Holmes In 1983 Hustler Interview & 1983 Playboy Article
I was aware of the Playboy article in 1983, but I did not know about the Hustler interview which Jill mentioned over the weekend. I found part of it and am trying to find the rest.
There is also that elusive Playboy article from the same year. I was going to surprise everyone with a post but I have never found it. The April, 1983 Playboy article about Holmes and the murders seems like it would be similar to the 1989 Rolling Stone piece by Mike Sager. I am not sure if it’s an interview and I cannot find anything but the magazine cover. I have been looking for months, and the best I can do is order all 12 issues from 1983 on eBay. No thanks. I’ll forget they are in the garage, and down the road my next girlfriend will find them. Never fails.
Let me know if you locate the Playboy article online…or some scans of it…etc.
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This is part of Barbara Wilkins’ interview with John Holmes in the June 1983 issue of Hustler.
Hustler: What about homosexuals?
Holmes: Because nearly 50% of my audience is gay, I made one 8mm, 15 minute loop specifically directed at the gay market. The film found its audience. It sold 3 million copies. In it a guy went down on me. I couldn’t keep my erection. I’m a slut with no sexual morals at all, but I’ve never had the urge for a man. I’ve never had a cock in my mouth. But who knows? – I’m not dead yet.
CAUTION: THIS INTERVIEW DOES CONTAIN PROFANITY.
To passing motorists the two-bedroom home seemed as inconspicuous as hundreds
of other stucco dwellings in Los Angeles’ rustic Laurel Canyon. But to those who knew
occupants at 8763 Wonderland Avenue – three drug dealers and two visitors who
together were spending $6,000 a day on heroin, cocaine and various uppers and
downers – it was a sure place to score a wide variety of illegal substances. At all hours
of the day the house seemed to be swarming with buyers and sellers. Some were
welcome, like porn-movie star John Holmes, who at the time had a $1,000-a-day
cocaine habit. Others weren’t welcome at all, like those who passed through in the
early hours of July 1, 1981, leaving behind four battered bodies and one savagely
In the following week a strange tale of retribution and revenge emerged. Two days
before the murders a robbery had taken place a few minutes’ drive from 8763
Wonderland, at the lavish home of Eddie Nash, a local nightclub owner and reputed
drug dealer, Nash had been born Adel Nasrallah of Arab patents in Palestine, a part of
the world where pride and honor rank high and human life ranks very low. Police
conjectured that the killings were in retaliation for the robbery, during which a gun
accidentally went off and creased the side of Nash’s 300-pound black bodyguard,
Gregory Diles, and Nash dropped to his knees to pray for his life.
Information received by law enforcement officers led them to the conclusion that the
connection between the two Laurel Canyon residences was John Holmes. They were
told that it was Holmes who had set up the robbery at Eddie Nash’s home and that he
had also led the murderers back to the death house on Wonderland Avenue.
To give Holmes an incentive to cooperate with the police, Los Angeles District
Attorney John Van de Kamp offered him immunity from prosecution and protection if
he would reveal all he knew about the murders. Although Holmes’ statement
exonerating Nash did not satisfy the police, he was still released.
Those few days were troubling ones for Holmes. His address books had been
confiscated by people who threatened to murder members of his family, friends and
business associates if he told what he knew. He was shot at twice. Clearly, it was time
for a change of scenery. With his girlfriend and his Chihuahua, Thor, Holmes jumped
into his old Chevrolet Malibu and disappeared.
Five months later Holmes was lying in bed watching a Gilligan’s Island rerun in his
room at the Miami, Florida, motel where he had been working as a construction laborer
and handyman. Suddenly, members of the local SWAT team and two L.A. Police
Department detectives burst through the door and took him away in handcuffs.
Back in Los Angeles, Holmes was again offered immunity and protection if he would
cooperate with authorities. But he continued to refuse, pointing out that to cooperate
would jeopardize the lives of his family, friends and business associates.
With no one else to prosecute, D.A. John Van de Kamp decided to go after Holmes.
He was charged with four counts of murder and one of attempted murder, based on
flimsy evidence: two of his fingerprints on a glass table at the murder scene and a
palmprint on the headboard of the bed in which Ron Launius was found, a bed which
Holmes himself had often slept.
