CHATSWORTH, Calif.—On January 21, at the 2017 AVN Awards Show, AVN Media Network will honor a select group of individuals who have made significant contributions to the adult industry by inducting them into the AVN Hall of Fame.
Performers and directors enter AVN’s original video-based Hall of Fame, and there are other branches in the AVN Hall of Fame as well: a Founders Branch, for those who founded the industry’s pioneering companies; an Internet Founders Branch, for those who built the online sector; a Pleasure Products Branch, for manufacturers, distributors and retailers of sex toys; and the Executive Branch, for key members of the industry who work behind the scenes in the C-suite or excelled in other capacities—for example, in sales, marketing or education.
In all branches, a minimum of 10 years in the industry is required for consideration. And in many cases here, especially in this year’s executive branch, the inductees have seen more than 30 and 40 years during their tenure.
Below you’ll find some information on this year’s inductees. We invite members of the adult industry to join us at a celebratory cocktail party the night before the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo to salute these accomplished individuals. The celebration will take place Tuesday, January 17 at 9 p.m. in the Circle Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. The soiree is open to all AEE and ANE trade attendees.
The 2017 AVN Awards will be hosted by adult stars Riley Reid and Aspen Rae on January 21, 2017. The AVN Awards are sponsored by MyFreeCams and Chaturbate. Fans may purchase 2017 AVN Awards Show general-admission tickets, VIP table seating options, or various special packages. Tickets are available here.
Adult industry tables for the AVN Awards Show are on sale here.
For more information, visit AVN.com/awards.
The AVN Awards Show is the culmination of the AVN Expo, a series of events produced by AVN Media Network at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, beginning with Internext, followed by the AVN Novelty Expo, and the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, and capped off by the AVN Awards Show. For more about AEE, go to AVNShow.com. For more about Internext, go to Internext-Expo.com.
AVN Hall of Fame – Video Branch
One of the most sought-after performers of her generation, Monique Alexander is a former Vivid Girl who started her career in adult in 2001. A stripper in her hometown of Sacramento at age 18, Monique soon began shooting for men’s magazines and started her porn career only doing girl/girl scenes. But that didn’t prevent the gorgeous blonde from being in high demand as she signed an exclusive contract with Sin City in 2001. In January 2002, Monique was a Trophy Girl at the AVN Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. And in late 2004 she became a Vivid Girl, performing in the first boy/girl scene of her career with Rocco Siffredi as part of her Vivid contract. That electric coupling appears in the 2005 movie Lexie & Monique Love Rocco.
She later won the AVN's 2009 Best Couples Sex Scene award for her boy/girl pairing with Mr. Marcus in the Vivid feature Cry Wolf. Her accolades also include Best All-Girl Sex Scene and Best Group Sex Scene, Film from the 2008 AVN Awards. To date she has performed in more than 420 adult films for all the top studios, with credits such as Cheers: A XXX Parody (New Sensations), Not Really... The Dukes of Hazzard: A Hardcore Parody (Vouyer Media), How to Be a Ladies Man (Zero Tolerance Entertainment), Sporty Girls 3 (Elegant Angel Productions), Debbie Does Dallas Again (Vivid); and numerous titles for Brazzers.
Monique over the years has enjoyed numerous mainstream crossover opportunities, such as making cameo appearances as a porn star on the TV show Entourage and in the 2009 movie Crank: High Voltage; and acting in B-movies on HBO and Cinemax. In addition, Alexander has appeared on Conan O'Brien’s show and Oprah; had a stint as a sports reporter on the National Lampoon Radio comedy show; hosted her own Vivid Radio show; and also represented the adult industry in a debate during Sex Week at Yale University.
