes- Exclusive Interview with the authors of “A Life Measured In Inches”October 28th, 2008

This book is PACKED with info on John Holmes, from his child hood until his death, it also gives details on what was happening all around him in the adult industry throughout his life. Thorough is not a strong enough word. We also have reviews of many of John’s movies and a bunch of pictures of him throughout his life. Excellent tome. I did an interview with the two writers who made this happen, Jill Nelson & Jennifer Sugar. Here is what they had to say-

1) Without having any prior interest or knowledge of the adult film industry, what was your inspiration for writing a book about John Holmes?

Jennifer: I had heard on the radio, “Our sets are longer than John Holmes,” and I was disappointed after I saw Wonderland because I wanted to really be able to see what that meant. I had never seen one of his movies until about four years ago. It was ironic because after I saw Wonderland when I was 21, I thought, “I’ll never watch a John Holmes movie!” and now, four years later, I’ve co-authored the only comprehensive biography of John Holmes, which includes 200 film reviews. I don’t think there’s much left for me to see that would shock me!

Jill: I had heard of John Holmes back in the 70’s when I was still a teenager and I knew him by his reputation. That is, I was aware of the fact that he was extremely well endowed, but I’d never watched any of his movies. In some ways, it was liberating to be presented with a legitimate opportunity, not only to explore an erotic film star’s life, but also to vicariously explore the taboo world of sexuality, beyond the realm of what is acceptable by today’s society. Not many men are built like John was, so there was definitely a curiosity factor for me. I soon discovered that John’s genitals don’t resemble your typical turkey neck and giblets, like many males’ tend to do, so I guess you could say that John’s famous member provided inspiration for the bio – on some levels.

2) How did people react upon learning of your project?

Jennifer: People were positive. My dad said, “I better not see you in any movies,” my mom said, “Maybe you can recommend some movies,” and my sister said, “How can I get in a movie?”

Jill: My husband has been supportive, but, at first, my teenaged daughter who was 17 at the time was a little uncomfortable with the idea of the book. On the other hand, my son (who is now 24) begged me to let him add Ron Jeremy’s cell phone number to his speed dial, just to impress his buddies! In my circle, people have been polarized, but I’ve reminded a few that ”A Life Measured in Inches” is a serious and comprehensive biography about an erotic film legend –Jennifer and I are not porn stars. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But, there is a definite difference.

3) As first time authors venturing into unchartered waters, did you ever feel that undertaking a biography about John Holmes was overwhelming?

Jennifer: At times, I felt overwhelmed because there was so much to do – we had lists of phone numbers and e-mails, interviews to transcribe, movies to watch and review — and that was really just the beginning. I’d write a list of the next five things to do on an XL condom and pop it with a big pin when they were done. Many condoms were popped during the making of this book.

Jill: It is interesting, because our book was written electronically, by e-mailing our interview transcriptions, individual chapters and film reviews back and forth. We actually met in person for the first time in July of 2007, when we travelled to L.A. to do a round of interviews together. In April of this year, Jennifer (who resides in Michigan) stayed at my house in Ontario, Canada, for few days so we that could write captions for the 3 photos sections we had selected. Some of the pictures are rare nudes that really showcase John’s “inches”. It would get late and we’d be bleary-eyed sitting on my livingroom couch, fixated on John’s humungous pretzel and on impulse, we’d toss off all sorts of hilarious captions. The next day we’d generally tone it down a notch, but it was pretty funny.

4) Were you porn fans ahead of time? How were you accepted by the adult community?

Jennifer: Prior to reviewing John’s films and other Golden Age classics, I’d only seen a couple or porn movies and wasn’t a fan, but I was curious…

I would say that I was accepted warmly, but professionally by the adult community. People always ask if anyone ever asked me to be in a movie. No one ever did, although Cass Paley recently told me that the reason why he and Roy Karch approached me at “Fit for a King” — which recognized what would have been John’s 60th birthday — was because Roy was going to ask me to be in an adult movie. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a responsible, adult who decides to work in adult movies, but it’s not for me and I don’t do anything that would suggest otherwise.

In interviews with people who had worked within the adult community, I found that they were open after we earned their trust and shared our vision for how Inches would portray John Holmes.