Holmes never testified during his June 1982 trial. His attorneys, Earl Hanson and
Mitchell Egers, offered in his defense only a closing statement. When Holmes was
acquitted of all charges, the matter should have ended. This is America, after all. If a
person is accused of a crime, tried and acquitted, he is freed.
Unless he is John Holmes. As soon as he was acquitted, Holmes was subpoenaed to
appear before the L.A. County Grand Jury to answer the same questions for which he
had risked life imprisonment rather than answer.
Holmes now had two options. He could talk to the grand jury and possibly cause his
own death; or he could refuse to answer and be held in contempt of court. Refusing to
talk, he was returned to his jail cell.
Time and again in the next few months he was taken to a waiting van, his hands
manacled, to appear before Superior Court Judge Julius A. Leetham. Each time, after
failing to testify, he was again held in contempt and sent back to jail. (Persons held in
contempt of court are not allowed to post bail.)
Holmes went on a hunger strike to protest his plight – losing 16 pounds in 32 days. The
strike ended when his jailers decided it was time to strap him down, shove a tube
down his throat and force-feed him.
After 110 days behind bars the pale and haggard John Holmes finally told the Los
Angeles County Grand Jury everything he knew about the Laurel Canyon murders. And
on November 22, 1982, he became a free man. On the same day and in the same
court, Eddie Nash was convicted of possession for sale of a million dollars’ worth of
cocaine and sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $120,000.
During Holmes’ lengthy incarceration he spent four evenings a week working with
writer Barbara Wilkins on his autobiography.
-Your name is synonymous with hard-core movies that until recent years were
regarded as sleazy and depraved. Does that reputation bother you?
Holmes: No, because I am willing to face up to who and what I am. I am a sexual
professional; just as another professional might be a tennis player, a doctor or a
certified public accountant. But instead of a racket or a stethoscope or a set of tax
manuals, I have a cock 14 inches long and as round as my forearm six inches above
the wrist. That’s my primary tool, and I’ve used it to have sexual intercourse with
approximately 14,000 women.
Many of them are my tricks – the very wealthy females who pay me when I work as a
male whore. Many of them were clients at an orgy house in the Hollywood Hills where,
as the star attraction, I received a percentage of the profits. Twelve of these women, all
married and with the approval of their husbands, are mothers of children I have sired –
each for a large fee. Twenty or 25 of these women were female whores whom I paid to
have sex with me. And many of these women have performed sexually with me in the
more than 2,000 pornographic movies in which I’ve appeared.
-Why have been constantly in demand for such films?
Holmes: I can keep an erection almost indefinitely. In a porno movie a four-minute sex
scene of the screen means that I have maintained an erection for the five hours it took
to shoot it, dripping sweat under klieg lights hot enough to drive the temperature on a
set up to 104 degrees. I can also keep an erection straddling a girl at the edge of a
cliff, looking down at 300 feet of nothing, with my knees bleeding from the sandstone
surface. I come on cue.
-Can you give me an example?
Holmes: One of the films I made was called Dancing Ladies. I played the role of a
doctor who moves into a new apartment. All of the housewives in the building are after
him. Four women played the housewives. Four other men on the shoot played their
husbands. Each of these men had two cum-shots – a cum-shot meaning a close-up of
an external orgasm. But none of the other men were functioning sexually that day. They
played their characters, and I did all the cum scenes – nine of them in eight hours.
Staying in control has always been the most important thing in my life.
-Have you ever been out of control?
Holmes: The only time was when I was free-basing cocaine. In less than two years I
smoked away a couple of apartment buildings I owned, my house, my antique store,
my hardware store and my career. I stayed up for as long as ten days at a time. If I ate
at all, it was half a taco from the Taco Bell drive-in every four days. When I looked in a
full-length mirror, what I saw could have been liberated the day before from a Nazi
concentration camp. I went from 170 pounds to 142 pounds. I was so emaciated; I
couldn’t shoot movies anymore. I hadn’t had sex in six months, and all my wealthy
female tricks were gone.