Mick Blue, a 16-year veteran stud from Graz, Austria, is the two-time and current reigning AVN Male Performer of the Year with more than 2,000 movie credits and counting. In January 2016, Blue became the sixth man in adult film history to win the top performing honor in porn more than once, joining Manuel Ferrara, Lexington Steele, James Deen, Rocco Siffredi and Tom Byron. In 2015, Blue and his wife, Anikka Albrite, earned the distinction of being the first married couple to ever win the AVN Male and Female Performer of the Year Awards in the same year.
Known for his legendary reliability, commitment to professionalism and always energetic performances, Blue has long been a favorite among his female co-stars and directors alike. He has also won more than a dozen AVN Awards for sex scenes, placing him in the same elite class as the greatest adult film stars of all time.
The busiest man in show biz also works as a producer and director with more than 230 directing credits for studios such as Zero Tolerance, Third Degree, Elegant Angel (under the name Grazer) and BAM Visions, the studio he co-founded in 2015 with Albrite and Maestro Claudio, which is distributed by Evil Angel. Blue has performed in two reverse gangbang movies for BAM, titled Mick Blue’s Best Day Ever 1 & 2 (2016); and one for Zero Tolerance: Mick Blue Is One Lucky Bastard (2014).
President of Stuart Canterbury Productions for 30 years, director Stuart Canterbury has been making adult movies since 1985. He made a name for himself helming the Scandals series for Scandinavian Erotic Video Productions and went on to direct for a variety of studios, including Adam & Eve, Brazzers, Penthouse, VCA, Legend and Video Marc Dorcel.
Canterbury’s credits, over 300 to date, include Masquerade, Africa Rising, Sirens, In the Flesh, Flesh Dance. His most recent hits are the string of parodies he created for Hustler Video, which have earned multiple AVN Award nominations. These include Republican Candidate Wife Swap, This Ain’t Die Hard XXX. This Ain’t Jaws XXX, This Ain’t Boardwalk Empire XXX.
He has degrees from the Alliance Francaise in Paris, Rhodes University in South Africa and UCLA and is fluent in French, Spanish, Dutch and Afrikaans. He is also a successful author, most recently of the novel Turning Blue, “about what really happens on an X-rated movie set.”
Cassidey appeared in the very first volume of Hustler Video’s flagship series Barely Legal as Bobbie Adore, performing a lesbian scene with Dayton Rains. The same year—1999—she catalogued standout turns in such banner lines as Shane’s World, offshoots Pornological and Slumber Party, Anabolic Video’s Nasty Girls and Nasty Nymphos, Diabolic Video’s Lewd Conduct, and Video Team’s No Man’s Land.
It wasn’t long before Vivid Entertainment took notice of this 18-year-old dynamo, who during her first year also worked under names including Paisley Adams and Annie Bunz before settling on Cassidey, and in 2000, the porn giant signed her on as a Vivid Girl, catapulting her into the stratosphere of bona fide superstardom.
Cassidey took a hiatus from the business in the mid-2000s, but returned in 2006 to much fanfare, making a string of movies with Vivid before moving on to shoot for more hardcore companies such as Evil Angel, Brazzers and Zero Tolerance Entertainment.
In late 2007, she signed a short-lived contract with Ninn Worx during which she appeared in owner Michael Ninn’s magnum opus The Four. The following year she appeared before the lens of Ninn contemporary Andrew Blake in his House Pets.
Cassidey’s most recent adult credit was 2015’s Cougar and Kitten Tales from Penthouse/Bizarre Video, in which she was paired in a girl/girl scene with MILF performer Janet Mason.
As many porn starlets do, Cassidey got her turn in the music video spotlight, opposite Enrique Iglesias in his 2000 video “Sad Eyes,” directed by David LaChappelle, which garnered controversy for its portrayal of Iglesias seemingly frolicking nude with the brunette siren in a see-through bathtub.
