October 20, 2015

RIP, Superstar Auteur Gino Colbert

It was just last week that we learned of the death of gay porn star Blue Blake in London at age 52. Now, we can confirm that legendary director Gino Colbert has also passed away. (The two men were frequent collaborators.) It’s been reported that Colbert, 58, had a heart attack at his home in Hollywood last August. This was a sad end for a man who spent many years in front of the camera as a model and then behind it as an award-winning writer, producer and director of films in the gay, straight, bisexual and trans genres.

Colbert helmed countless titles for numerous studios before starting his own Gino Pictures imprint. He had a hand in discovering Joey Stefano, the Rockland brothers and many other big-name porn stars. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Colbert started as an assistant to straight porn director Joe Sarno (subject of the 2013 documentary A Life in Dirty Pictures) in the late 1970s in New York. Eventually he made his way to Los Angeles, where he worked for VCA/HIS, Leisure Time, Metro and New Age Pictures, creating classic movies such as Three Brothers, Porn Fiction, Men in Blue, Jeff Stryker’s Underground, Night Walk and The Matinee Idol (starring Ken Ryker). And who could forget 1994’s Tijuana Toilet Tramps (featuring Stefano)!? Colbert later turned his love for theater into a stage career, touring in Ronnie Larsen plays such as Scenes From My Love Life, 10 Naked Men, All-Male Peep Show and Shooting Porn: Live On Stage. He was also involved in Larsen’s 1997 film documentary Shooting Porn.

In recent years, Colbert oversaw the annual Hall of Fame induction presentation at the now-defunct GAYVN Awards and helped Robert Van Damme (below with Gino in 2009) with the launch of his RVD Productions. He was also a guest speaker at UC Santa Barbara graduate film program, and he was honored with an annual film festival dedicated to his work at the former Tomkat Theatre in West Hollywood. While he had stepped away from the business, Colbert remained a devoted movie buff and fan. He was also one of nicest and most thoughtful guys you could ever meet—in or out of the industry. RIP, sweet man.