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January 30, 2017

Friends, Family Toast Bill Margold at Celebration of Life

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—An apropos tone of irreverence mixed with fondness permeated the proceedings at Sunday afternoon's Celebration of Life in memory of adult pioneer and historian William Margold, who died January 17 at the age of 73. Many of Margold's closest associates from both inside the industry and out gathered for the event at the home of producer David Bertolino, with whom the man known to many as "Papa Bear" had been collaborating on the stage show "The Golden Age of Adult Cinema," set to open February 12 at North Hollywood's Cupcake Theater. About a dozen luncheon tables were set up across the backyward lawn of the property before a tiki bar and lucite podium; on each table sat a teddy bear—Margold's longtime emblem. Also on display beside the podium were posters for Margold's 1975 film Marilyn and the Senator, and the Free Speech Coaltion "Fighting for Your Freedom" promo photo that served for many years as the symbolic image for the organization, which Margold co-founded. As people entered the sun-drenched poolside affair, they were greeted by several collages of Margold pictures and artifacts, including his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from San Fernando Valley State College, a press release for the 3D cult film Disco Dolls in Hot Skin in which he had a prominent role, and a clipping from his paper the LA X...Press published on his 71st birthday October 2, 2014, with the headline "Loyalty, Truth, Friendship, Honor" and the opening line: "These are the cornerstones of my life." "It's a real spread," friend Joanne Cachapero—one of the first to learn of Margold's passing—commented as guests arrived. She then quipped, "This is actually a little too nice for Bill." While she and others traded stories about when they met Margold, Bertolino passed out glasses of what he said was Margold's favorite wine, chardonnay. With the arrival of Ron Jeremy, the formalities officially got underway, kicked off by a bagpipe player marching in blaring "Amazing Grace." Herschel Savage, one of Margold's dearest contemporaries, presided over the series of memorials and testimonials that followed, opening them with his own speech that began with the famed motto emblazoned across Margold's business card: "God created man. William Margold created himself." Savage described Margold as "my best friend" and someone who despite his notorious bravado was actually quite generous and selfless—a consistent theme among those who spoke. "Every business he worked with made millions of dollars, but not Bill," Savage said. "Bill gave money out of his own pocket that he didn't have to give to help others. "Bill was the person who never fit in," Savage continued. "With the industry, he found a place where he belonged. He took a group of displaced people and made them feel like they had a place where they belonged." Savage also called Margold "the Nixon of porn—he had an enemies list. He loved having an enemies list." However, he added, "He was a great writer, and he ultimately was the person you could count on." Margold's daughter Goldie spoke next, simply noting, "I think he'd be amazed and excited by how many people showed up. Everyone was his kid." One of Margold's great muses, Amber Lynn, gave a particularly emotional speech, recounting how she met him at 19 and at the time had no intention of entering the industry, but when Margold brought her in, he "opened the door to the sense of family for me. My father died at a very young age, and [Margold] was like a brother to me, and a brother to my brother [Buck Adams]. When my brother died, I jumped on the phone to Bill." Lynn noted that she'd spoken to Margold the morning that he died, and he told her, "I'm really proud of you, kid, and I love you." "He never told me he loved me," Lynn said, "and somehow I thought that was the last time we would talk. Bill Margold was one of the most important relationships of my life, and one of the most important friendships of my life." World Modeling founder Jim South, who had a friendly rivalry with Margold and Reb Sawitz's Pretty Girls agency during adult's Golden Age, offered the lighthearted words, "I loved Bill dearly. He loved most of you. I met Bill about 40 years ago, I was about 6. We're all going to miss him a lot." Ron Jeremy spoke next, taking most of his time to relate the story of how Margold bestowed him with the nickname The Hedgehog, but first sharing the anecdote, "When I go on the road lecturing and debating, I use one of Bill's quotes a lot: 'No one ever really got hurt from watching pornography, unless they got too close to the electronics and got electrocuted." Another contemporary, Paul Thomas, opened his thoughts on Margold with the line: "He gave his lungs a favor by breathing." In recalling tales from the two-day shoot of the Phil Marshak-directed classic Dracula Sucks, Thomas remarked, "For all the accusations Bill might receive for having an ego, he knew when to swallow it when he needed to. He was strong and constant. In thinking about how his passing affects our lives, it's simply that what we do matters. What Bill did matters." A performer Margold long fostered under his wing, Anita Cannibal, compared him to Donald Trump in his willingness to be unapologetically brash and obstreperous. "He loved free speech, and he loved to be outrageous and call attention to himself," Cannibal said. "He spent his life protecting the right for us to do business and protecting the mentally ill in this business. He was a huge cheerleader for me, and he believed in me and I believed in him, and there will be a hole left in our industry because he is gone." Melissa Hill later took the podium, and delivered a message from Richard Pacheco, who was unable to attend: "At John Leslie's memorial, Bill Margold said to me, 'This is probably the last big hurrah. With giants like Leslie and Jamie Gillis and Jim Holliday gone, who else is there to memorialize?' Sadly, he forgot to include himself." Others who spoke included Kay Parker, Roy Karch, T.T. Boy, Mondo Video owner The Colonel and Phyllisha Anne. The event closed with a release of doves, whose handler said they represented "peace and love." More of those in attendance included Tee Reel, Rob Spallone, Mark Spiegler, Raven Touchstone, Jim Legman, Cass Paley, Eric Paul Leue, Jake Jacobs, Christy Canyon, Steve Nelson, Mr. Marcus, Frank Towers, James Avalon, Alexandra Silk, Luc Wylder, Victoria Paris, Veronica Hart and Evan Stone. A GoFundMe page has been set up by Margold's daughter Goldie to help defray the costs of his memorial and funeral expenses. The page is located at www.gofundme.com/bill-margold-my-dad. Pictured at podium: Kay Parker. Photo courtesy EMMReport.com.

 
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