Porn Star Harry Reems RIP; Was Jailed as a Goodfella

Reems was just one of the boys back then.
The NYTimes.com, among hundreds of other newspapers, ran an obit on Harry Reems, who supposedly was America’s first male porn star following his taking part in the 1972 porn classic “Deep Throat.”

In true porn star fashion, he died last Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah, at age 65 -- with the cause of undetermined. "Mr. Reems had been in declining health for some years, his wife, Jeanne, said," in the Times article.

Interestingly, the release this July of “Lovelace,” a biographical film about the female lead of the hit skin flick, will star Adam Brody as Reems.

What I never knew was that Reems had been arrested for organized crime activity related to the film, which many know today was financed by the Colombo crime family.

He was convicted "on federal conspiracy charges," the article relates.

Reems’s was originally hired to be the lighting director of the film -- but then the original male lead -- his name seems lost to history -- had to pull out, and Reems stepped right in.

The film was widely reported to have grossed more than $600 million -- though it was probably far more than that.But Reems, and other key players involved with the film, which was a "mob" production, were lucky to receive anything. Reems was paid about $250, the article reports.


Reems was arrested in 1974 in New York by federal agents. "The next year he and 11 others, many of them organized crime figures, were tried in federal court in Memphis on charges of conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines," the Times reports.

During the trial, Mr. Reems began drinking heavily, which caused serious health problems later in life which likely contributed to his dying at a relatively young age.

"Represented on appeal by Alan M. Dershowitz, Mr. Reems had his conviction set aside by a federal judge in 1977," the Times reports.

Linda Lovelace, the star of the show, also died prematurely, in 2002, at age 53, "of injuries sustained in a car accident," the article said.

Death in fact was closely linked to "Deep Throat" even back in the days when it was still running in local theaters -- thanks to the involvement of the Colombos, initially in the form of the Peraino family, which included a member and associates of the legendary New York crime family.

As we related in another post, the Perainos, back in the early 1970s, were trying to eke a living from pushing porno. The Perainos filled their coffers and passed up a piece from their production and distribution of cheapo adult films, which prior to home video, were played in dirty, nasty, sticky floored, dimly lit film theaters in the form of cheaply made "loops."

Remember how New York's Time's Square used to be? That's the scene we're talking about here.

Anyway, all of a sudden the film "Deep Throat" practically fell onto their prodigious laps thanks to a creative hairdresser who had written the comedic porno script, even finding for it the perfect actress, as time would tell -- Linda Lovelace -- and he filmed the entire thing in a week by himself, with financing, about $20 large, coming from the Perainos, who decided to finance the film after Lovelace gave the two piggies a demo of her sexual skill set.

The hairdresser/filmmaker got only about $22 grand for his efforts, which he humbly accepted, thankful to be left alive, according to his son. But his film earned anywhere from tens to hundred of millions of dollars for the Perainos, who paid their crime family as well.

Only they didn't pay enough and it ended up costing them their lives. And a nun's. Well, almost.

Long story short: Colombo family soldier Joseph Peraino, Jr., and his father Joseph, Sr., made off with most of the profits, because Joe Sr.'s brother split for Italy just as "Deep Throat" was becoming a super hit at the onset of the trial, sparked down in the Bible Belt due to all the long lines in front of those mainstreet theaters showing the film. Ultimately "Deep Throat" won -- and got to continue its run, bolstered by all the media attention.

Feds claim that on Jan. 4, 1982, a Colombo hit team armed to the teeth with heavy weaponry blew away the doomed Perainos, first trapping the two in the large, enclosed front porch of a house on Lake Street in Grave's End, Brooklyn, carefully chosen by the hit team.

Accidentally shotgunned during the hit was a social worker/former nun named Veronica Zuraw, 53 when she died, court papers say.

According to The Wiseguy and the Nun - a story in The Village Voice, Ms Zuraw was shot in the head while busy putting away laundry.

Joseph Peraino, Jr., was found dead outside the Lake Street home.

Jr's father, however, survived due to the hundreds of pounds of fat ensconcing his body, making for what was actually his second survival -- he also lived through a previous attempt on his life. So Peraino, Sr., lived but was left paralyzed, feds say.

Feds were given details of the case by former mobster-turned informant Sal Miciotta, who was one of the shooters but also claimed to have designed the hit.

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