Rinse Dream is a name not often heard in adult anymore, since his last adult film, Untamed Cowgirls of the Wild West 2, was in 1993. But the seven films he contributed to the adult video canon, beginning with Café Flesh, are all considered classics of adult artistry. Dream, who outed himself a couple of years ago as filmmaker Stephen Sayadian, got his start in adult in the mid-1970s, when he began working for a then-new publication, Hustler magazine. Owner Larry Flynt hired Sayadian to create parodies of everyday products like Liquid Paper, Alka-Seltzer, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix and Marlboro cigarettes, then moved him into creating actual (if humorous) ads for sex toys.
But by 1982, Sayadian had decided to push his own artistic boundaries, pitching the post-apocalyptic movie Café Flesh to VCA Pictures owner Russ Hampshire. The movie was shot in a loft on Hollywood Boulevard near the Pussycat Theater and included, in a bit part, a then-little-known mainstream comic, Richard Belzer. Sayadian was also one of the first adult directors to secure a soundtrack from a mainstream band, Wall of Voodoo, for his Nightdreams 2—and for whom Sayadian did the top-notch art direction for their music video Mexican Radio.
But Sayadian tired of adult filmmaking, so he continued working for Hustler, and eventually segued into mainstream, becoming the production designer for the first season of the detective series Silk Stalkings. As of 2014, he was said to be working on a new hardcore feature, but if true, it has yet to be released.
When a comprehensive history of the adult entertainment industry is written, Kelly Holland will have a prominent place—and rightly so. Holland started out as a documentary filmmaker, intending to chronicle, among other topics, the early ’90s adult industry, in Porn in the USA. But documentaries weren't making much money in those days, so Holland paid the rent by editing actual adult movies for Vivid Entertainment. She did such a good job for them, even fixing continuity errors and calling attention to other problems, that the company offered her a directing job in 1994. Under the name "Toni English," Holland directed 150 movies, mainly for Vivid and Adam & Eve, between 1994 and 2005, in the process founding her first adult company, Chick Media. But Holland felt the need to expand her horizons, and in 2006, she joined Penthouse Video and began directing features for them (and a few for Wicked Pictures) under her own name.
At about that time, dating/hook-up site AdultFriendFinder had purchased Penthouse Global Media, and they brought Holland in to develop their broadcast division, a service she'd recently been doing for the Playgirl brand. The early days of the relationship with Penthouse could charitably be described as rocky, but shortly thereafter, Holland was given executive producer duties over broadcast, and was eventually made the division's president. Fast-forward 10 years, and Holland had bought the assets of Penthouse, including the magazine, broadcast division and its websites, from FriendFinder, and today, she is CEO and owner of Penthouse Global Media, Inc. She was also recently nominated to the board of the industry trade group Free Speech Coalition.
When Steve Holmes shot his first scene in November 1996, at age 35, he was embarking on his third career. As a teenage school dropout in Germany, he started working at a fashion store, and worked his way up to assistant buyer for seven stores. In 1985, he found a second career at a computer show in Munich. "It was a new thing. At the computer show, I saw a sign: We are looking for sales representatives. I said, 'I don't know anything about computers but I can sell. I'm in fashion, and buying and selling is my job.' Two weeks later I signed a contract and January 1, 1986, I started to work in IT."
He didn't use a stage name for his third career until a reporter needed one for a story: "He asked me what my stage name was and I said I didn’t have one. He suggested Steve Holmes because I was really skinny, and tall, with a big dick, and he said I reminded him of John Holmes. 'You could be his young brother or cousin.'"
Holmes started working for American companies in Europe in 1999, and came to the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in 2002. The trip paid off with work in the U.S.. Along with performing, he has produced and directed for companies including Bang Bros, Evil Angel, Legend Video and Red Light District, and since 2015 he has been exclusive producer and director of the Public Disgrace website for Kink.com.
"I've shot in Chile, in Brazil, Canada, Israel, Turkey, 21 different countries. I estimate 2,500 scenes. I just hope it continues as long as possible and I enjoy it so much more than at the beginning," Holmes told AVN. "I loved it from the first moment, but right now there's a new breed of female talent coming who grew up with porn on the Internet. They know what they're doing, they want to do it, and a lot of them grew up with my stuff."
