Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon
From the dawn of the sexual revolution comes the outrageous true story of 1970s gay porn icon Jack Wrangler, who became a major brand name in adult entertainment, as well as a hero to the newly liberated gay population.
Jack Stillman grew up in Beverly Hills, a child of privilege with a decidedly sensitive nature. Jack wanted to be in show business from an early age, wowing audiences with song and dance routines, and becoming a child star on the Sunday morning religious drama Faith of Our Children. His father was a producer of Bonanza, and Jack's budding sexuality was piqued by the sight of a young Michael Landon.
He honed his acting and directing talents, but when show business success eluded him, he turned to bartending and go-go dancing in the burgeoning gay community of West Hollywood. When he was asked to be part of a gay male strip revue called "Hot Jocks," he decided to change his name to something more memorable. Glancing down at his plaid work shirt's label, he christened himself Jack Wrangler, and the name stuck. He was soon cast in a play in San Francisco called "Special Friends," where he took his clothes off and became the talk of the town. Wrangler became a sensation, doing nude modeling and appearing on the cover of the first issue of Mandate. He soon made his first X-rated appearance, and almost overnight a star was born. A cavalcade of movie roles followed - sailors, cowboys, and construction workers - Jack Wrangler played them all.
In the 1970s, gay men trying to overcome the stigma of homosexuality saw in Jack a new butch role model. The Jack Wrangler character was a deliberate construction - a rough and tumble, beer drinking drifter who dug guys in a macho kind of way. Jack made some of the era's most memorable films, did personal appearances, and even had a line of official merchandise. Anybody remember the Accu-Jack?
Not content to be a big fish in a small pond, he decided to cross over into the more lucrative straight porn world and became an even bigger success. In fact, Jack Wrangler lost his (straight) virginity on camera in a film called The China Sisters. Although avowedly gay the entire time, Jack managed to create sizzling sex scenes with a bevy of beautiful female co-stars.
While in New York doing a live one-man show, Jack met legendary vocalist Margaret Whiting, and much to their surprise, they fell head over heels for each other. Although their relationship confounded their friends, as well as Jack's gay audience, the couple have weathered the storm and remained together for 30 years.
Today, Jack Wrangler looks back bemusedly on his adventures in the skin trade, and has never distanced himself from his past. Jack Wrangler's story is one of self-invention and determination, and although he has gone on to an accomplished career in legitimate theater, he knows he will always be Jack Wrangler, former porn star.