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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Lost Boys: Vintage Images Of Johnny Harden

Lost Boys: 
Vintage Images Of Johnny Harden

What's in a name?

Well, that depends on which one you're using. Johnny Harden? He seems to have a ton of aliases. 

But 'Johnny Harden?'

Let's just say he more than lives up to that one. 

The man also has a ton of photos and films - most of them straight, though he certainly earned his place in gay folklore. 

He also has a ton of rumors swirling about him - the oddest stuff. While researching this post, I fell down so many rabbit holes trying to determine fact from fiction. Have you ever tried to make sense of a Greek newspaper? 

In the end? I know we're only scraping the surface on this one. The full story is out there, but Johnny Harden (or Gene O'Leary, as he is known these days) isn't talking. Much. 

So who is the man behind the aliases? Let's see if we can find out.

Johnny Harden
AKA: Gene Carrier, Johnny Hard, Steve Warren, Johnny Hardin, Johnny Hardon, Ricky Bradley, Lean Gene, Alan, Gene O'Leary, Howard O'Leary
Birthdate: January 30, 1956
Birthplace: Bellevue, WA

Height: 6'1" (frequently reported as 5'9")
Hair:  Brown
Eyes: Brown
Weight: 176
Endowment: 8.5''

Years Active: 1977-1984
Films (Gay): 5
Compilations (Gay): 4
Studios (Gay): COLT, HIS, Bijou, Malibu 

Gene O'Leary was born on January 30, 1956 in Bellevue, WA. 

Three parts cagey to every one part ambitious, Harden began his career in the porn industry in 1977, when he was 22 years old. Vacillating between straight and gay films, the man with the giant dick made quite an impact.

When it came to gay porn? He was very careful, typically appearing in solo scenes. And when he did appear in scenes with other male models, the shoots were carefully posed. Any actual physical contact was kept to a minimum.

The man would become notoriously infamous for his ability to self-falatio himself, a talent he was only too happy to demonstrated throughout his porn career.

His film career, rather brief, made a lasting impression on his audience. He never suffered from a lack of fans, even though the bulk of his filmography was straight.

Shown below, a list of his gay-oriented movies.

Johnny Harden & The Champs

California Fox

Pieces Of Eight

Cruisin' The Castro

Johnny Harden & Friends

It was as a photo shoot model that Harden truly made his mark. The camera loved him, and so did the gay community. He would appear as the cover boy or as a photo shoot model for COLT, Falcon, Playgirl, American Men, Blueboy, Mandate and Honcho magazines, as well as numerous magazines based on stills from his gay films and self-financed photo shoots.

HONCHO Feb 1979
PLAYGIRL Sept 1980
BLUEBOY Jan 1981
MANDATE Sept 1981
BLUEBOY Oct 1981
JUST MEN v01 n02 1982
HUSTLER July 1982
JOCK Apr 1985
JOCK May 1985
JUST MEN v03 n05 Sept 1985
JOCK Oct 1985
INCHES Dec 1985
INCHESFeb 1988
ALL MAN May 1990

PLAYGUY v04 n03, v04 n05, v05 n10
INCHES: Men Of Inches #2
PLAYGIRL: Playgirl’s College Men

While the typical bio information and story are nowhere to be found, I did come across a few personal anecdotes.
John J. - I lived in West Hollywood in the late 70’s-80’s. Johnny lived in a small apartment just a couple blocks from where I lived. One day I met him while walking. He was not only fine looking, sexy as hell, he also was a very nice guy. Sex was super but it was enhanced because of his personality. I’ve heard reports that he preferred woman. That does not fit my experiences.

Craig Morton - I was on vacation in Hawaii on Oahu in May of 1980. I went to eat at Hamburger Mary's in Waikiki, and who do you think was sitting all by himself at the table next to mine? The one and only Johnny Harden! I couldn't believe my eyes, but there he was. I introduced myself and complimented him on his work and of course his amazing cock. He was very friendly and gracious. I shook his hand and let him eat his meal in peace. I'll never forget how hot he was! Even hotter looking in real life...

DJ Chi-Chi LaRue and Johnny Harden, 1981 

Writer Billy Ingram mentions Harden in his memoir, PUNK. Back in the late 70's/early 80's, Ingram created ads for a bi-weekly gay magazine called Data-Boy. Harden, who marketed copies of photos of himself via mail order, was a regular client. He used to ask Ingram which pictures made his dick look the biggest. 

Ingram recalls that one day Harden popped in and dropped a check on his desk for $1K made out to Harden from none other than comedian Paul Lynde - the inference being that it was for services rendered.

Harden posed for COLT. Photographer Fred Bisonnes, who remembers him as ''Straight. Big, big dick. Big, big attitude." He went on to add, "Johnny supposedly transitioned to high-fashion modeling, and there was a GQ, etc., print model in the mid-80s who actually might have been a more-mature Harden. Who knows?"

Well, as it turns out, Bisonnes is right. 

Harden somehow managed to do exactly that.

Using the name Gene Carrier, Harden made it to the centerfold of Playgirl magazine in September 1980. He believed that it would help further his career as a legitimate actor. Unfortunately, a writers strike ensued the same month the magazine came out, so all the auditions he went on led to nothing, as no one was hiring. 

So, change of focus.

That same year, Harden was signed to Hugh Hefner's Playboy modelling agency. This, in turn, would eventually lead him to being signed by New York's famous Ford modelling agency as part of their Ford For Men division. By 1984, using the name Howard O'Leary, he did, among other shoots, a series of ads for The Gap.   

