True Lies: John Holmes and Scott Thorson


Addiction is a medical problem; a brain disease and is lifelong. So says the famous celebrity addiction counselor, Dr. Drew Pinsky. He goes further: “Once the switch to addiction is thrown, then it is a chronic, lifelong condition … addicts tell me that while they are sober, their addiction is doing push-ups, waiting to re-emerge and take over … it’s a brain disorder and it’s waiting and lurking in them.” Dr. Drew also says that when an addict begins to offer you a promise or an explanation, then you should cover your ears because you are about to receive a big load of bullshit.

John Holmes and Scott Thorson

So then – what can we say about these two men? Apparently, there is quite a bit because they really had a lot in common.

Both men were originally from very humble beginnings in the Midwest – John from Ohio and Scott by way of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The pair each lived and worked on the edge of true celebrity and on the fringes of the entertainment world; enough celebrity fire to at least capture the friendship of Eddie Nash. Yet both became immersed in the hardcore world of drugs. Both men shared a love lust for the same drug – freebase rock cocaine – Crack!

These two men have both had movies made about them, and both have become, by their own actions and mistakes – legendary figures. Both have ghost-written books, with Scott’s coming out the same year John died. Almost star-crossed, they have so much in common that it is almost like they were separated at birth, moved away and then as adults, veered towards the same destiny. The most common trait between these two men however, were the lies. It was that you could not believe a thing that came out of their mouths. They have also lied to themselves, and betrayed their own emotions.

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I should be delivering furniture in Ohio

Everybody lies to get something they want on occasion, but according to the annals of psychiatry, “a pathological liar may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are relating fantasies”. One origin of this behavior begins with a chaotic home life and generally starts to grow during a person’s teenage years. At this stage, due to insecurities, they begin to lie to cast themselves in a favorable light, as to “decorate their own person”. That says it all right there. Furthermore, the liar does not really believe the lies, and knows which are true if pressed for the truth, but, in cases of rather extreme traumatic events and to save conscience, the liar can easily “lie it away” quite quickly, in other words even lie to themselves to get it off their mental table or conscience – and bury it away as truth.

The morning of the murders, when John was asked by his estranged wife, Sharon, how he could have been involved in something like that since the victims were his friends, he simply replied “they were dirt.”

Decorate Their Own Person

Like any book, writing your autobiography can be quite a difficult task. It is even harder to pen your life story though when you cannot keep your lies straight within the book itself and most damaging, keep the lies straight with things that you say on record that are to the contrary, before and after the book has been published.

In the Wonderland realm, there have been three key figures who have accomplished this amazing feat: John Holmes, Scott Thorson and Dawn Schiller. Leaving Dawn out of this (for now), Holmes and Thorson could not even keep their lies straight even when it came time to capture, for the entire world to see, their own life story. They had already told different stories before the books were printed, and most damaging, Scott did it afterward as well.

A person’s autobiography is the holiest of holies when it comes to your legacy, even if you do not have an exciting story to tell. These men did have great stories to tell, but they could not keep the lies from changing long enough to even let themselves die first. When you scan the online reader reviews for these books, even the average person has noticed it, and almost all of them mention it.

Old things, dead and buried, often get new life breathed into them. Books are no different and due to the success of the 2013 film based on the 1988 book of the same name, Behind the Candelabra has gained some brief popularity and was re-released in electronic form with a few minor additions.

Thus, I found Scott’s new Afterword. Yes, Scott (aka Jess Marlow) had an opportunity to add an Afterword section to the end of his famous book and he tells us what he has been doing lately. But what does he do with this opportunity? He lies. Scott stretches this short couple of paragraphs so that he can squeeze a lie in there. And here it is (paraphrased): As a person in witness protection because he was a witness against feared L.A. nightclub owner Eddie Nash, an attempt was made on his life by associates of Eddie Nash about a year after the trial. The only problem was, Nash’s first trial was a hung jury, and the second trial ended in acquittal. Nash was acquitted due to Scott’s flimsy testimony, not convicted. It would make no sense to kill him, at all. Unbelievable, yet sadly rather believable if you know Scott’s history of lying. By the way, Scott is trying to put together another book or movie about himself and is looking for investors with this project.

