Friday, June 25, 2010

Al Parker

Al Parker born 25 June 1952 (d. 1992)

Al Parker (born Andrew Okun) was a gay American pornographic actor (porn star), producer, and director.

Raised in the Greater Boston area, at 5' 7" tall, Parker was best-known for being well-groomed and having the lean moustached physique popularised in San Francisco's Castro neighbourhood as the ideal Castro clone. He was also possessed of the other key requirement for a successful porn star.

After he moved to California in the mid-70s, Parker met handsome veteran Richard Cole, a man a dozen years his senior. Cole introduced Parker to the guiltless sexual hedonism of the age.

After arriving in California, Parker was employed by Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion West as a butler. Parker's career in gay film started when he was 'discovered' by the legendary Rip Colt, founder of Colt Studios. It was Colt who gave him the name 'Al Parker'.

Parker began his film making career when he was signed by Brentwood Studios. He made 12-15 minute loop films shot on 8 mm film reels.

Later in life Parker and Cole put a bed in the back of their van to use for their sexual pickups during their cross-country trips. In 1980 the pair formed Surge Studio to produce Al Parker films and videos.

Parker was a producer, director and actor. Surge Studios started making larger budget 'theme' features and not just the 'film loops'. Many of the films were shot out of Parker's home in Hermosa Beach, California. Surge Studios was one of the first studios to mandate safe sex practices when AIDS appeared.

Parker's partner, Cole, died of AIDS in 1986. Following Cole's death Parker continued in the adult film business and began a relationship with Canadian porn star Justin Cade.

Al Parker died from complications of AIDS in 1992. He was just 40 years old.

Parker is the subject of Roger Edmonson's biography Clone: The Life and Legacy of Al Parker Gay Superstar. Parker's remains were cremated and a memorial service was held at his private residence.

Performers in gay pornography hold a relatively esteemed position in gay culture, in contrast to their heterosexual counterparts. This is largely due to the fact that hard core pornography itself is such an integral and accepted part of gay male life, especially in comparison to the marginalized position straight pornography holds for its audiences.
Joe A Thomas - glbtq encyclopedia

In the 70s especially, the porn star was a potent symbol of gay sexuality and gay liberation. Al Parker was one its brightest stars.

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Blogger William said...

I would have loved to have met Al Parker- Just read the book and it didn't do the man jsutice.

4:49 am  
Blogger IAMGAYLORD said...

I did meet Al and Cole when I lived in LA. They were very nice guys and very sweet to the fans of their movies. The BBQ's were a blast....

9:40 am  
Blogger Cindy said...

I worked with Al in the late 1980s, when he came "home" to Boston to help AIDS Action Committee launch a safe sex campaign. Al very generously allowed us to use a rendering of himself as part of the campaign materials and he rode on the AIDS Action float at Gay Pride. He was a terrifically nice guy, with a very strong sense of community and a festive relationship to gay left and gay liberation ideals. Some of his films can be considered near-documentaries of the transition years from closet to street.

Cindy Patton

11:58 pm  
Blogger Mister Static said...

I just read The Life and Legacy of Al Parker Gay Superstar. I found it to be quite interesting. It was just as much a triumph as it was tragic. I would still like to know what it was about the Gage productions that he didn't like. They really don't make 'em like that anymore.

11:53 pm  
Blogger robinnisfail said...

Check some of your information against Wikipedia, there are differences.

1:49 am  

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