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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Lost Boys: Vintage Images of J.W. King

Lost Boys:
Vintage Images of J.W. King

Oh, how brightly and quickly he burned...

Handsome, charismatic and well-endowed. Does he look familiar? He might, especially to regular readers of this feature. He's often mistaken for porn legend Jon King. Understandable, considering Jon got his last name from J.W. King. In the gay porn classic, Brothers Should Do It, the two would appear as... what else? Brothers. It was the beginning of Jon's porn career. But, by that point, J.W. was an established presence. A very handsome, mustached established presence...

J.W. King
Aka: Jim King, Brandon Adams Tex Avery, Todd Avery, Jim Waldrop, James Leonard Waldrop 

Birth: July, 21, 1955
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Hair: Brown
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 189 lbs. (86 kg)
Sign: Cancer
Death: December 15, 1986

Years Active: 1978-1986
49 Credits
Films: 27

James Leonard Waldrop was born in Dallas, Texas on July 21, 1955.

In numerous bios, he reportedly moved to Los Angeles in 1979. However, there's just one problem with that: two of his films - his first gay film Big Men on Campus and his lone hetero porn, Lusty Ladies, both came out in 1978. So it's far more likely that he'd moved to L.A. by 1978. This would appear credible, because it has also been reported that he began his porn career at the age of 23 - which would have been in mid-1978. 

Back in the day, the filming and time-to-market were notoriously short for these kinds of films. Therefore, it is entirely possible that he moved to L.A. the same year that these films were shot and released.

After those two films, J.W. wouldn't appear in another film until 1980. At the time, he was in a relationship with R.J. Reynolds. Reynolds was bi-sexual, and a well-established performer in both straight and gay porn. Notably, and surprisingly, R.J. would also appear on Tom Selleck's Magnum P.I. (1981).

R.J. and J.W. met on the set of J.W.'s first film, Big Man On Campus. The two would go on to appear together, often in the same scene, in a total of six films, including Wet Shorts, Closed Set, Jockstrap, A Night at Halsted's, and Three Day Pass.

But King's porn career really wouldn't take off until 1981. Using the name Jim Waldrop, he gained attention as the 'Man of the Month' centerfold for Playgirl magazine's January 1981 issue. Throughout his brief career, King would appear in numerous mens magazines , including Torso (as Brandon Adams) and Honcho, along with the skin rags associated with his many films.

However, it was the coveted Playgirl centerfold that would catapult him into high demand. Offers poured in, and he certainly made up for lost time, He would appear in nine films in 1981 and another nine in 1982. 

Starring in such classics of the age as Big Man on Campus, Brothers Should Do It, Night at Halsted's, and Gold Rush Boys, King worked with numerous studios, including: HIS, Falcon, Catalina Video, Buckshot, Laguna Pacific, EZ Rider, LeSalon, and Bijou.

Big Men On Campus
Lusty Ladies

Joe Gage's Closed Set

Brothers Should Do It
Class Of '84 2: The Adventure Continues
Face To Face
Pacific Coast Highway
Palace Of Pleasures
San Francisco
Tony Prince's Rawhide

Al Parker's Turned On
California Boys
Hollywood Hunks
Malibu Days: Big Bear Nights
Night At Halsted's
Nighthawk In Leather
These Bases Are Loaded
Wet Shorts
Three Day Pass

Choice Cuts
Gold Rush Boys
Tightropes at the Officer's Club

Every Which Way

Young Cum Lickers

Star Shots 3: Chris Burns

King had a reputation as being well-liked and friendly. His performances were filled with enthusiasm, demonstrating an insatiable versatility. How versatile? Well, just check out the experimental aesthetics of 
Al Parker's Turned On, the whacky going-on's in 1981's Performance, or the bondage-themed Tightropes at the Officer's Club to gain an idea of just how good-to-go a performer he was.

He typically appeared with only his signature mustache, but did turn up sporting a beard in 1983's Gold Rush Boys and Tightropes at The Officers Club. The sudden appearance of the beard was most likely an attempt to cover his sudden weight and muscle loss, due to his HIV status. 

Yes, King was positive. And it has long been rumored that he passed the virus to other actors, specifically within the Bijou Video family of actors. 

R.J. Reynolds also came up positive and, by 1984, the two had gone their separate ways.

At that time, King moved to the Hollywood Hills, where would take a job as a waiter at the Sheraton-Premiere Hotel in Universal City.  He would work there for a total of 30 months. 

Leaving the porn industry behind him in 1985, J.W. had a new lover, John Murphy. Murphy would die of AIDS in November of 1986 and J.W. would succumb to AIDS related complications (ARC) a month later. 

He was 31 years old.

J.W. was buried at Laurel Land Memorial Park and also occupies block #01357 of the AIDS Memorial Quilt under his birth name, Jim Waldrop.

R.J. Reynolds died of AIDS on January 9, 1987.

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I have three of his films... Big Man on Campus, A Night At Halsted's, and, one of my all-time favorites, Gold Rush Boys. I purchased a number of classic gay porn films during my e-bay days - all based on the boxes I  used to shelve at U.S. Video on Lake Street during the mid-80s. J.W.? He's got a look I definitely appreciate.

One has to admire how, in such a short time, a gay porn star can cement himself a place in gay porn history. For J.W. King is certainly a legend, garnering attention, praise and new fans to this day. Do a Google search for vintage gay porn? His image will appear.

It's sad that he died so young. Thirty-one years? Not enough of a lifetime...

J.W. King. 

He burned quickly. He burned brightly.

Burn Bright - My Chemical Romance

Burn So Bright - Bella Thorne