Not only had I smoked away more than three-quarters of a million dollars, I had
degenerated into a gofer – running around selling drugs to some people so sleazy, I
would have crossed the street to avoid them in the past. I sold five ounces of cocaine a
day to rock stars, murderers, dentists, restaurant owners, burglars, hitmen for the
Mafia, attorneys, producers, directors – anybody who was buying. I was paid each day
with a marble-size rock of free-base which was worth $1,000. That adds up to
$365,000 a year. I smoked it all. I even had to borrow money for gas. I was a drug
-When did you get started with drugs?
Holmes: I did cocaine for the first time in 1979, after turning it down two or three times
a day for ten years. Someone with whom I was co-producing five films offered me
cocaine on the average of twice a day. I finally thought, Oh, well, I’ve done everything
but beat dogs; why not? It had an awful, medicinal taste, like licking the floor in a
doctor’s office. For the six months after that I was doing about $500 worth of a coke a
week, not much by Hollywood standards. I stayed awake more, and I seemed to get
more done. I must have liked it, because I kept doing it. I was having sex less
frequently, and I really shot to hell all my tricks, but I thought, Screw it. I’ll use the energy
-Where did you get drugs?
Holmes: My cocaine supplier was a member of the Lavender Hill Mob – the Gay
Mafia in Los Angeles. One night he ran out of cocaine. That was the night I met Eddie
Nash. He was a skinny Arab who sat on a sofa wearing only a pair of bikini briefs and
smoking free-base cocaine from a water pipe. There were four or five nude
teenyboppers running around, along with a 300-pound black monster named Gregory
Diles, who was Nash’s bodyguard. Eddie offered me a free hit on the water pipe. It
was free the next few times I got cocaine from him too. He must have invested $10,000
worth of coke in me. Once I was hooked, I started to pay. He got around three-quarters
of a million dollars of my money back on his investment.
-Did you have another other drug connections?
Holmes: Yes, I also bought cocaine from the people on Wonderland Avenue. They
were heroin addicts who lived in an armed camp. They had two stolen antique guns
worth $25,000, which I took to Nash in exchange for $1,000 worth of heroin. All they
had to do to get the guns back was come up with the $1,000. But whenever they got
enough money, they’d always call another connection and spend the money with him.
So the guns were with Nash for a week, then two weeks, then six weeks. Eddie wanted
his money, the people on Wonderland wanted their guns back, and I was right there in
That was when the people on Wonderland got the idea to rob Eddie Nash. They were
going to break into his house, rob the place and kill everyone there. I knew if I told
Eddie about it, they would send over his people, and it would be the people on
Wonderland who would be killed. I was between a rock and a hard place. So I agreed
to leave a sliding glass door open at Eddie Nash’s house if the people on Wonderland
Avenue would guaranteed that nobody would be hurt.
They robbed Eddie Nash and brought back heroin, cocaine, jewelry, $10,000 in cash
and the antique guns. The day after the robbery I was tortured for 14 hours by Nash and
eight of his bodyguards while 60 or 70 people walked through his house making their
regular drug buys. I sat in a room off the entry hall, my hands bound with black electrical
tape. Blood was pouring from my mouth where Eddie had hit me with a gun. Nobody
waved hello. Early the next morning four people were beaten to death on Wonderland
Avenue, and another woman was left for dead.
-After refusing to tell the grand jury exactly what you witnessed on Wonderland,
you spent 110 days in jail before deciding to testify. What made you change your
Holmes: I received a communication from the people who had previously threatened
my life if I testified. They told me to go ahead. If I hadn’t done so, the court could have
kept me in jail forever. I had no rights, no bail, no privileges. The law didn’t apply to me.
The fact the court can throw anyone in jail and forget about him is not only a
dehumanizing experience; it’s an absolute outrage.
If you’re serving 90 days or five years, each day that goes by is one day closer to the
time you can walk away. With me, the judge said I held the key to my own freedom. He
told me that I could walk out anytime I wanted. All I had to do was agree to participate in
my own murders and the murders of my family, friends and business associates. That
was like purgatory. That was punishment worse than a sentence.
-How did you deal with the prospect of being jailed permanently?
Holmes: the thought of spending any amount of time without freedom was
mind-boggling. During the trial I had a razor smuggled into prison and was more than
prepared to kill myself if I was found guilty. I was planning on cutting my jugular vein. It
only takes six minutes that way. The same day I was found not guilty, I was ready to kill
myself that evening.
