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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Lost Boys: Vintage Images of Tim Kramer

Lost Boys:
Vintage Images of Tim Kramer

What's in a name? Well, if you're Tim Kramer, you know its value; you create a brand and you make it work for you. We're talking making major bank, kids. 

Other gay porn stars may have a longer list of film credits, but Kramer made the most of the time he had and money he made, parlaying it into a number of successful ventures. 

And if you think possessing such an ambitious nature meant he didn't treat others well, you would be mistaken. 

Those who knew him speak well of the man, characterizing him as a person who navigated the world with great kindness and  treated others with respect. 

And for him? It wasn't all talk. 

When the chips were down? He was man enough to walk the walk, giving his all... right to the end.

Tim Kramer

AKA: Douglas Murrell Cooper
Birth: February 2, 1958
Birthplace: Milton, West Virginia
Death: April 16, 1992

Height: 5'11"
Hair: Blond/Brown
Eyes: Hazel
 
Years active: 1980-1988
Films: 18
Compilations: 21
Studios: Target, Falcon, LeSalon, HIS, NOVA, Bijou, Vivid, Marathon  

Douglas Murrell Cooper was born on February 2, 1958 in Milton, WV, though his family would eventually uproot and move to Columbus, OH. Many West Virginian families moved north to Columbus in the 1970's and 80's because the city was considered socially progressive. They also did so in the hope their children would eventually attend Ohio State University. 

However, that was not the path chosen by young Cooper. He had other plans. After graduating high school in Columbus, he opted to move to Fort Dale, FL. Once there, he quickly found work as a model for Target Studios. 

Thus Tim Kramer was born. 

Target Studios produced 8mm loops for adult bookstores. These loops were later packaged as the popular Bullet Videopac series. Target also did a number of photo shoots for their series of glossy magazines, along with occasional centerfolds for popular mens magazines.
 
In all departments, Tim Kramer proved quite popular. 

So popular, that by 1981, he was living in San Francisco, where he continued his career, now working for the legendary Falcon Studios, among others.

Over the years he would appear in a number of well-received, fondly-remembered films, including Biker's Liberty, Men of the Midway, Tony's Initiation, Trick Time and Heroes. One of his films, Gayracula, was actually a campy comedy written by none other than stand-up comic  Bruce Villanch.  

1982 
Bullet Videopac 3
Pegasus

1983 
Biker's Liberty: Big Summer Surprise
Bullet Videopac 9
Gayracula
Men of the Midway
Tony's Initiation

1984 
Giants 2
Heroes
I Do
Solo Studs 1
Trick Time

1985 
Big Shooters 6: Tim Kramer
Scared Stiff

1986 
Sunstroke

1987 
New Zealand Under Covers
Night At Alfies

1988 
Bullet Gold 3

But Kramer wasn't content to merely be a gay porn star. Early on, he recognized the value of his adopted name and set about finding means to profit from it. 

Shawn Mayotte, an early-'80s gay-porn shooting star - he didn't make many movies, but  posed for lots of magazine shoots - was a good friend of Kramer's. Mayotte recalls Kramer as, "a smart and compassionate person, (who) knew the value of his brand. He was always humble and treated everyone with kindness and respect. I learned a lot just from being around him."

The two also had something in common: they both ran high-end escort services in Hollywood. Normally, a situation like that might come between friends, but Mayotte "...didn’t see it as competition because there seemed to be enough clients for everybody." 

In a 1988 interview with Advocate magazine, Kramer spoke openly about his escort service: "That's where I made most of the money. I don't do drugs or liquor, so I used the (film) business to build up my name, so I could charge more money on the side in my escort service." 

But that was not the only ventures our young entrepreneur pursued. In addition, Kramer opened a health food store in West Hollywood and began investing his money in something he saw as the future... solar power.  

Mayotte recalls: "I remember when he told me about a solar installation company he wanted to invest in, and although I saw the potential, he saw the future. This installation company became his 'day job'. His earnings were invested in a solar installation company, and, in time, parlayed into a partnership with fellow skin star Ron Pearson to found Pegasus Productions. The partnership produced only one film, Pegasus, which featured the (production company's) founders."