Sara Jay worked her way through college in her teens as a house dancer, studying psychology by day and stripping by night. She moved to Las Vegas to continue in adult entertainment and shot her first scene in 2001. "The first released scene I did was titled 18 and Eager," she recalled in her blog. "Well, at least half of that was true …" Her IAFD page lists 429 titles, including comps and web scenes.
She has described herself growing up as "a tomboy. A bit of a nerd. Very mature. Think Darlene from the Roseanne show."
Asked in a 2014 interview about the reason for her success, she said, "Part of it is my longevity. I also don’t limit myself in the work that I do. I do interracial, BBW stuff, fetish stuff, so I’m pretty much done everything imaginable. I think it’s because I’ve done a little of every genre in adult, including feature dancing. This is a business and I’ve been able to be really successful in it. I think I also attribute it to the fact that I just love sex.”
She now heads her own production company, Sara Jay's Wyde Syde. "Wyde Syde loves to promote other talent that are driven and motivated. It's great that I get to do the casting. I can be in front of the camera, behind the camera, I can do lights. I can run the whole set, do editing, all by myself. I don’t think there’s much more I can do. When I get to the point where I want to see myself naked less I’ll probably spend more time behind the camera. In the next ten to 15 years I might not want to see myself naked."
In the adult game since 2004, Tory Lane was originally scouted in Florida by none other than adult star Peter North. She flew out to California and signed with the then-new agency LA Direct Models. But though she spent time in Florida, Lane is actually a New Yorker at heart. Born in Schenectady in upstate New York, she has since moved back to her home state.
Once in L.A., Lane got off to a red-hot start, shooting more than 30 titles with a wide array of studios in 2005 and also adding feature dance gigs to her repertoire. Known for her fierce performing style, she’s credited with 665 scenes on IAFD.com, covering pretty much the gamut of adult entertainment: full-on gonzo, fetish, femdom, as well as roles in major features, including Speed and 2040 (Wicked), for the latter of which she won an AVN Award for Best Group Sex Scene in 2010. She also picked up an AVN Award the previous year for Best POV Sex Scene, recognizing her work in Double Vision 2 (Jules Jordan Video). She also had a stint behind the camera in 2006 to 2008, directing for Sin City.
A dozen years into her career, Lane said, “I still get excited. Like, ‘We’re doing this, we’re going to have sex! Look at these new toys we have, and this new outfit!’ And I get excited about working with somebody who’s excited about working with me.”
Mandingo, a former communications major in college, got into the industry with the idea of mixing African history and sex, choosing his stage name as an homage to that approach. He later decided the name of his studio brand should be Fred Nice since many people like to use his actual name, Fred, along with Mandingo.
Intrigued with the industry from watching Playboy’s Night Calls and their cable videos in the ’90s, as well as seeing Hustler magazines and an early sex scene starring black pioneer Ray Victory, Mandingo in 1998 decided to go for it. After completing a few successful productions, he emailed various companies some of his on-set photos, and the rest, one could say, is part of porn history.
Now widely considered one of the top performers of all time and packing one of the biggest dicks in porn, the humble super stud originally from Mississippi has amassed almost 500 movie credits as a performer and another 57 as a director. He won the 2014 AVN Award for Best Boy/Girl Sex Scene for Mandingo Massacre 6 with Riley Reid. Soft-spoken and thoughtful, Mandingo likens performing to sports, music and acting, saying “focus” is key. His credits include scores of titles for Jules Jordan Video, West Coast Productions and Dogfart Network.
Daisy Marie grew up in East Los Angeles and went to school in North Hills. According to her, she was "a tomboy; I was into sports; I was the little ugly duckling" in her youth. She shot her first scene soon after her 18th birthday.
