February 16, 2007 / 12:09 AM / 11 years ago

Porn star seeks fame with clothes on

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Porn star Ron Jeremy wants to be taken seriously — with his clothes on.

Adult film star Ron Jeremy poses for photos in New York February 7, 2007. Porn star Jeremy wants to be taken seriously with his clothes on, with his new found mainstream appeal from reality television. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Dressed in a dark track suit with a protruding belly that shows he is past his physical prime, Jeremy hardly strikes you as one of the most successful American porn stars.

But Jeremy, 53, who claims to have been with more than 4,000 women during a 30-year career, is the first to admit that he is not your stereotypical sex star. He believes his average looks are a key to his success.

In a new memoir, “Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz,” he said audiences identified with him because he was just like them — hairy, with a mustache and standing just 5 feet 6 inches tall.

“They look at themselves in the mirror and think, Y’know, compared to Ron Jeremy, I’m not that bad looking at all,” Jeremy says in the book released this month.

Jeremy, who trained to be a teacher, started out as an actor in New York in the mid-1970s but ended up in porn films to make some money after his girlfriend sent off some nude photographs of him to Playgirl. He never looked back.

But with more than 1,750 adult films to his name and turning 54 next month, Jeremy had few Hollywood directors knocking at his door.

Jeremy turned to reality TV, joining the second season of “The Surreal Life,” which features a group of low-level celebrities living in a mansion in Los Angeles.

“It increased my audience. A lot of women and children now know me from the show,” said Jeremy. “Now I’m getting more work.”

Jeremy, who was born Ron Jeremy Hyatt, can be seen in a spinoff of that series, “The Surreal Life: Fame Games,” and had a role in the comedy “Finishing the Game,” which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

In addition to his book, Jeremy is busy with other ventures — his adult film company, speaking on television and college campuses about sex and pornography, and promotional appearances for products that carry his name.

But more than ever, he is driven to seize those elusive Hollywood roles. “It’s a certain amount of ego,” he said. “In my little cloud, I still think I’m an actor.”

Would he like to do more reality television?

“To me, porn and reality TV are similar. I don’t mind being in them,” he said. “I just can’t stand watching them.”

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