He was swept away to Paris in 1984, where he worked as a couture model for Christian Dior, appearing in the Dior show of January of 1984.

Unfortunately, Harden's past came back to haunt him. Some time after the Paris show, he ran into trouble  with the Ford Model Agency in New York. They'd discovered his past work as Johnny Harden and were going to let him go, but - allegedly - Harden had an ace in the hole in the form of an "uncle in the New Jersey Mafia who played cards with Gerard Ford, Eileen Ford's husband. Apparently? He made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Harden stayed on at the agency.

Which brings us to one of the stranger chapters in Harden's life.   

As Howard O'Leary, he made headlines overseas on November 11, 2006, when he claimed to be the real father of  the late Christina Onassis's daughter, Athina Roussel de Miranda, otherwise known as Athina Onassis.

Harden claims to have impregnated Christina Onassis "at a party in 1984 thrown by Thierry Roussel, the owner of First Model Agency in Paris."

How did that come about? 

Well, supposedly, it involves a rather convoluted scheme on the part of Thierry Roussel, Christina Onassis' husband, the veracity of which you will have to judge for yourself. 

While Harden was in Paris for the Dior show in 1984, Thierry Roussel came looking for "the right candidate" for a "strange plan of his as to what to do with Christina Onassis." It seems, "Thierry did not want to really be with her or conceive a child with" Onassis. 

Why? Because at the time he had a mistress in Sweden, a model named Marianne 'Gaby'  Landhage with whom he had two children. Roussel would eventually leave Onassis and marry Landhage. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. 

Supposedly, Harden, along with 24 other male models, were invited by Roussel, who owned and operated The First Model Agency in Paris, to a private party where Christina Onassis was the only female guest. Supposedly, she took a shine to Harden and the two hooked up that night. 

Onassis comes up pregnant and Roussel suggests, that in order to avoid scandal, she should pay him 30 million to marry her.  

The Onassis/Roussel marriage was not typical, by any means. It is on record that, "Roussel, for his part, insisted that Onassis stay slim to be with him, subjecting her to regular weighing and forced exercise regimes..."  All this yo-yo dieting and a dependency on sleeping pills would lead to Onassis' death at the age of 38, leaving three year-old Athina, now an orphan, her entire fortune, estimated to be between 2.1 and 1 billion.

Of course, Roussel denies all this and, let's face it... while this story would make an excellent thriller, it all seems improbable and the stuff of fiction.

Still, newspapers in Greece ran with the story. 

But - allegedly - that was not the end of Harden's paternity claims... 

Supposedly, according to writer Billy Ingram, Harden made headlines again in 2011 when he claimed to be the biological father of Ashton Kutcher, Josh Harnett, Robbie Williams,  and porn star Brent Corrigan. He also supposedly announced a planned return to gay porn in 2013. Neither of these assertions make any sense, and I believe they can be written off as nothing more than internet rumors. 

In reality, Harden has moved on to greener pastures... of a sort.

Today? He's a professional poker player, using the name Gene O'Leary - which, according to sources, is, in fact, his real name. He also appears to be doing quite well for himself.

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino Tournament, May 2015

And when he's not at the poker table, he (or someone claiming to be him) is threatening bloggers and the like with litigation anytime his name (which is apparently trademarked) is mentioned or an image of him is used in any context.  

It's alleged that this puffing is actually the work of an Eastern Indian gentleman, who goes by the name "Abhyanker, who has attempted to copyright over 800 different names from the past."  

Apparently he has nothing better to do than conduct Google searches and harass unsuspecting bloggers.

Be that as it all may (or may not) be... one thing remains true to this day: one cannot do a search for vintage gay porn stars and not come upon an image of Johnny Harden. 

Whether he likes it or not... Johnny Harden remains a true gay porn icon.

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Excuse me while I go wash my hands. This has been, by far, the sketchiest vintage gay porn star profile I have ever written. 

I would love to think there must be a kernel of truth to some of it, otherwise, why would it exist? But, in this age of misinformation and the internet... all of this could very well be the product of the overactive imaginations of some very peculiar people.  

Still, there are those photos from Harden's days as a Ford For Men model. So, that much we know is true. 

It's a testament to his physical beauty, that he was able to make that leap from the somewhat seedy world of porn to the catwalks of Paris. 

But then, Johnny Harden's been doing the impossible for years. 

I mean, how many of us would love to be able to suck our own dick?

And you know what? If he wants somebody to call him 'daddy?' 

I volunteer.

--- ---

That's all for today.

I hope you enjoyed this brief peek into the world of Johnny Harden.

And... as always, thanks for reading.

Father Figure - George Michael

Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home) - Usher


SickoRicko said...

That's quite a story. I remember him.

whkattk said...

I remember the Honcho and Inches mag spreads. Luscious is what I thought at the time. Still do. But, good for him that he's been able to move on ibn life.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Holy shit!
That is one beautiful, beautiful man! He looks like Richard Gere and Ashton and Sean. And that cock!
The drama, though... it's like Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins got together and decided to plot his life.


Deliciousdeity said...

What a load (of images!). I recall reading Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (by Justin Spring), and hearing mention of Johnny as one of Steward's 'go to' sources of satisfaction in his later years. That was (is?) one attractive looking, albeit unfortunately cut, willy!

Anonymous said...

He has not aged well.
Which one is Chi Chi LaRue? I've only ever seen him in drag.