Looking back on her career in a July 2016 interview, Daisy Marie said, "I shot for 11 years. I look back on it and see the stages of my life. There weren't many Latin girls in the industry when I started. It was mainly the blonde with the big boobs that got the contracts. Slowly but surely it got more Asian and Latin." She says she was selective with the work she did: "I learned that if you get into the industry and you shoot everything that everyone wants you to shoot, you get overshot and you don't get work a year later. For a year I shot boy/girl, and then I'd take a break from that for six months and only shoot girl/girl."
Daisy Marie has 459 credits listed on Internet Adult Film Database, including comps and web scenes. She was Penthouse magazine Pet of the Month in June 2008, also appearing on the cover of that issue, and was featured in the Cinemax series Co-Ed Confidential and Jenna's American Sex Star on Playboy TV. In 2009, she received a FAME Award for “Favorite Underrated Star."
She stopped shooting new scenes in 2010, but remains active as a feature dancer. "I always wanted to have a relationship; that's one of the reasons why I stopped. I wanted to be in a relationship, I wanted to get married, I wanted to have kids. Being a performer and not dating in the industry, it doesn't work out. Other people that date in the industry, it works out perfectly because they're on the same page."
Aurora Snow entered the industry in 2000, at age 18, fresh out of Santa Maria, California, beginning like many starlets as an Ed Powers "Dirty Debutante." Her sweet face, screen presence and eagerness to throw herself into the more extreme forms of sex performing (two XRCO awards for Best Threeway Sex Scene, one for Best Group Scene) gained her a considerable reputation.
In 2003 Snow was honored as Female Performer of the Year at the AVN Awards. Between 2003 and 2005 she worked as a contract director for Sin City, helming their Assploitations line.
She quit performing in 2011, with more than 600 titles to her credit, from all the major studios. She then turned to writing as a means of self-expression, forging a successful career as a free-lance journalist. Her credits include a column for the popular news site The Daily Beast. She has spoken on sex-related topics at Harvard Law School and other colleges, proving that there is indeed life after porn.
For 15 years Charmane Star has been high on the list of favorite Asian-American porn performers, and one of the few Filipino-Americans to achieve stardom in the adult industry. Born in the Philippines, she grew up in California and after high school in Sacramento turned to print modeling. In 1998 at the age of 19, she landed in Porn Valley and rapidly became one of the industry’s most sought-after starlets after early exposure in Randy West’s Up and Cummers.
Petite (five-feet tall) and super-pretty, she was a fixture in such ethnic series as Asian Fever, Asia Noir, Asian Street Hookers, Invasian, and United Colors of Ass. Her credits stand at around 300 titles. In the last few years she has won parts in independent films such as Black Dynamite and Face of Evil, as well as guest appearances in several cable network series.
The circle tattoo on her right shoulder, simple yet unforgettable, has become one of the porn’s most beloved emblems.
Mark Stone, who passed away December 1, 2016 from liver cancer at age 61, debuted in adult in 1982 as a salesman before going on to a prolific producing and directing career—much of which was with couples-friendly juggernaut Wicked Pictures. But what Stone became best known for wasn’t his work behind the camera, it was what he did on stage at the AVN Awards Show as the leader of the AVN Orchestra.
A gifted musician who played electric guitar, this native of Rochester, N.Y. was the musical director and producer of the AVN Awards since its inception. He not only worked behind the scenes on the production, he became a signature part of the live show as the charismatic leader of the band. Stone was one of the original creative forces behind the AVN Awards Show, along with AVN founder Paul Fishbein and executive producer Gary Miller, who is Mark’s younger brother. The trio built what started out as a corporate event in the 1980s into the entertainment show it is today, known around the world as the premier adult industry awards ceremony.