But  as the mid-eighties rolled around, AIDs began taking a toll on the porn industry, and Kramer was smart enough to recognize that he needed to get off the gay porn merry-go-round.

As the new decade grew closer, Kramer began making fewer and fewer films. However, as luck would have it, he'd  stayed too long at the fair. 

In 1989, Kramer came up HIV positive. This news might have derailed the life of a less ambitious person, but not Kramer. Instead? It simply altered his focus. 

Suddenly life became all about health - and not just his, but the gay community's as a whole. He began to concentrate on his health food store, looking for ways to live and remain healthy. And that's when he decided to walk away from the gay porn industry for good.  

In his own words:, "I'm in a business now that's health-oriented. We're an AIDS support group, promote safe sex, and are here to try and give something back to the community and help people who are HIV positive or have AIDS. So I can't be involved in unsafe sex in front of a camera, because that says it's okay. It would make me look like a hypocrite."

But that's not the full extent of his efforts. 

His new passion took on another challenge as well; one that for legal reasons went unsung.

As Myotte recalls, "When Doug was diagnosed with HIV, he started an AIDS support group and began promoting safer sex. He spent the last years of his life making regular runs to Mexico to buy in bulk low cost anti-viral medication for others in the community who could not travel. He truly cared about others."

Sadly, all this activity - like a candle burning brightest just before it goes out - took it's toll. By 1991, Kramer was incredibly ill. 

He returned home, to Ohio, eventually passing away on April 16, 1992 at Doctors Hospital North in Columbus. He was with friends when the end came. The cause of death was listed as AIDS complications. His body was buried in the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Cabell County, West Virginia. 

He was 34 years old. 

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As a testament to just how ambitious and driven Kramer was, I must say... I have never found more photos of a vintage gay porn star since I began this series; well over 375 to choose from! (I whittled it down a bit.)

I remember shelving Gayracula at the video store. Kramer was on the cover.

There was something odd about Kramer. He had a dopey look on his face sometimes. And his posture was frequently off-kilter (something I can relate to). 

His appeal, for me was, like Tige McMasters, he reminded me of people I grew up with or went to school with. 

He was an 'everyman'. 

One can't help but admire his heroic efforts in his final years. I have no doubt that he was, indeed, as nice and kind a guy as Mayotte paints him to be.

Yes, sigh... another sad ending. 

But Tim Kramer? 

He sure managed to accomplish a great deal in the time he had.

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That's all for today...

As always, thanks for reading.

Burning Up - Madonna








































































































































































































































































Ambitious - Jeff Beck

8 comments:

Xersex said...

what a marvellous beauty!!!

whkattk said...

It really IS sad that so many of them died from HIV/AIDS. I still blame the studios. They knew the score and persisted/insisted on unprotected sex when the activists were pleading for safe sex: condoms and mutual masturbation. Kisses.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

OMG he died so YOUNG!
But I should not be surprised. AIDS wiped out a whole generation of porn stars. I love that he was so committed to other things (and he was nice!) and I can totally see the appeal. Love the body, love the dick, love the face. Everyman is right.

XOXO

P.S. That Madge song is fire.

Jimmy said...

I remember him from "Men Of Midway" where his stepfather pimped him out. Very hot.

SickoRicko said...

Cute and smart. Hot combination.

Anonymous said...

Obviously based on the pictorial evidence not a natural blonde. But I think you're right - there was something just natural about him in an everyman kind of way: nice dick, nice lean muscular body, great bush. I once fooled around with a guy in the college showers/sauna just because he looked like him. No disappointments. LOL

Anonymous said...

I agree that the studio's played a role in not stepping up and making their actors engage in safe sex. Think how significant that could have been for viewers to see how natural it was to use condoms. And because the studios paid shit money many of the models turned tricks to get by. That couldn't have helped either.
At the same time consumers of gay porn didn't want to see condoms. It would appear that many had a role in what happened to that generation of models/actors. The same could be said for the widespread drug use by the models. Studios/Producers/Directors knew what was happening. Let's face it folks this is a very exploitive industry.

I found troubling a commentator that said his step father 'pimped out' Kramer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Misunderstood. In a movie his 'stepdad' pimped him out. A whole different level of creepiness!!