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    Harry Reems, Porn Actor in Deep Throat, Dead at 65

    Harry Reems Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Harry Reems, who shot to fame and notoriety starring opposite Linda Lovelace in the groundbreaking 1972 porn film Deep Throat, died Tuesday in Salt Lake City after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

    Reems' passing was confirmed to The New York Times by his wife, Jeanne, who said that her husband's health had been in decline for some time now

    Born Herbert Streicher in New York City, Reems first tried to break into the entertainment biz as a stage actor via slew of off-Broadway productions But when that bid didn't pan out, he sidetracked into porn instead.

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    It was a prescient move: Deep Throat's release proved to be a watershed moment for the porn industry in the '70s, thrusting the film into the mainstream and luring mass audiences who eventually helped turn it into a $600 million-grossing sensation.

    The fallout from the film's controversy, however, was a big blow to Reems: The actor, who estimates that he starred in no fewer than 300 porn films, was convicted in 1976 of conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines—a high-profile trial that earned Reems the support of stars like Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson. The decision was overturned a year later.

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    After leaving behind the porn business, Reems struggled with alcoholism before sobering up in 1989, turning to religion, getting married and becoming a real-estate agent.

    Reems' death arrives just two months after a fictionalized big-screen retelling of the making of Deep ThroatLovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as the titular leading lady and Adam Brody as Reems himself—made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. A U.S. theatrical release date has yet to be set.

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