SAN FRANCISCO - Chuck Holmes, well-known video producer, philanthropist, and advocate for gay and lesbian rights, passed away on Saturday, September 9th from AIDS/HIV-related complications. He was 55.
Holmes was born in Terre Haute, Indiana and received a degree in Business Administration from Indiana State University. His first job was with a manufacturer of prefabricated buildings, and in 1971 the company promoted him to Western sales manager for residential housing and transferred him to San Francisco. When his division was eliminated in early 1971, Chuck bought three adult gay films and several mailing lists at the urging of an adult film entrepreneur, and by mid-year had sent out his first mail order piece. Falcon Studios had been born.
Originally offering its titles on 8mm film, Falcon was one of the first to offer its titles on videocassette. Now, nearly three decades later, Holmes not only introduced three new lines - Jocks Studios, Mustang Studios and the Falcon International Collection - but also has the Signature dildo collection, the expanded Falcon Accessory Line, the FalconStudios.com Website, and has recently ventured into the burgeoning world of DVD.
Holmes has been responsible for discovering, grooming and promoting some of the top names in the business including Al Parker, Bill Henson, Sky Dawson, Kris Bjorn, Chad Douglas, Steve Hammond, Rex Chandler, Christian Fox, Ken Ryker, Hal Rockland, Eric Stone and Tom Chase. With more than 300 titles in the current library, Holmes, his production team and his models have earned top awards year after year. While remaining involved as CEO, Chuck turned the day-to-day running of the Falcon family of companies during the past few years over to executive vice president John Rutherford, who also serves as director of production. He and vice president Terry Mahaffey will continue to run the business based on the proven precepts established by the founder.
Holmes had been involved with the gay community in numerous ways, giving back to those who needed assistance and offering a voice for basic equality. He was a major contributor not only to over twenty HIV/AIDS outreach programs, but also to such projects as the new San Francisco Community Center Project, Amnesty International, Global Green, and the Sierra Club. A staunch Democrat who recognized the need for the gay community to have a voice in the nation's capitol, Holmes was a past board member of The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and a current board member of the Human Rights Campaign - which funds lobbying and legislative activities, sponsors fair-minded political candidates, and provides financial resources for major educational campaigns. Holmes was dedicated to "an America where lesbian and gay people are ensured of their basic equal rights - and can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community."
A memorial service was held September 16th. Those in attendance included many of Holmes' colleagues and friends, people who had known him since his beginnings in the industry, who worked with him throughout and those who only recently created ties. In addition to the Falcon staff, notables in attendance included Stan Loeb from Paladin, Laura Hardin from Bel Ami, David Sturman from General Video, Mark Franks from Erostar Erotic Novelties, Studio 2000's John Travis (who was a director with Falcon in the '80s), director Chi Chi LaRue, Steven Scarborough (who was a former director of production at Falcon) and Craig Latker from Hot House Entertainment, Rick Ford and Mike Donner from All Worlds Video, George Somers from Canada's Wega Video, Barry Knight and Russell Moore from Delta Productions, AVN's Nick DiMartino, Kevin Sloop from Short Run Video, make-up maven Domini, Titan Media's Bruce Cam, directors Marc Frederics and Paul Norman and performers Cort Jensen, Tom Chase, Chad Donovan and Jeremy Jordan.
In lieu of flowers, friends and associates are encouraged to make donations to The Human Rights Campaign in memory of Chuck. Please contact Alex MacLennan as follows:
919 18th Street N.W. - Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006-5509
John Rutherford summed it all up in four words: "He will be missed," he said.
True words, indeed.
- Jeremy Spencer