An accomplished videographer and director, Stone helmed 100-plus adult films during his 26-year career behind the camera, directing more than 50 movies for Wicked dating back to 1995. He shot 12 volumes of Wicked’s Hook-ups series (2002-06) and six editions of Reform School Girls (2006-10). His most recent title that hit the streets in April was the all-girl Bad Girls Boot Camp. In addition he co-founded the gonzo studio Moonlight Entertainment in the ’90s, producing and directing more than 40 titles, including nine volumes of Radical Affairs (1992-95), a never-before-seen "magazine" video series, and two volumes of Moonlight's Sex Trek series (1990-95). In recent years Stone also performed with the porn biz rock band Gangbang, which featured Evan Stone (vocals), Barrett Blade (bass) and Dale DaBone (drums) jamming at various adult industry parties. Stone’s flair for comedy came through in some of his campy porn movies as well as the dozens of comedy bits he produced for the AVN Awards Show.
A former high school history teacher from San Antonio, Texas, Christian XXX has forged an audacious career for himself as one of the most controversial figures in adult entertainment since entering the business in 2003.
First recruited by legendary director Chi Chi La Rue to work in the gay sector as a contract performer for Falcon Studios under the name Maxx Diesel, Christian moved into the straight and trans arenas beginning in 2004, and has worked steadily in both ever since, racking up a number of AVN Awards and nominations along the way, including a Male Performer of the Year nod in 2014.
Due to his fearless abandon about shooting virtually any and every type of scene imaginable, Christian has long polarized the talent community, something about which he’s been unapologetically and loudly outspoken via social media and his blog Christian Sings the Blues. The name of the latter, launched in 2008 and still occasionally updated, was intended as a self-deprecating joke—he explained at the time, “I complain about my life where I get laid every day and make good money and only work about four hours.”
Prominent on Christian's résumé is his work with Naughty America; he performed in over 400 scenes for them and was their main director for two and half years, during which he directed over 600 scenes. These days, Christian devotes the majority of his time and effort to running his own portfolio of websites, which includes Pure-TS.com, Pure-BBW.com, Pure-XXX.com and most recent addition TSPOV.com, which debuted in October.
When AVN Media Network added the Executive Branch of the AVN Hall of Fame, it opened up a whole new field of adult industry stalwarts who could be recognized for their achievements in the business and their years of vital service. And few have served for longer than Joe Dambrosio, affectionately known as Joe D. by his co-workers at General Video of America. This year, Joe D. celebrated his 45th year at GVA—a stretch of time that has taken him through pretty much every form of adult entertainment—from 8mm film through Beta and VHS, and then into the era of DVDs, laser discs, Blu-ray and HD.
“Joe has been the media warehouse manager for the majority of his years with GVA,” said Rondee Kamins of GVA. “He is as passionate and proud of the job he does today as he was 45 years ago when he started with us. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear him say ‘DVD is not dead!’ and he truly believes it.”
During his time in the business, Joe D. has known many of the top stars, among them Ginger Lynn, Selena Steele, Tori Welles and Jenna Jameson. His closest friends were the fathers of the adult industry: Reuben Sturman, Mel Kamins, Russ Hampshire and Larry Fields, to name a few of the heavy hitters.
Another thing that stands out about Joe D. is how deeply he’s appreciated by his co-workers, who value his dedication, his knowledge of the adult industry, and his loyalty. According to them, these attributes are “unfortunately lost on most of today’s generation, who jump from company to company and have no idea what the definition of allegiance is.”
A 33-year veteran in adult, Danny Gorman has seen it all—or at least sold it all. And his own story is pretty much a history of adult entertainment. Gorman got into the biz in 1983 after 15 years on the road as a musician, working with England Dan and John Ford Coley, Patti LaBelle, Little Richard and Juice Newton. His first job was at Adult Video Corporation (AVC) with Fred Hirsch, working in the warehouse with Hirsch’s son—way before Steven Hirsch launched Vivid Entertainment. Back then the industry was moving from 8mm to VHS, and a big title might rake in $1 million in sales. At Gorman’s first AVN show, Traci Lords was one of the big stars; months later, AVC had to destroy anything that featured Lords, who had worked underage with a fake ID.