Jill: I can honestly tell you that at age 50, no one offered me a part in a movie, not even as a MILF! We found that because we were both virgins, so to speak, it eventually worked to our benefit in gaining the trust of the adult community, because it was refreshing. Jennifer is a pretty and intelligent young woman, so people naturally gravitated toward her and they were very intrigued when she’d originated this project 4 years ago. I didn’t come on board until almost two years ago. As co-authors, we make an unique partnership because we are a generation apart; I’m a mother and I have been married for 30 years. Jennifer is a newlywed and a recent university graduate, so we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Because of the nature of the book, we have talked about many things that I would never discuss with my own daughter because I’d be too embarrassed!

5) You both watched and reviewed over 200 Holmes’ films and loops for this project. What was your reaction when you saw John’s legendary penis for the first time?

Jennifer: I’ve seen it so many times now, I honestly can’t remember what I thought when I first saw it. But I will say this — there was a short-term effect to watching so many John Holmes films in such a short period of time; a regular-sized penis looked half as big as it should!

Jill: The first time I saw John’s penis was in a scene from The Jade Pussycat, where Johnny Wadd is “auditioning” a new secretary played by Christian Sarver. I distinctly remember exclaiming out loud, “HOLY SHIT!”. It almost rendered me speechless, which is very rare for me! The very first Johnny Wadd film adeptly demonstrates just how intimidating John’s size could be. At 25 years old, he was, as they say, young and hung, as the camera highlights his erect penis, swinging partway down toward his knee. It is thick and curved, almost like a boomerang. John had long skinny legs, so it is really quite incredible and impressive. The brunette actress who was working with John in that scene, Andie Bellamy, seemed to think so, too, judging by her vocal expressions and body language.

6) What are some of your favourite memories while writing the biography?

Jennifer: I interviewed Paul Thomas on the set of an adult video he was directing. After P.T. and his staff agreed on “Tits” for the location of the impending cum shot, he excused himself from our interview and joined the crew, who had snapped to attention to film the climax. When the cameras were turned off, the actress (who had done a convincing job during the scene), held her hands away from her body with her fingers pointed down. And in a statement that I think many women can empthasize with, she said, “I need a paper towel.”

Jill: Many stories shared with us throughout our interviews are memorable. Marilyn Chambers said when she’d first met John, he told her he had owned a sheep farm. I knew through Jennifer that Rhonda Jo Petty had said John told her he and his (first) wife Sharon had owned a goat farm. I laughed because it just struck me as the type of tale that John might have thought was funny. There are some stories that didn’t make it into the book, either because we were close to our deadline with our publisher, or we couldn’t verify them at all. Someone told me a story about a business card that John used to hand out in the 80s that read: “Romantic Problems? Call John Holmes” and it listed the telephone number of his answering service on Santa Monica Blvd.

The experience of co-writing this book has definitely been a lot of hard and meticulous work, but it has also been enlightening and fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Michigan Book Signing, Cindi's Naked Truth & More!

Book Signing:

Watch and listen for 'up and coming' media coverage for our Monday, November 3rd signing event at Schuler's Book Store in Lansing, Michigan!

Jennifer Sugar will be interviewed by Emily Smith at Lansing NOISE a few days prior to our event. The interview will appear in their October 29th publication. Lansing City Pulse will be publishing a joint interview with Sugar and Nelson later on this month. In addition, Sugar is scheduled to be a special guest on Lansing radio: 88.9 The Impact with Bill Castanier on October 29th. The interview will air on the same day at 7:00 pm. Eastern.

Cindi's Naked Truth:

Check out Cindi's glowing comments about our biography:

"I am reading John Holmes, A Life Measured in Inches. This book is the TEXT BOOK on John Holmes and his era of porn. There is so much detail, I feel like I am studying for a quiz when I am reading, but that’s not a bad thing! Currently rated 5 stars on, this is a must read for all porn history buffs. Thanks to the authors for my autographed copy! :) More on the book when I get further along…."

Cindi also writes for luke is back at:

In Related News:

Adult Film Historian, William Margold, has requested that John Holmes' (and other legendary stars) famous hand and footprints outside of the former Pussycat Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd. be moved to the Hustler store, located in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. An article about the historic landmark by David Cotner appeared in L.A. Weekly last week and has been picked up by adult fan websites - X-Biz and P.S. Babylon.

John Holmes left lasting impressions in front of the Pussycat Theatre at the lavish, red carpet premiere of Girls on Fire on February 7th, 1985 - almost 20 years after entering the adult business. He was 40 years old. Just one week later, on February 14th, Holmes was the first erotic film star to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame.

