LOS ANGELES — Wakefield Poole, a pioneering director of gay adult cinema whose 1971 classic „Boys in the Sand“ revolutionized the genre, passed at the age of 85 on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida.
Poole was famously inspired to film „Boys in the Sand“ after watching a poorly shot scene in an adult theatre. As he would later explain, Poole wanted to create beautiful, inspirational images that would inspire viewers to feel good about being gay. The image of a blond, Adonis-like Casey Donovan striding from the waters of the Atlantic and crossing the beach to kiss Dick Fisk cemented both men as icons of gay culture.
„Boys in the Sand“ was a smash success; praised by Andy Warhol, reviewed in Variety and one of the first adult films in any genre to achieve mainstream recognition, preceding even „Deep Throat“ by a year, thanks to an unprecedented full-blitz promotional campaign that included full-page ads in the New York Times.
Poole’s other films, including „Bijou“ (1972) and „Split Image“ (1984), laid the groundwork for several generations of filmmakers and proved that gay erotic images and films held mainstream appeal.
He enjoyed a prolific career as an artist, author, dancer and choreographer and published an autobiography, „Dirty Poole: the Autobiography of a Gay Porn Pioneer“ in 2000 (reissued in 2011).
A documentary about his life, career and enduring influence, „I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole“ by Jim Tushinski, was released in 2013; film distribution outfit Vinegar Syndrome restored and released several of his titles in 2013 and ’14.
XBIZ will expand this story with industry memorials as they are received.