Jack Wrangler, first gay porn star, dies

wranglerJack Wrangler, the Beverly Hills-born porn superstar, has died. He was 62. The reported cause of death was from complications from emphysema.

Although he performed in both gay and straight adult films, he was always open about his homosexuality and considered a hero of the Gay Liberation movement.

Born into a Hollywood film industry family, he first worked in early Christian television before studying theater in college.  After stints  bartending and go-go dancing at West Hollywood gay bars, he went on to achieve icon status in 1970s gay porn.  In the early ’80s he switched to starring in straight porn, eventually leaving porn altogether to marry Margaret Whiting, the film actress and singer (known for her hit, “That Old Black Magic,”) and began producing her cabaret shows.

The first Wrangler film I recall seeing, as an impressionable, newly-out gay youth, was Kansas City Trucking Co., made in 1976. With its hyper-masculine performers and the athletic abandon with which they threw themselves into their work, KCTC is  credited with setting the standard for all-male gay porn.

Photo: courtesy of TLA Releasing