-What was it like in jail after you were held for contempt?
Holmes: I was in what is called the “High Power” section where they stick newsworthy
people who, if they are injured in jail, could be an embarrassment to the county. Bad
things happened to people in jail all the time. They’re raped, killed, stabbed and
robbed – and you never hear about it. But if somebody is in the newspapers two or
three times a week and he comes into court with his arm in a sling or his neck in a
brace, there are going to be questions from the press. So people like that are put into
a protective situation.
Most inmates are incarcerated in what is called the “Main Line,” six prisoners to a cell.
Everyone in High Power has his own cell so nothing can happen to him that might
prove embarrassing. Just about everybody in High Power was accused of mass
murder. Everybody had been in and out of jail for years, except me. I was the one with a
contract out on my life. So when we had to go to court, none of them would ride in the
same van with me. In High Power you go everywhere in handcuffs, accompanied by a
deputy. I had no physical contact with anybody at all. The first time I was able to shake
my attorney’s hand was a sensory shock.
-Who were some of the other inmate in High Power?
Holmes: The “Skid Row Slasher,” who had murdered 11 winos as they slept on
downtown Los Angeles streets, Kenneth Bianchi, the “Hillside Strangler,” who had
murdered 11 women; and Angelo Buono, his cousin. There was one guy who had
sexually molested his own two little boys, killed them and then burned his house down.
The head of the Black Mafia in Los Angeles was there. So was the guy from the Israeli
Mafia who was convicted of dismembering two people at the Bonaventure Hotel. He
was as nice a guy as you’d want to meet. I also played gin rummy through the bars of
my cell with a kid awaiting trial after turning evidence against the “Freeway Killer,”
William Bonin, who had tortured and murdered 21 boys in Orange County and Los
-Since everyone was confined to his own cell, how id you communicate with
Holmes: there is a one-way mirror that runs the entire length of the tier. You can look
through the mirror and catch the reflection of the guy next to you. The mirror is about ten
feet away; so it’s always like you’re talking to somebody ten feet away. When I first got
out of jail, it was difficult talking to somebody up close.
-What was your cell like?
Holmes: It was nine feet by 12 feet long. In that space there was a bunk, a small desk
with a stool, and a toilet. All I could do was pace around four feet and then turn around
and pace four feet back. There was no television, no newspapers, no magazines. I had
paperbacks smuggled in. I wrote quite a bit – poetry and short stories. All during the
day, the radio was broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the tier. There were three
different shifts of deputies; if a black officer was on duty, you’d listen to black music on
the radio. If it was a Mexican officer, you’d listen to Mexican music. During the sports
season there was baseball, football, all the nauseating athletic bullshit. I usually stuck
toilet papers in my ears, or tried to read or write. When I got real bored, I flushed the
toilet. And I clean my cell once a day for exercise.
-Was that your only exercise?
Holmes: No, I also did yoga and calisthenics. And once a day, for 45 minutes, I did
Transcendental Meditation. To make the point that my being in prison was punishment
and not coercion, I complained to the grand jury that jail conditions were atrocious –
really horrible. They said they would investigate. One Friday the grand jury came down
by bus and toured the entire jail facility. The only thing that came out of was that the
grand jurors, all being over 70, were shocked at the Penthouse and Playboy and
Hustler pictures hanging all over the walls of other cells. So they had all of those
-What about the pictures on your wall?
Holmes: They weren’t interested. I had pictures of food. I hated prison meals so much
that I would cut pictures of casseroles from the food sections of magazines.
-What was your routine in jail?
Holmes: Breakfast was at 5:30. It was either pancakes with no syrup, French toast
with no syrup, five different kinds of eggs, or “shit on a shingle” – chipped beef and
gravy on toast. We had lima beans three times a day. The prison honor ranch had
planted a bumper crop of lima beans; so we were lima-beaned to death. There were
lima beans in stew, in Jell-O, in corn, and creamed lima beans. Other prisoners had
pet mice and rats. I had a pet cockroach that I used as a food taster. When he wouldn’t
eat, I wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t touch about half the food in there. The three things I
missed most were food, freedom and sex.
-How did you deal with the lack of sex?