From XBiz:

The Studs Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, once the flagship theater of the Pussycat chain that showed “Deep Throat” when it first came to Los Angeles, has cement handprints and signatures of adult industry stars including Linda Lovelace, John C. Holmes and Harry Reems on the sidewalk outside the theater.

Adult industry veteran Bill Margold has been asking Larry Flynt to buy the imprints — particularly those of Holmes and Lovelace, who are now deceased — and move them to the Hustler Hollywood store on the Sunset Strip.

“I think they’d be a lot happier over there,” Margold told XBIZ. “Santa Monica Boulevard is still thought of as the boulevard of hookers, whereas Sunset is the boulevard of entertainment.”Margold went to see Holmes’ imprint with the writers of the John Holmes biography,A Life Measured in Inches.”

“I’m sad at how ill-treated the footprints are [at Studs] and how well-treated they are at Hustler Hollywood. Flynt could buy the whole theater if he wanted to. I could run it as a historical theater if he did that. We could show the old movies on a regular basis.”

The Hustler Hollywood store in West Hollywood, Calif., has handprints of adult personalities in its entranceway, including Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, director Paul Thomas, and performers Herschel Savage and Christy Canyon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Schuler's Book Signing & 'Film Threat' Review/Interview with the Authors

MONDAY, November 3, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. -- Authors Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson will read and sign John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches at Schuler Bookstore in Lansing, MI (at Eastwood Towne Center). This event begins at 7:30 p.m.

by Phil Hall (2008-09-11)

So, who was the biggest male star in movie history? Those with a flippantly dirty mind can produce the obvious answer: John Holmes.

Most people know John Holmes from the publicity surrounding his extraordinary endowment. And for those who enjoyed 1970s-era porn, Holmes’ on-screen persona as tough guy detective Johnny Wadd left a memorable impression.

Yet beyond the scintillating on-screen fun was a life that spiraled wildly out of control. A cocaine addiction wrecked his personal and professional life, and his involvement in setting up the robbery that resulted in the 1981 Wonderland Murders should have finished Holmes completely. Remarkably, he was able to regain career momentum and enjoy personal stability. But his recovery was too brief, and his 1988 AIDS-related death sealed his reputation as one of the most bizarre life stories in the entertainment world.

In the new book “John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches,” authors Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson separate legend from fact and piece together Holmes’ strange and often tragic story. The result is an emotionally exhausting yet truly compelling real-life adventure. Published by BearManor Media, “John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches” is the first biography on the late porn star and an invaluable history on the rise of the 1970s porno business.

Film Threat recently chatted with Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson on their new book.

What inspired you to write a book about John Holmes?

Jennifer: It's interesting because neither Jill or I have any affiliation with the adult industry and neither of us were fans of adult films going into this project. We both became interested in knowing more about John as a person after seeing Wonderland and Wadd. After I saw “Wonderland” in 2003, I watched all of the available documentaries about John and read everything I could find about him. But I sensed there was still a lot more to the story and was shocked to learn that there wasn't already an in-depth biography covering John's life the way that our book, “John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches,” does. So, I decided to write one and my first step toward that goal was to attend "Fit for a King," the celebration recognizing what would have been his 60th birthday, where I did my first interviews.

Jill: I was also intrigued by the connection between John and his first wife Sharon and his mistress Dawn, that paralleled the story of the Wonderland murders and was depicted in the 2003 movie. I wondered how it was possible that a man could be an adult film icon, yet, he was married to a straight-laced Registered Nurse and also had a girlfriend. On the outside, the three seemed to share an amicable relationship and that interested me. I don't think Jennifer or I ever imagined ourselves writing a book about a so-called porn star, but we have come to believe that this project chose us.

For the record, just what were John Holmes, uh, measurements?

Jennifer: As the title implies, there was more to John than could be measured in inches. His penis may have been what initially made him a star, but John's abilities as an actor really improved with experience and his life was very complex. That being said, there isn't an official measurement - John's length varied with his level of excitement, but he will always be remembered as one of the biggest stars!

Jill: John knew how to expertly prepare his partners for his unique size and deep penetration. He engaged in foreplay with his leading ladies as much as time would allow for it, by giving them massages before a scene, or by reassuring them throughout a specific shoot. His partners greatly appreciated his gentle technique. John considered himself to be a sexual professional and he was - in every sense of the word.

