Entertainment » Celebrities

Gay Porn Superstar Erik Rhodes Dies in New York, Age 30

by Bob Sanders
Friday Jun 15, 2012

If everyone is a "star" in the porn industry, there are still a few genuine superstars. Among gay porn players, there have been very few in recent years hotter, physically and status-wise, than Falcon Studio's exclusive Erik Rhodes. In a posting to Rhodes' own Twitter account, there was a brief statement that, at 5:30 a.m. June 14, Rhodes, 30 at the time of his death, was found dead in New York City, the apparent victim of a heart attack.

Born James Elliot in the suburban landscape of Long Island east of the city, Rhodes had only recently celebrated his 30th birthday. Although he apparently died in his sleep, the exact circumstances surrounding his death remain unknown as of this writing.

Headlining in such titles as "The Farmer's Son," "Beefcake," "Ivy League," "Asylum," "Afterparty," "The Pledge Masters," "The Velvet Mafia" and "Best Men," Rhodes' appearances were distinguished not only by his muscular bodybuilder's physique and handsome features, but also by his humor, sexual range, undisputed acting talent and keen professionalism.

Zach Sire, the editor of NakedSword's widely followed adult industry blog The Sword, called Rhodes one the greats, "not only a gay porn star: he was a legend." Commenting on Rhodes' widely-followed Tumblr blog with a title that, in retrospect, seems prophetic, "Erik Rhodes: A Romance With Misery," Sire posthumously wrote, "He loved what he did, even as his public persona detailed his love/hate relationship with the industry. He was perfect -- the complete package -- a true star and a great performer -- with a notorious flair for headlines for personal drama."

"I'm still surprised," Sire said. "Even covering him as I have for the last four years, it is still terrible shock. It means something bigger for the industry too. He was one of the last true stars. It's a great loss."

A Troubled Man's Public Honesty
Unlike many others who preceded him into an early death, Rhodes made no effort to hide his struggles with his personal demons. Using interviews, his Tumblr blog and a personal blog, Portrait of an American Porn Star: James/Erik: Underneath It All, Rhodes publicly recounted the personal toll his career in adult films was taking on him.

"My name is James," Rhodes had once written. "I have worked in the adult entertainment industry for the last seven years of my life under the name Erik Rhodes. I'm not sure how I ended up here, and I don't know how i have survived this long. All i do know is that it can be a very lonely place and sometimes i need a blog to get shit off my chest."

His final entry, posted on June 9, was in response to a fan's questions about his steroid cycle. The answer was shocking: "My cycle right now...3000 mg of Test Enanthate a week, 2500 mg of Nandrolone Decaonate and 300 mg of Trenbolone Acetate. With 5iu of Human Growth Hormone everyday. I'm waiting until i pop. Or my liver to (sic) fails... which every (sic) comes first." Even for a professional bodybuilder, pumping such an extraordinary amount of anabolic steroids would be considered extraordinary.

Rhodes also posted multiple entries over the years on his problems with drugs, alcohol, and depression. In one 2010 entry, Rhodes wrote, "Tuesday night... high on pills, out till 4am. Then basically the rest of the week. I'm not sure how we make it home most nights. I tend to only remember the parts where i have force myself to snap out of letting the pills steal my soul. The part where you just feel like your sinking... and if you don't snap yourself out of it you would just melt away into the floor."

When a fan recently inquired online if he was going to Fire Island that weekend, Rhodes responded, "I'll be in Chicago... Lets see if i can hang onto my sobriety..."

Next: Skyrocketing Career Brings Fame & Problems


  • , 2012-06-15 15:40:47

    Erik Rhodes was awesome! I had no odea that Roman Ragazzi died either! With the rise of the internet, I agree, we are losing our REAL stars and it sucks. However, I do believe that the pornographic business is sleazy and requires a "darker" living; if actors wouldn’t bother with drugs or those nasty liver killing dick pills then maybe the business wouldn’t be seen as so.exploitative and diabolic. It’s an adult business and it takes an adult to handle that business.

  • , 2012-06-18 19:33:27

    It’s so sad to hear about Erik Rhodes. He was such a beautiful guy. I always admired him in the community and looked forward to seeing him at events in the city. I only wished I had the opportunity to meet him. Now that Erik has passed away, I hope he finds peace and happiness.

  • , 2012-06-18 19:56:06

    1st commenter is right on. I’ve known plenty of guys who have squirreled away their porn earnings, invested it well or become entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, a lot get caught up in the "glamor" (ironic quotes).

  • , 2012-12-28 12:32:25

    I’m very saddened to hear of this and other tragedies, but more so this one, because the passing away of Erik Rhodes in particular distresses me, and hear are my reason why. Erik Rhodes was well known by many people both throughout the adult industry world and Clubs scene, and everyone close to him seen the written on the wall. James Naughtin A.K.A Erik Rhodes pass away at the age of 30, "Wow" but I have to say this is a man who wasn’t a good natured person his own actions and feeling of entitlement rude and resist behavior in public setting where not only excused but also expected because people really believe it was apart of the performance. Well kids it wasn’t" It was all important and difficult cries for help by a young man who was a sweet and good natured as you could imagine, "but that was then". What saddens me more is how vicious the GBLT community can be over anthers choices. Especially when most, if not all of these people are being hypocritical, and sit by as this 6 ’ 3" 235Lb train head straight for a Wall. Bigger then Life the Adult Industry has become and Erick became a major force behind huge Adult film companies like Falcon, and Lucas films, I have been around for more then a decade, I began as a coat check boy in a small but profitable all Male Dancers lounge on the East Coast; New England to be specific. I’ve known plenty of guys who have squirreled away their earnings in the adult entertainment and James was one of them. On the opposing side I also have had the pressure of knowing a great deal of other who have invested their earnings well or become entrepreneurs and have also offered me personal advice that I consider to have change by life and allowed me to become successful in the path I have chosen . Unfortunately, a lot of the young guys get caught up in the "glamour" such was the case with Erik Rhodes I’ve seen the change from a good natured young man to a "Porn Star Super Monster", which I believe began with a poor self image, compound with body dysmorphic disorder, which led several years of heavy use of Anabolic steroids. We as a community should come together when another human being has succumbed to this terrible disease of the mind and body not judge and humiliate or do nothing while a brother and sister fall. I know of many people who seek out drugs an Alcohol to make it through night on stage or to ease thoughts of personal lose or regret. We as a community need to empower one another, or more of our Gods will fall.

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