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Born: 1928-08-04 / Leo
Birth Place: New York, NY, US
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Caucasian
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Gerard Damiano's Biography

Early years

Gerard Damiano wrote and produced "Deep Throat," the most notorious and successful pornographic film of all time. But before he became the legend he is today, Damiano was just your average kid growing up in the Bronx, New York City. As a young boy he shined shoes in Times Square and worked as a busboy in an automat. The day of his 17th birthday, Damiano joined the United States Navy, enlisting for four years. After his service was complete, he studied x-ray technology on the G.I. Bill and was an x-ray technician at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York. Later, he opened a hairdressing salon in New York with a friend.

A Budding Talent

Damiano frequently overheard sexual gossip at the salon and was soon convinced that if porn were designed to appeal to couples, it would be a commercial success. An avid amateur photographer, Damiano would photograph weddings and other social events for friends. But it wasn't until his accountant introduced him to a producer of low budget horror films that Damiano became interested in filmmaking. He began helping out on set and went on to work as a crew member on numerous New York sexploitation films in the late 1960's.

A Star is Born

In 1972, Damiano wrote and directed his first feature film, "Deep Throat," starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. "Deep Throat" is widely regarded as pioneering, and its success is credited with helping to launch the modern adult entertainment industry. The film showed at a theatre in Times Square and was one of the first hardcore films to reach a wide general audience. Everyone from average American film goers to famous celebrities attended the film. The news media often referred to the film as "Porno Chic."

Damiano was at first surprised by the success of the film. He assumed that once people's curiosity had been satisfied, audiences would not necessarily come back for more. "Deep Throat" was damned by religious groups, decried by feminists, defended by First Amendment advocates, derided by critics and debated by social scientists. It trudged through local and federal courts for years on obscenity charges, in which time it was banned, unbanned, and re-banned. The constant controversy only served to enhance public interest in the film. In an interview with Roger Ebert in 1974, Damiano had this to say about the film's success, "I find pornography by itself to be boring on the screen. The only thing that perpetuates it is censorship; people like to feel they're being slightly daring to go to a hard-core flick. But sexual intercourse does not lend itself to cinematography."

One year later in 1974, Damiano directed the now infamous film, "The Devil in Miss Jones," another success story for the budding director. This film made the Variety list of the top ten highest grossing pictures of the year, racking up $7.7 million for the first year. Right alongside it was "Deep Throat" in its second year on the list, just missing the top 10 and landing at #11 on the list. "Deep Throat" grossed $4.6 million in its second year and was more successful than a mainstream film, "Sleuth," which featured Oscar nominated performances by Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

After the Dust Settled

While "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones" are the two films that Damiano is known for, they are by no means his only contribution to adult entertainment. In fact, he directed more than 50 adult films over the course of his career and is one of the seminal directors of what is known as The Golden Age of Porn. And while he was busy directing his now infamous films, Damiano often appeared in his films in small, non-sexual roles. He used various aliases including Albert Gork, Al Gork, Jerry Gerard, and D. Furred.

The fervor around "Deep Throat" was renewed in 2005, more than thirty years after its initial release. It became the subject of a documentary, "Inside Deep Throat," in which Damiano agreed to be interviewed. Decades old controversies surrounding the ever changing personal accounts of abuse suffered by Linda Lovelace were addressed in the documentary. Damiano was forthcoming about his opinions regarding the controversy and gave his firsthand account of what actually occurred all those years before.

Amid seemingly constant controversy, court mandated banning of his most famous film, and the making of dozens of additional adult films, Damiano became one of the most well known directors in the adult entertainment industry. He has been nominated for several awards and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Movie Production award in 2008. His career helped to change the public's opinion on pornographic pictures and opened the door for the evolution of the industry to grow and become what it is today. He is a true pioneer and one of the industry's biggest champions.

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