For those who never saw any of his films, which were his best films and why?

Jennifer: I think it is essential for people to see the nine part Johnny Wadd series directed by Bob Chinn because it is what made John a household name during the 1970s. It was a very different time from now, since making and appearing in pornography films was illegal, but at the same time, they were also being shown - and enjoyed - at adult theaters around the country. To add to that, I'd like to mention that the original film, “Johnny Wadd,” will be released on DVD in September - and this 1970 film was previously unavailable. As the first of the series, it is quite significant and it will be fun for viewers to see the progression of the series as John became a better actor and the films were allowed a bigger budget corresponding to the immense growth in their popularity. I'm also a big fan of Holmes' work in sex comedies, such as “Hot 'n' Saucy Pizza Girls” (also directed by Bob Chinn), “The Spirit of Seventy-Sex” (directed by Stu Segall), and “Hot Nurses” (directed by Roberta Findlay). These campy films illustrate the carefree nature of making adult films during the Golden Era.

Jill: Other recommended highlights from Holmes' film repertoire would include “Prisoner of Paradise,” co-starring one of his popular leading ladies, Seka. “Eruption,” which is a parody of the mainstream classic, “Double Indemnity,” demonstrates John's agility as he performs various stunts and proves that he had credible ability as an actor. “John Holmes Superstar” is a terrific psuedo-documentary. Although “The Return of Johnny Wadd” is not part of the original series created by Bob Chinn (it is produced by Penguin Productions. John and partner Bill Amerson's own company) the film has merit with a quality script and decent acting, particularly on the part of Holmes and Kimberly Carson.

What effect did John's involvement in the Wonderland murders have on his career?

Jennifer: Actually, none. Sure, at first some directors and producers were reluctant to hire John, but John bounced back with his comeback film, “Marathon,” in 1983. In fact, on that set, John met and charmed Laurie (aka former adult actress, Misty Dawn), who became his second wife. This just goes to show that John came back, ever the ladies' man, and he went on to appear in many movies and videos throughout the next three years - business as usual. From his appearance in them, it appeared The King was thrilled to be back!

Jill: In all likelihood, John's infamy in association with the Laurel Canyon murders helped to bolster his film career when he made his successful comeback after his acquittal. John enjoyed his return to adult films and he helped to usher in a new round of young, leading ladies like Ginger Lynn and Amber Lynn, who became sweethearts of the video-age. Like the women who preceeded them, the newcomers loved working with Holmes. In many ways, Holmes acted as a mentor to the young burgeoning stars and his reputation for being a gentleman on the set remained.

Why is John Holmes relevant to today's movie audiences?

Jennifer: Without John Holmes, many people believe the industry would have not achieved the popularity that it enjoyed throughout the 1970s and 80s. John as Johnny Wadd kicked open the door for other adult performers.

Jill: Holmes is considered to be the forefather of erotic movies. He is the Babe Ruth of hardcore.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Overview of "A Life Measured in Inches" by Gene Ross - Adult FYI

14:12 PM PST

Paul Thomas: The Fact that John Holmes Got AIDS and Died from It was Perfect

--Gene Ross

Porn was really cool back in the Eighties. Then when John Holmes died of AIDS in 1988, all of a sudden, it wasn’t as cool any more. The book John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is an oral history of the most famous and controversial porn star of all time. Holmes had the mythical monster cock and the party personality to go with it. But when Holmes died, it was the effect of someone turning the lights on the party and calling the cops. And the spirited Free Love movement which began in the Sixties and proceeded pretty much undisturbed over two decades all of a sudden had its rude awakenings, repercussions and finger-pointings.
In the blizzard of quotes and assembly of porn junkie recollections and anecdotes, one comment in this fascinating book by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson really leaps off the page. Paul Thomas offers his thoughts upon hearing of Holmes’ death.