From AVC he went to CalVista, where he worked from 1987 to 1993—an era that saw the rise of the Meese Commission and many obscenity arrests in Porn Valley. In 1990, they came to CalVista. “I opened up the door and, bam, three FBI guys grabbed me,” Gorman recalled. “They came in there with Uzis.”
Next Gorman was recruited by Steve Hirsch to work at Vivid as their top salesman Howard Levine’s assistant. When Vivid co-founder David James moved into DVD sales, Gorman went with him, selling the very first DVD, Bobby Sox, in 1997 to a mainstream company called DVD Empire. “I called Jeff Rix and I told him, ‘We have the first adult DVD. It’s got multiple camera angles and everything. You should sell it.’” So Rix took five copies, and then called back the next day to order fifty more.
The next two stops for Gorman were first Metro and then Sin City. Studios back then were selling both DVD and VHS, and sales were skyrocketing. But there was one ambition Gorman had not fulfilled: to have his own company. In 2007, working with Jerry E. of Juicy Entertainment, he started up Dirty Laundry, which now has a catalog of 50 titles. And though the days of sky-high sales ended with the 2008 recession and the rise of free porn, Gorman’s still out there selling. And according to him, if you put out the right product—among the examples he gives are Kelly Madison, BellaPass and Teen Erotica—people will still buy it.
It seems like Jeff Steward has been in XXX forever—or at least since shortly after he became an adult, and began selling videos for various adult producers, the most recent of which was Zane Entertainment Group before he founded his own production company in 1994, JM Productions, the "M" standing for Mike, his real first name. Steward realized that there was money to be made by marketing niche videos, and he pursued that course with a vengeance, creating such titles as DP Grannies, the Perverted Stories series, the Violation of ... series, the urination-oriented Liquid Gold series, and perhaps his most (in)famous, American Bukkake, most of which were shot by his longtime associate Jim Powers. But Steward's innovations came at a price: Obscenity indictments in the early 2000s by Los Angeles County for two titles (one of them Liquid Gold), and in 2006 by a federal grand jury in Phoenix for four titles, though JM was dropped from the case before trial began for the movies' distributor, Five Star Video.
"A lot of the stuff when we started were either features or amateurs," Powers remembered. "You were just getting this new wave of companies that were getting into gonzo and the stuff like Jeff-Mike was putting out, and they were cutting edge. Jeff would come up with a concept and let me go wild, do whatever I wanted."
But as web content began to take over, Steward found it more and more difficult to justify funding new features on DVD, and when he left the company in 2010, JM was mostly releasing compilations of the older material. Steward currently operates a chain of adult novelty stores in the central California area.
A native of Hungary, Heatwave Video founder Gabor Szabo (aka Gabor Esterhazy) entered the adult industry in 1987, when he moved to Los Angeles and began buying and selling adult videotapes. In 1988 he started his first adult company, United Video, and three years later he produced his first movie, Girls in the Hood, under the Heatwave Video banner.
Realizing from his experience selling direct to consumers that the market needed more ethnic content, Szabo focused on black performers in such series as Black Jack City and Rumpshaker. Also produced by Heatwave were titles directed by Monique, an African American star. Heatwave also mined other popular niches, including the MILF and midget genres (including, in the latter, Somewhere Under the Rainbow and Itsy Bitsy Gangbang), and released titles under various imprints, including Pearl Productions, Onyxxx Video, Heatwave Raw and Aftershock.
In 2003, he pushed to more hard-edged content and brought on new directors. Another big move for Heatwave came in 2012, when the company partnered with Pimproll to launch the membership site HeatwavePass.com.
Heatwave grew along with the industry, adding another facet in 2013 with the creation of Impulse Novelties. A manufacturer of attractive, high-end vibrators and other pleasure products, Impulse offers various product ranges, including the fashionable Closet Collection, designed to appeal to female sensibilities. In 2015, Impulse Novelties was named Best Pleasure Product Manufacturer - Medium at the AVN Awards Show.