Holmes: Badly. I hadn’t had a wet dream since I was 16, but I returned to them in
prison. You build up so much sexual pressure and tension that your subconscious
releases it in your sleep – all over your jumpsuit.
-Were these erotic dreams?
Holmes: Sure. You don’t have wet dreams thinking about Chevrolets.
-Were the dreams about specific people in your past?
Holmes: Of course. It’s tough to come up with ones in your future.
-Did anyone make sexual advances towards you in jail?
Holmes: Well, the deputies would stand around and watch me shower. It wasn’t
exactly a sexual advance; it was kind of like a curiosity. They’d walk into the shower,
stand there, stare at me, drool and leave. When I was a kid, going out for football, track
and the high jump, it was in the gymnasium shower that I started to get known for the
size of my cock. The other kids called me “Horse Dick.” Many years before, the doctor
who delivered me told my mother that I had three legs and only two feet.
-We hear a great deal about homosexuality in correctional institutions. Did you
see any evidence of such behavior?
Holmes: In High Power there was no sex, since everybody had an individual cell and it
was one man out a time. If you got close enough to many of these prisoners’ bars,
they’d kill you – they wouldn’t try to kiss you. But on the Main Line, where they had six
men in a cell, there was quite a bit of forced sexuality. People came past High Power
on stretchers, lying on their stomachs with bloody sheets around their asses. They’d
been raped in the Main Line. Sexual molestation’s and stabbings increased when the
air conditioning went out for nine days while I was there. In jail they find that the higher
the degree of temperature, the higher the degree of violence. So they keep you very
cold in a constant, controlled environment. Male prostitutes were also available in the
Main Line. Put somebody who is bisexual in prison, and if he wants a cigarette bad
enough, he’ll become sexually involved with someone.
-When did you get items like cigarettes?
Holmes: There was a rolling cart that came by twice a week with cigarettes, cards,
toothpaste, that sort of thing. Visitors are not allowed to bring anything into jail except
money. Not even books. A page can be taken out of a paperback, soaked in LSD and
cut into a hundred squares. A square of acid is worth ten bucks in jail. Actually, you can
get just about anything you want; it’s just tough to do it. Many people hide hypodermic
needle kits in their cells. There’s cocaine, heroin, acid, Quaaludes, speed.
-Where do these drugs come from?
Holmes: I don’t feel that I can tell that because prison officials could put a stop to it. I
so resent the inactivity in jail that I wouldn’t do anything to harm the recreational drug
trade that goes on there.
-You mentioned everything except grass.
Holmes: There’s plenty of grass. What you do is smoke it a night so the deputies
won’t smell it. The lights go out at ten. They do a 10:30 bed check, and they don’t come
back until 2 o’clock in the morning. When you smoke, it dispersed into the
air-conditioning filter. People start to scream at night too. It turns into a small jungle, an
after-hours zoo. The militant blacks do exercise in cadence, counting in booming,
-How did you get along with the deputies?
Holmes: I must have come in contact with 500 of them, but there were only two that I
resented. They didn’t personally treat me badly, but I watched how they treated other
people – body-slams, elbow-slams in the face, breaking people’s faces and noses,
caving ribs, stomping people half to death. They would take PCTP drug victims who
were totally on another planet and jump up and down on their rib cages. High Power
was on the way to the hospital from Main Line. When we saw gurneys go by, it was
bloody time. People were just pulp on their way to the hospital.
-Were you ever threatened or abused?
Holmes: Only by other prisoners. Newspapers and magazines rolled up tightly make
weapons like a wooden club, and several times I was swung at. But I was lucky enough
to stay out of range. Once, I had my arm wrapped around a cell bar, and somebody
tried to take my eye out with a pencil. I came away unscathed. I had no trouble with the
deputies because I can pretty much get along with anybody. I’m a totally nonviolent
person. I never put a deputy into a position where he could get angry with me. I was
always friendly, always had a kind word. In fact, most of the deputies brought in their
porno video tapes or 8mm box collections or porno playing cards, and I signed
thousands of autographs for them. During my trial I also had male and female judges
ask for autographs, along with district attorneys and secretaries. In the past I’ve signed
panties and bras, as well as the usual matchbook covers. A couple once came up to
me on Hollywood Boulevard and the guy said, “We’re going to a swing party.
To be continued…