“When I found out he had AIDS,” says Thomas, “I was in denial because then I was scared that I had it. I wouldn’t test. It seemed the proper ending for Holmes, or anyone else in this business. It seemed not surprising at all, in fact, it was surprising that we all didn’t have it. That was amazing: not that he had it, but that we all didn’t have it. I’d crossed swords with him many times. He was with a girl and three seconds later, I was with her, so it was surprising that we all didn’t get it. The fact that he got it and died from it was perfect. Tragic, but perfect.” By the way, Holmes knew he had AIDS and continued to perform.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What people are saying about: A Life Measured in Inches

Below is a compilation of quotes about the bio by various people who were interviewed for the book, among others:

- L.A. Times Critic comments: "I was impressed at how thorough and definitive it was." -- Kenneth Turan

- Editor of the Village Voice sexuality blog, "Naked City" summarized "Inches" this way: "Chocked full of primary sources... This book is an excellent piece of porn history. You learn a whole lot about John Holmes and also about porn in the 70s and 80s." -- Audacia Ray

- The author of the "Whatever became of?" series, had this to say about, "A Life Measured in Inches": "Long overdue, precisely researched and a breezy read." -- Richard Lamparski

- A former L.A.P.D. homicide detective writes: "A real insider's look into the life of John Holmes. The many quotes throughout the book give an interesting and insightful perspective to the Holmes story." -- Tom Lange

- Veteran film director and creator of the Johnny Wadd series recently summed up the biography: "A comprehensive survey of a great tragedy." -- Bob Chinn

- Former Golden Age starlet, who did her first film with John Holmes shares her thoughts: "This is an amazing biography! By far, it is the best and most balanced account of John Holmes and the most truthful book about the adult film industry that has ever been written." -- Rhonda Jo Petty

- Holmes' friend and still photographer states: "'A Life Measured in Inches' should be in every library. It is a historical piece." -- Joel Sussman

- Well respected actor and erotic film director claims: "It is a fine, sensitively written piece of work. I am very pleased and proud to be a part of it. It will always be the definitive work on Holmes and it's a great read.-- Jamie Gillis

- Former Holmes' comrade and fellow performer writes: "Thanks for quoting me word for word, unlike other interviews I have participated in." -- Don Fernando

- A Hollywood scriptwriter says: "It tells the whole story about the man. It's the truth, not someone's fabricated tale of the life. It's a page turner and absolutely compelling. Kudos, ladies. You did an amazing job." -- Raven Touchstone

- John Holmes' widow states: "After watching the film, Wonderland, Jennifer and Jill believed there was more to John Holmes. I find the biography refreshing." -- Laurie Holmes

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Inches" & Beyond

Presently, Jennifer and I are moving forward at a good pace with respect to publicity and promotion of the book as our primary focal point. The comprehensive biography is now available at all major online outlets like:, Barnes &,,, etc., and also at our own website:

Please visit our myspace page at: John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches.

Watch for upcoming reviews, interviews and mentions of the book in various newspaper, magazine publications, and websites such as: Film Threat, HUSTLER, SWANK, L.A. Weekly, P.S. Babylon, Gay Porn Times, Luke is Back, the Toronto Star, AVN,, Adult Industry News, and more!

We are currently working toward making the biography available at store locations throughout the U.S. and Canada!

In related news: In September, VCX will be releasing Johnny Wadd, the very first film of the famous nine part series. (The entire Johnny Wadd collection is reviewed in our book.) This 1970 film, co-starring Holmes' real-life girlfriend, Sandy Dempsey (distinguished by her infamous butterfly tattoo on her right thigh), has not been available since it made its theatrical debut in the early 70s. Additionally, never-before-seen footage from various John Holmes' 1980s feature films, is now available as VOD at - "John Holmes Basement tapes", Volumes 1-4.

Excerpt from Chapter 14 ~


Bob Chinn: People are always going to be curious about somebody that is endowed like he. So there's that curiosity factor that got a shot in the arm with Boogie Nights. And with Boogie Nights, they reached a whole new mass audience that had never been aware of it before.

Laurie Holmes: The way he's been portrayed has been wrong and people have this perception already in their mind. There's nothing you can ever do that's going to change it. It's better sometimes that they just don't know.

Sean Amerson: In short, I don't really care about his drug abuse, the adult industry or the mass murders. None of that affected my relationship with him. That's not who I knew. I miss him, and the kindness and bond between a scared, abused little boy and a man no one understood was a human being.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Author Interview: Naked City

Audacia Ray at Naked City recently interviewed Jennifer Sugar about "Inches"!

For the last few years, writer Jennifer Sugar has been on a mission to bring porn legend John Holmes' life into print in a definitive biography. She added co-author Jill C. Nelson to the mix last year and the final product, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches hits the stands today. The duo interviewed 35 people, reviewed 200of Holmes' films, and did a whole lot of leg work to produce this book.

