R.I.P. Peter de Rome, The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’

R.I.P. Peter de Rome, The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’

Several claims can be made for the achievements of the erotic film pioneer Peter de Rome, who died June 21st aged 89. But perhaps the most significant is that the gay porn industry we know today can be traced back directly to him. Prior to de Rome there were amateur loops and the occasional artistic experiment, e.g. Jean Genet’s “Un chant d’amour” (1950). But it was de Rome’s short films which inspired Wakefield Poole to make The Boys in the Sand (1971), the first hardcore porn movie to cross to the mainstream. This was the gay equivalent of Deep Throat (which Poole’s film preceded).

R.I.P. Peter de Rome, The 'Grandfather of Gay Porn'
Peter de Rome, The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’

The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’

De Rome was also responsible for inventing at least two elements that became gay porn staples. An often audacious film-maker, he used secretly filmed footage of a famously reclusive movie star, and men having real sex on the New York subway, in his productions. But although his work was superior to that of almost all his porn contemporaries, de Rome was only briefly a “name”. His stature as an erotic artist was recognised as he neared the end of his life.

Born in Juan les Pins, France, and raised in Kent, England, de Rome was a lifelong film fan, playing truant to go to movies, sometimes with a boyfriend. He knew before he reached teenage that he was gay and always claimed that his sexuality was never an issue. (He testified for the Wolfenden Committee, which recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK). He began as a stage actor but soon switched to film publicity and in 1957 took the opportunity to move to New York to work for producer David O. Selznick. He divided the rest of his life between New York and Kent.

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One Response to "R.I.P. Peter de Rome, The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’"

  1. Pingback: R.I.P. Peter de Rome, The ‘Grandfather of Gay Porn’ | Adult WIkiMedia

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