Harry Reems
Harry Reems is the nom de film of one of the most notorious pornographic actor
Pornographic actor
A pornographic actor/actress or a porn star is a person who appears in pornographic film. Most actors appear nude in films...

s of the 1970s and star of the 1972 cult classic Deep Throat
Deep Throat (film)
Deep Throat is a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano and produced by Louis Peraino and starring Linda Lovelace ....


Early life and career

Reems was born Herbert Streicher. Reems served briefly in the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 before electing to pursue an acting career, principally in off-Broadway theater.

Looking for ways to support himself, Streicher began to appear in dozens of short, silent stag films, often referred to as "loops," during the early 1970s. He eventually went on to appear in approximately 140 feature-length sexploitation
Sexploitation, or "sex-exploitation", describes a class of independently produced, low-budget feature films generally associated with the 1960s and serving largely as a vehicle for the exhibition of non-explicit sexual situations and gratuitous nudity. The genre is a subgenre of exploitation films...

 and hardcore
Hardcore pornography
Hardcore pornography is a form of pornography that features explicit sexual acts. The term was coined in the second half of the 20th century to distinguish it from softcore pornography. It usually takes the form of photographs, often displayed in magazines or on the Internet, or films. It can also...

 films between 1971 and 1989, with Deep Throat
Deep Throat (film)
Deep Throat is a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano and produced by Louis Peraino and starring Linda Lovelace ....

(1972) and The Devil in Miss Jones
The Devil in Miss Jones
The Devil in Miss Jones is a pornographic film, written, directed and produced by Gerard Damiano and starring Georgina Spelvin. It is widely regarded as a classic adult film, released during the Golden Age of Porn. Damiano made the film after his 1972 success with Deep Throat...

(1973) being the best known, as well as roughies like Forced Entry (1973) and Sex Wish (1976). In the former, he plays a sadistic Vietnam veteran
Vietnam veteran
Vietnam veteran is a phrase used to describe someone who served in the armed forces of participating countries during the Vietnam War.The term has been used to describe veterans who were in the armed forces of South Vietnam, the United States armed forces, and countries allied to them, whether or...

 hellbent on rape and murder; while the latter has him as a husband turned vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 to seek revenge over the rape and murder of his wife. In 1975, he published a memoir, Here Comes Harry Reems, in which he details the early years of his experience as an adult film actor. He had sex (in hardcore
Hardcore pornography
Hardcore pornography is a form of pornography that features explicit sexual acts. The term was coined in the second half of the 20th century to distinguish it from softcore pornography. It usually takes the form of photographs, often displayed in magazines or on the Internet, or films. It can also...

 pornographic film) with the underage Traci Lords
Traci Lords
Traci Lords , also known as Traci Elizabeth Lords and Tracy Lords, is an American film actress, producer, film director, writer and singer...


For the production of Deep Throat in Miami, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in January 1972, Streicher was hired to be part of the lighting crew, but the director was unable to cast one of the roles and asked him. He was paid $250 for the one day of acting work. Streicher was unaware that the director had given him the name "Harry Reems
A reamer is a metalworking tool used to create an accurate sized hole. The process is called reaming. They may be used as a hand tool or in a machine tool, such as a milling machine or drill press.-Construction:...

" until he saw the movie.

Reems's appearance in Deep Throat led to his arrest by FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 agents in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in July 1974, and indictment
An indictment , in the common-law legal system, is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that maintain the concept of felonies, the serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that lack the concept of felonies often use that of an indictable offence—an...

 in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 in June 1975 on federal charges of conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

 to distribute obscenity
An obscenity is any statement or act which strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time, is a profanity, or is otherwise taboo, indecent, abhorrent, or disgusting, or is especially inauspicious...

 across state lines. 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 U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruling on obscenity in 1973 (Miller v. California
Miller v. California
Miller v. California, was an important United States Supreme Court case involving what constitutes unprotected obscenity for First Amendment purposes...

), and Reems was granted a new trial. The charges against Reems were dropped in August. Reems's 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
Alan Dershowitz
Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator. He has spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history...


Reems was cast in the musical film
Musical film
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

Grease (film)
Grease is a 1978 American musical film directed by Randal Kleiser and based on Warren Casey's and Jim Jacobs's 1971 musical of the same name about two lovers in a 1950s high school. The film stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Conaway...

as Coach Calhoun, the Rydell High track coach (before making pornographic films, he had done legitimate theater
Legitimate theater
The term "legitimate theater" dates back to the Licensing Act of 1737, which restricted "serious" theatre performances to the two patent theatres licensed to perform "spoken drama" after the English Restoration in 1662...

). However, for fear that his popularity would cause the film's box office in the South to be jeopardized, Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

 was cast for the role instead.

Later years

After years of drug abuse, Reems began his recovery in 1989. He married and converted to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. "Being the low-bottom drunk that I was, I started going around to churches," said Reems. "I called myself a church gypsy." Reems credits his conversion to Reverend Mark Heiss, a former pastor with Park City Community Church in Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah
Park City is a town in Summit and Wasatch counties in the U.S. state of Utah. It is considered to be part of the Wasatch Back. The city is southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and from Salt Lake City's east edge of Sugar House along Interstate 80. The population was 7,558 at the 2010 census...

. Heiss was abruptly replaced at the church by someone else, for reasons Reems says were never explained; Reems left the congregation because he believed church attendance was "about putting money in the coffers." Today, outside organized religion, he continues to meditate, pray and offer gratitude to God. "If I didn't put God in my life, I'd be dead now," he said. "I am not religious. I'm spiritual, 100 percent." He continues to identify himself as "Harry Reems."

Reems was interviewed in the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat
Inside Deep Throat
Inside Deep Throat is a 2005 American documentary about the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat and its effects on American society.The film is narrated by Dennis Hopper. The documentary was written, produced, and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and produced by Brian Grazer...


In popular culture

  • Harry Reems and his legal battle are featured in episode 105 of the series Swingtown
    Swingtown was an American television series created by Mike Kelley as a summer replacement series for CBS. The show was a period and relationship drama about the impact of sexual and social liberation in 1970s American suburban households, with story arcs involving open marriages and key...


External links

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