Naked City editor Audacia Ray emailed with Jennifer and asked about the process of doing the research for the book and what they found out along the way.

[Also, trivia fact - August 8th would have been John Holmes' 64th birthday had he not died of AIDS]

Audacia Ray: What drew you to the life of John Holmes and made you decide to write a book about it?

Jennifer Sugar: I was 21 when I saw the film Wonderland and at that time, I didn't know who John Holmes was. In fact, I'd arrived at the theater at the wrong time to see a different movie, but Wonderland was playing next, so I decided to see it. The movie depicts about one week in John's 44 years - when he was in the depths of his addiction to freebase cocaine and was working as a drug mule between several people, including the so-called "Wonderland Gang" and Ed Nash, a notorious L.A. nightclub owner. As the movie shows, John orchestrated a robbery by the Wonderland people at the home of Ed Nash, which police believe precipitated the gruesome, unsolved multiple homicide at the Wonderland Avenue home less than 48 hours later. Holmes was implicated when his palm print was found on the bed rail above one of the victim's bashed-in heads. Although there wasn't evidence to prove that John had participated in murdering anyone (he was eventually acquitted of the related murder charges), Wonderland shows John taking part in swinging a pipe.

When I left the theater, I felt like I hated John Holmes and I remember saying that I would never see a John Holmes film. However, within a week, my curiosity had grown and I saw two of his films. I also wondered how a boy from Ohio could become the world's first and most famous porn star, before becoming addicted to drugs and being involved with the murders. I wanted to read a book about it, but found there wasn't one devoted solely to John's life, so I decided to write the definitive biography.

AR: How did you conduct your research about John Holmes?

JS: First, I watched all of the documentaries about John and read his autobiography, Porn King, plus all of the news and magazine articles that I could find. In August 2004, I went to Hollywood for the "Fit for a King" celebration, which recognized what would have been John's 60th birthday. There, I conducted my first interviews, and I met Bill Margold (a.k.a. Porn's Renaissance Man) and Cass Paley (who directed the best documentary about Holmes, WADD: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes). Bill and Cass were both very helpful in providing me with research material and contact information to do other interviews. I also began to watch and review Holmes' films. In 2007 I invited a Canadian, Jill Nelson, to co-author the book with me. Together, we completed 35 interviews with people who knew John Holmes, including Bob Chinn, Laurie Holmes, Detective Frank Tomlinson and Detective Tom Lange. Between the two of us, we watched and reviewed a total of 200 Holmes' films, including the entire nine-part Johnny Wadd series. The book includes all 200 reviews, a filmography that is not available online, and three photo sections (that include nude photos of John from the early days of his career), in addition to 14 chapters that chronicle all aspects of Holmes' life.

AR: What was the most surprising thing you learned about Holmes in the course of your research?

JS: Given my introduction to John Holmes with Wonderland, I was surprised to learn that John was a "normal guy," and he meant the world to some people. Although it's indisputable that John did some very bad things associated with his drug addiction, it was heartwarming to learn that he was a very devoted godfather to the children of his best friend and manager, Bill Amerson. Amerson's son summed this up best when he told Jill and I, "The John Holmes I knew was not the monster often summoned up in people's imaginations. He made sure I had new clothes, money for lunch. ...[He] always took a general interest in me and my life when no one else did."

With sentiments such as Sean Amerson's, Jill and I were able to present not only the most complete, but the most balanced look at John Holmes available to date. It truly is a fresh look at The King of Porn.

AR: Of the people you interviewed for the book, who was the toughest nut to crack?

JS: Everyone we interviewed was very kind and helpful in sharing their memories about John, but in answer to the question, John's widow, Laurie Holmes, was probably the toughest person with whom we secured an interview. After Jill called Laurie for the first time, Laurie checked in with Bill Margold to ask about us before she agreed to do the interview. She is very protective over John's estate and her memories of him. So, we were very happy to get a chance to interview her about her five year relationship with John and ask questions about John as a stepfather to her son. Laurie kindly granted us permission to use quotes from John's audiotapes and Porn King, which worked beautifully within our book. Readers of Inches will be pleasantly surprised that John - who was well known for his ability to spin a good yarn - was remarkably candid at times in many of these quotes that we chose. We couldn't be more pleased with the help from everyone who made John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches possible!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gala Photos

Ron Jeremy & Bill Margold

Cutting the cake

Mark Novick

Jill with Joel Sussman & Bob Chinn

Laurie Holmes & Don Fernando

Jill with Rhonda Jo Petty

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Love L.A. - Part Two

Laurie Holmes & Bob Chinn

Yes, Jennifer and I truly experienced lasting memories during our L.A. sojourn. The live Playboy Radio interaction was a lot of fun as it gave us an opportunity to warm up our chops before our appearance at Book Soup on Friday evening. It was really wonderful to be surrounded by so many terrific people who remembered good times with John, as the gala signified a celebration of the birth of the book, and John's 64th birthday.

