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Porno star who embraced Christianity later in life dies

By Greg Goodsell
March 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After starring in countless hardcore pornographic films and ruining his health with alcohol and drugs, actor Harry Reems - best known for his role as a randy doctor in "Deep Throat" - turned to God. He spent the next 20-plus years clean and sober, married to the same woman and attending church. Reems has passed away at the age of 65.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reems, whose real name was Herbert Streicher was working on the Florida-shot pornographic film "Deep Throat" as a lighting technician when he was offered the lead male role. "Deep Throat" would reap untold millions - but not for any of the actors. Female star Linda Lovelace would die in a traffic accident, living in poverty and obscurity. Reems was paid all of $250 for his work in the film.

Reems already had a somewhat shady past. His father had been a bookie for the New York mob, and "Deep Throat" was financed by the organized crime-mob's money.

With his bushy moustache and easy-going style, Reems had a charisma and likeability that endeared him to audiences. He made a few R-rated films, but the notoriety he won from "Deep Throat" relegated him to pornographic films. He remains the only U.S. actor ever tried and convicted of pandering obscenities for being in a film. The conviction was overturned on appeal, but the damage to any possible career for Reems in "legit" films was done.

Reems would plunge into end-stage alcoholism. While appearing in many pornographic films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he would often be reduced to panhandling on Los Angeles streets.

Reems would find God and embrace born-again Christianity. Turning his back on acting, Reems became a salesman for a time-share company, selling condos in Jamaica. Eventually he moved to Park City, Utah and sold real estate. He earned a full broker's license, and was a certified investment Realtor.

He also became active in Park City's 12-step recovery community and took his last drink in 1989. A year or so after becoming sober, he met his wife Jeannie, to whom he proposed marriage on the first date. Married four months later, the couple was to spend 22 years together. It was the first marriage for both.

"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."

Reems had made peace with the past - he kept the name Harry Reems as a real estate agent, and never denied being the shaggy haired Romeo of countless skin flicks. "The past is the past," he would say.

Suffering peripheral neuropathy and emphysema, Reems retired form real estate. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and lost his battle with the disease this week.

On a personal level, I had met various people who knew Reems while he worked in real estate and they all said he was the most honest and generous guy you could ever hope to meet.

Rest in peace, Harry. 

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