INTERNET FOUNDERS BRANCH
Gyorgy Gattyan is the founder and owner of Docler Holding, the parent company of live-cam heavyweight Live Jasmin. The Hungarian business mogul is also known for being a producer and the benefactor of several charities. Gattyan sits atop a global tech empire that encompasses business interests in information technology developments, streaming technology, website design and operation, domain registration, online payment services, game software development, film and TV program production, as well as the distribution of exclusive high-end fashion labels. Jasmin.com, founded in 2001, is widely regarded as a world leader in online webcam streaming technology. In addition to his business achievements, Gattyan is a prolific philanthropist, having made notable donations to several foundations and associations which support cultural, science, sports and environmental protection. His company today employs more than 1,000 worldwide with offices in Los Angeles, Luxembourg and Hungary.
Michael Reul is the CEO of TrafficPartner.com Group, the umbrella brand for numerous blue-chip performance products and companies that combined account for one of the largest international footprints in the adult industry. Reul’s path started in his early 20s, when he developed and sold software for HR departments. In 1998 he started his first affiliate program, SexMoney.com, based on a concept he developed with his friend Richard at an IA2000/AVN trade show in Miami. By 2006 he had launched Affaire.com, his first product in the dating vertical, and the following year created AmateurCommunity in a more specific format. Also in 2007, he launched Webbilling and BillingPartner, which reflect a dual brand strategy; Webbilling is focused on the adult segment while BillingPartner caters to mainstream. In the 10 years that have followed, Reul & Co. have made strategic acquisitions as well as rolled out a diverse range of products across multiple digital platforms with an eye on innovation.
Now with close to 400 employees, the Berlin, Germany-based operation has been in business for almost two decades with additional offices in Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Reul is credited with creating one of the world’s first mobile affiliate programs, which started out in 2009 with the acquisition of Carmunity but was later renamed SexGoesMobile (SGM) with a total turnaround of the business model. The company also publishes AWMPro Magazine, which is read by thousands of affiliates/webmasters three times per year. A venture capitalist who founded AdultVentures in 2016, his suite of products includes SGMPro.com, DatingPartner.com, DigitalPerformance.de and many others.
Jim McBride aka Mr. Skin
Jim McBride, known worldwide as the notorious Mr. Skin, turned his teenage hobby into a digital media empire. The native of Chicago is the founder of MrSkin.com, the world’s foremost authority on celebrity nudity. McBride’s brand name is now a pop-culture fixture with 10 million unique visitors every month who come to experience the site's cast library of sexy celebrity content, including more than 20,000 actress bios, 30,000 movie and TV show reviews and more than 200,000 pictures and videos. A former runner and clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for six years, McBride had become a local celebrity from his regular guest appearances on various radio shows when in 1998 he was approached at the celebrity softball game he was umpiring to start the Mr. Skin website. So he raised $70,000 with two $35,000 loans and hired a web developer. MrSkin.com went live in 1999 and the rest is the stuff of T&A legend.
A popular guest on Howard Stern’s radio show, with more than two dozen guest stints, McBride gained even more notoriety for MrSkin.com in the summer of 2006, when he was approached by the attorney for Paramount Pictures, who told him the director of The 40-Year-Old-Virgin wanted to use his website in his next movie, Knocked Up. That product placement turned into a full scene in Knocked Up, which did $250 million at the box office in summer of 2007 and has since been shown at least 5,000 times on various cable networks. MrSkin.com in 2017 is entering its 18th year and now more than 40 people work at its parent, SK Intertainment. Along the way the company has acquired complementary brands, including "What Would Tyler Durden Do" (WWTDD.com), LastMenOnEarth.com and Fleshbot. Mr. Skin’s offshoots include Naked News and Mr. Man.
For the inductees in the AVN Hall of Fame - Pleasure Products Branch, see separate story here on AVN.com.