One of the evening's highlights occured when Jennifer read a heartfelt letter contributed by Seka, that was designated for John, with a special inclusion for Laurie Holmes. Jennifer's articulate and moving presentation brought tears to Laurie's eyes, just prior to her introduction, where she expressed sincere praise for us and our work. Bob Chinn, in his humble but genuine manner, told the audience how it all began for John, when Chinn and Holmes combined their efforts to create the legendary playboy of the blue screen -- detective Johnny Wadd.

WADD documentary director, Cass Paley, recalled how four years ago, he had warned Jennifer just how challenging it would be to attempt to write a book about Holmes, and Bill Margold was in good form as he regaled the audience with stories of the "old" days when porn was illegal and its participants were considered outlaws.

Jennifer and I took turns reading select excerpts while the full house listened attentively, before we made our way toward the back of the store to personalize copies of the book for fans and friends.

Many guests attended the event, such as the lovely, Rhonda Jo Petty, and Porn's Ambassador, Ron Jeremy, along with still photographers, Joel Sussman and Kenji, former L.A.P.D. detective, Frank Tomlinson, psychologist and (now) author, Vonda L. Pelto, and former director of early Holmes loops, Mark Novick. Jennifer and I were also supported by our spouses and family, and my good friends, Lyn and Terry, flew all the way from Southern, Ontario to be with us at the signing! The evening was a resounding success as we posed proudly with our book, while our guests ate cake sporting the cover of the biography, that was specially crafted for the event.

Afterwards, a group of us hooked up for refreshments at the Rainbow before heading down North Fairfax Avenue to catch the midnight screening of one of Holmes' best, "Eruption", presented on 16 mm by "Chicago Joe".

No, we certainly couldn't have tailor-made a more spectacular event. To borrow a line from Mr. Holmes: "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a stroke." It was a blast!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back from L.A.!

Jill and I just got back from Los Angeles! The Playboy Radio event last Thursday night was a lot of fun with hosts Christy Canyon and Vanessa Blue, plus we were joined by John's widow, Laurie Holmes, who helped us a lot since this was our first public speaking experience related to the book! The following evening, we were joined by guest speakers Bill Margold, Cass Paley, Bob Chinn, and Laurie Holmes, prior to doing a reading from Inches and signing the book, which was officially released that day. It was a great evening -- a wonderful tribute to the late John Holmes and also a great book launch! Both of us are catching up and adjusting back to Eastern Time, but we will post more details about our week in L.A. soon!

~ Jennifer Sugar

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Legends" week on Playboy Radio - Update

Playboy Sirius Radio announced that they will be devoting the entire three hour program to the legendary John Holmes on Thursday August 7th. Laurie Holmes will join Jennifer and I during the first segment, while Seka and Tom Byron will share the balance of the program. We will be available for the duration of the show to accept calls, so we encourage you to phone Night Calls from 4-7 PM with questions and comments, as this will be a tremendous program!

Call line: 1(877)205-9796

Please see this AVN insider link for more details:

Sunday, July 27, 2008


While sharing in a special celebration this weekend, Jennifer and I are now in possession of our very own copies of the book! It really looks great with a full image of John's face on the cover, that actually has a "Mona Lisa" effect when you place it upon a shelf. His eyes penetrate! The spine design is very similar with blue eyes staring out while the back cover shows images of Holmes at key stages in his career. The vibrant pictures are supported by a short summary of the book and quotes by John and William Margold, with praise for the bio by Richard Freeman.

More importantly, it is a real thrill to flip through the 584 page bio and catch snippets of quotes, narrative, photos, the filmography and our film reviews - all essential to this compelling story.

Only two more weeks to go!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Less than three weeks 'til "Inches"

An alternative cover image for "Inches" before deciding upon the finished product.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Midnight Screening of "ERUPTION"!