Indeed, an attempt was made on Jess Marlow’s life, sure. It was at a cheap motel in Jacksonville in November, 1991. That did happen. However, the would-be assassin at the room that night was no pro, but simply a longtime petty thief and crack-head, a twenty-five year old man named Melvin Jerome Owen. He was arrested shortly after the shooting.

According to police, they may have been smoking crack together in the room before the shooting, due to all of the paraphernalia lying about. The one good thing to come from the shooting though for Scott was that his own body and heart did not betray him. Although shot 3 times in the chest and after spending many weeks on the critical list, the authorities would later say “..it was very serious, nobody thought he would make it. But he just kept living and living and he finally recovered”. In his Afterword, Scott even raises the number of bullets that were pumped into his body by the assassin from three… to five. He lied again, yet he cheated death. After this, he moved in with a nice lady in Maine for about ten years. He lived clean, but later said that that felt like he was living a lie, so he went back to being a shit head.

In his own book, Porn King, John Holmes tells a great story. But that is just it, a story. It was public knowledge via court testimony and news articles that John’s whereabouts on the night of the Wonderland murders was inside the house, with the killers. He was made to watch what they did to his friends. His attorneys admitted this much in court. Holmes admitted this to cops as well, albeit “off the record”. But when his long awaited book was published posthumously, the story had changed again. This time, he was not at the house, but kept at gunpoint at another house while his friends were brutally killed. He states that when they released him, he did go back to the Wonderland house, acting bravely, to check on them – only to discover the carnage that awaited him – “Their heads had been pulverized” and other such nonsense. Sharon Holmes statements about certain events even show that he couldn’t even keep his employment history straight – not remembering that his term as ambulance driver was “while” they were married, and not before they hooked up.

John feared for the members of his family. All of this had been his fault and he knew it. This lie – even though it subverted justice and harmed many other people, does have a hint of real purpose behind it. In his eyes, it saved the lives of his family from the revenge of Eddie Nash. He could have come clean in his posthumous book, but there we are again, with his family exposed to danger. Even a liar loves his mother.

For love or lust, there is nothing wrong with being emotionally or physically involved in a homosexual relationship. Next to Adam and Eve, it may even be the oldest hook-up known to mankind. Gay sex. The ancients were famous for it. But if you do it merely and solely for financial gain, then like any hetero tryst for hire, society has a word for that:  whore. Whether gay or bisexual or not at all, both John and Scott explored homosexuality in a grand public fashion, yet in a false way; because it was for their own individual financial gain. John did it in a video. Scott did it as Liberace’s always present boy-toy. And Scott told Larry King he was not gay.

Neither man was gay or bisexual. John hinted at it, but only did one film and maybe a few old loops. Scott says he was solely with Liberace. But both men compromised their sexuality and emotions just for money and drugs. Scott did it on the long term, while John on the short, and both of their little escapades would end up in death and disaster, physically and legally.

After John Holmes’ murder trial in 1982 and not too long after he had just been freed from jail, a morally and financially bankrupt Holmes starred in one gay porn film (The Private Pleasures of John C. Holmes) and in it, he had unprotected sex with a man named Joey Yale. Joey died of AIDS a few years later. AIDS was pretty much an unknown then, besides this was just for some quick cash.

When Scott lied to Tom Lange and authorities about being at Nash’s house the night Holmes was brought in by the collar, it was to save his ass from going to jail for up to ten years from an aggravated assault and burglary during a home invasion. That’s three home invasions in this story so far, four if you count the robbery of the man in the Valley by Lind, Billy and Ronnie pre-Nash. That’s the one where Ronnie wanted to kill the maid, but Dave and Billy would not allow it.

Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox.

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