- Associated Press - Thursday, December 9, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - John Leslie, an award-winning adult film actor and director who appeared in more than 300 movies during porn’s so-called Golden Age in the 1970s and 80s, has died, his friends said Thursday. He was 65.

Leslie, whose real name was John Nuzzo, began acting in porn movies in the 1970s in San Francisco. He went on to become one of the first actors to successfully direct, which he did until his death Sunday of an apparent heart attack at his Mill Valley, Calif., home.

He appeared in such titles as “Cry for Cindy” and “Talk Dirty to Me,” the 1980 film that solidified his status as one of porn’s leading men.

Mark Kernes, who as senior editor of the adult film publication AVN knew Leslie well, said Leslie was one of the first actors to cross over to directing, which he did well at because of an artistic eye for detail and talent for handling actors.

“A lot of people really wanted to work with him because he took a lot of pride in his work, and paid attention to details,” said Kernes, who confirmed Leslie’s death.

“And being an actor at heart, he was more disposed to letting the performers take the lead in terms of the executing the scene and the performers liked that” Kernes said.

Leslie’s success as a porn actor started in the early 1970s, seen as the beginning of the industry’s Golden Age when plot-driven, feature-length adult movies like “Deep Throat” and “Behind the Green Door” achieved mainstream success. That era ended with the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

Leslie won pornography industry awards for acting and directing. He was inducted into the Legends of Erotica Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, as well as AVN’s Hall of Fame.

“I first met John on the set of ‘Anything That Moves,’” said Steve Nelson, a friend and editor-in-chief of Adult Industry News.

John was easy going and a joy to be instructed by when he directed. He knew exactly what he wanted the camera to see and his films always had superb continuity,” Nelson said.

Leslie is survived by his wife of 23 years, Kathleen.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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