Friday, November 28, 2014

In Memoriam: Joey Stefano: January 1st 1968-November 26th 1994)

Joey Stefano, on of the more infamous names in the world of gay porn. Even if you've never seen any of his work I think everyone has heard the name. His heartbreaking story is the gay porn version of a Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse or even Whitney Houston; a nice kid who couldn't handle the fame, money, temptations of Hollywood and entertainment and descended further and further down into the darkness. Stefano died at the tender age of twenty-six, a couple months shy of his twenty-seventh birthday and while he didn't make the twenty-seven club I think we can all agree that he died a legend and he is a legend.
It's almost eerie how I came up with the idea to do a post about him. Stefano has always been one of my favorites. I devoured the book about him and am anxiously awaiting the movie that has been stuck in development hell for far too long. I have always found him to be, much more than handsome, he's beautiful in my eyes and I always found him likable. So while deciding what I should blog about, Joey's name just suddenly popped into my head. I Googled him and saw that he died on the twenty-sixth of November. I knew then I had found my subject.
So let's talk a little about his life. But first, enjoy some pictures.

A fellow Italian, he was born Nicholas Anthony Iacona JR and grew up in the Philly area. Stefano's father died and that was when he first started using drugs to deal with his father's death resulting in his first stint in rehab for six months. After he got out of rehab he pursued a career in mainstream modeling, like so many who have entered the industry before and after him, and started to build a portfolio.
In 1989 he met a porn performer named Tony Davis who helped him enter the adult industry and a meeting with Chi Chi LaRue during a trip to Los Angeles further helped him open the door and step on through into the industry.
Joey Stefano was a power bottom who was known for his dirty talking and moaning during his scenes. That, along with his good looks, made him a very popular star and in 1992 Madonna had him model for her in her book Sex.

Despite his popularity and success, he won the 1990 XRCO Award for best newcomer and the 1995 AVN Award for Gay Video Performer of the Year, his family had no idea he was gay or in porn and when his older sister, Linda, found out she did not tell his mother.
Throughout his life, he was the subject of widespread rumors about his relationships with prominent entertainment industry figures most of who were closeted but the subject of rumors of their homosexuality. One of these men was music mogul David Geffen who not only was alleged to have gone on several dates with Stefano but had also implored him to quit drugs on numerous occasions.
In his five years in the industry he appeared in thirty-five films. However he did not save or invest the money he earned and would continually lapse into drug and alcohol abuse. Also tragically, in 1990, was the diagnosis that he was HIV positive. That diagnosis along with his own anxiety about being broke and getting older are rumored to have contributed to his growing depression and dependency on drugs and alcohol.
Joey Stefano was taken from us much to soon. On November 26th 1994 his body was discovered in a Hollywood motel room. He was only twenty-six years old. The cause of death was determined to have been a speedball overdose. He is buried in Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery in Marcus Hook Pennsylvania in an unmarked graved.
In 1997 he was post humorously inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.
  If you would like to know more about his life and career I highly recommend Charles Isherwood's great book Wonder Break and Ecstasy. It is a fantastic read. And here's hoping that Chad Darnell's film X-Rated will be released soon and make sure that Joey Stefano is never forgotten.


  1. I'm very impressed and deeply grateful that you have remembered Joey. I met him and almost worked with him--it will be in my forthcoming book. Just a little, teensy criticism if I may? I thought there were 35 films, but during my research uncovered 60, plus two documentaries, the "Deeper & Deeper" and "Sex" videos with Madonna, and of course the restaurant interview where her outed Geffen. Very best wishes, David Bret

  2. Thanks. Joey is one of my favorites. I'm jealous you got to meet him. I saw discrepancy in regards to how many films he did. I'm gonna have to look for that documentary and please let me know when your book is out, I'd love to read it, maybe spotlight it and you on here if you like.