Following the Gala Book Signing event, there will be a FREE 16 mm midnight screening of Eruption at The Silent Movie Theatre on 611 North Fairfax Avenue. Eruption, a porn spoof of the 1944 classic, Double Indemnity, is hailed by late adult film historian, Jim Holliday, as the pinnacle of Holmes' work as a performer and actor. Holmes does all of his own stunt work, between making time with his beautiful co-star, Ms. Lesllie Bovee. This rare screening is being presented by vintage erotic film collector Chicago Joe, while industry insiders will introduce the feature. All donations for the event will go toward Protecting Adult Welfare.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another special "guest"

There will be a memorable contribution from a very special person who worked with John frequently at the Book Soup gala on 8.8.08! Of course, we'll be there signing books, too. Bob Chinn, Laurie Holmes and Bill Margold will also speak - in person - about The King of Porn.
If you would still like to attend, rsvp now! Space is limited.

It's going to be a great event and we're really looking forward to seeing the book, too!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Added Special Guest!

We are pleased to announce that Laurie Holmes will be joining special guests Bob Chinn and William Margold, to say a few words about her late husband at our Book Soup Gala Event! Our launch, sponsored by X-Biz, is expected to be an active and exciting evening, so be sure to rsvp at in advance!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Only one month left...

Until the Olympics. No, I'm kidding... well actually, the Olympics do start in one month, but there is now only one month left until John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches will be published on 8/8/08!

Jill and I have finished proofreading and like she mentioned, it will soon be sent off for early reviews in about two weeks - stay tuned...

And of course, we're also looking forward to the upcoming book launch events in August - Playboy Radio on 8/7 and the Gala @ Book Soup on 8/8!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

First Look!

In a couple of weeks time, our completed biography will be shipped to various publications for pre-review including: AVN, X-Biz, The L.A. Times, Playboy and others. In June, adult film critic, Dick Freeman of Batteries Not Included had this to say about A Life Measured in Inches:

"This is undoubtedly the best porn bio ever written, and will set standards, were there any standards to be set in porn."

We are thrilled to receive high praise from Freeman who is a well-respected critic and an excellent writer. His comments will appear on the back cover of our book.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Inches "Stats"

Jill and I have just finished proofing "Inches" before its final printing to get out for some early reviews. It looks beautiful on the page and John Holmes fans are going to LOVE it.

Because it has always been a numbers game, I thought it would be fun to share some stats about the new book, which will be out soon - 8.8.08 (John would have been 64):

+ 584 pages long
+ 14 chapters covering John's entire life in 418 pages (and three photo spreads with captions)
+ a 21 page, 2-column filmography including loops and features
+ 114 feature film reviews and 86 loops synopses - of films that Jill and I watched and ranked ourselves
+ last, but not least, the book begins with "Hardcore Martyr," a new reflection on The King by Bill Margold. P.S. If you're able, make the trip on 8.8.08 to Book Soup for the gala, which will be amazing.

* visit *

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Proofing the pdf

In between planning the upcoming events in August (Playboy Radio & Book Soup), Jill and I are working on proofreading the text before its printing. The manuscript has been typeset into a pdf file and it looks great on the page! The photos that accompany the film reviews are awesome, too...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Soup Gala Update!

Things are starting to heat up as our impending launch inches closer! We are delighted to confirm that "Johnny Wadd" film director, Bob Chinn will be attending our event as a guest speaker, in addition to adult film historian, William Margold and others. The Platinum Princess herself, Seka, will make a special contribution to the celebration. We anticipate an exciting and memorable evening!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Myspace Page!

John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches has its own myspace page now and we would love to add you as a friend!

We've been busy planning for the August book launch events and are very excited!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches ... Coming to you on 8.8.08!

On August 8, 2004, I attended an event in Hollywood that recognized what would have been John Holmes' 60th birthday and I began writing John Holmes - A Life Measured in Inches. Four years and a co-author later, I am proud to announce a couple of upcoming events to promote and coincide with the book's release on 8/8/08:

Thursday, August 7, 2008:
A chat with the authors, Jennifer Sugar & Jill Nelson
Playboy Radio (Sirius channel #198)
4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Friday, August 8, 2008:
Book Launch Gala & Signing
with surprise guest speakers!
Book Soup 8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood CA
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
To attend this event, you must rsvp:

You can also read excerpts from the book or pre-order a copy at our website: