“Jack Wrangler, porn star,” is a title that Jack Wrangler was never able to shake. Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon examines the rise of one of the most popular gay icons of the 1970’s. John Robert Stillman was born into Hollywood royalty. The son of a film and television producer and a stage performer, Stillman attended Northwestern University and decided he wanted to make his own mark on the world. Taking on the stage name, Jack Wrangler, he started as a go-go dancer in gay night clubs, eventually moving into fully nude dancing and modelling, and ultimately landing in the gay porn industry. With piercing blue eyes and a swathe of wavy blond hair, Wrangler was an instant hit, even though he himself did not feel he was very attractive.
After rising to the pinnacle of gay porn, Wrangler made the switch to straight porn, earning more money and fame. Identifying as gay, the first time Wrangler had sex with a woman was on screen. He soon met singer and performer Margaret Whiting, who was 22 years his senior. Surprisingly they married, citing a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration, and not-so-much on love. By age 40 Wrangler was gently pushed out of the porn industry, where he attempted to try second careers in Broadway and producing, with limited success.
“The picture is a blazingly-paced injection of information and retro sensations, revealing Wrangler to be a puzzling, intelligent human being who greatly contrasted the perception of the adult movie world”
“Ejaculating with frank insight into the intellectual and hugely entertaining persona behind the Wrangler image, this is one hell of a ride on the rollercoaster of pornographic stardom.”
— Gay Celluloid
“By inventively using scenes from Wrangler’s films to illustrate his life, Schwarz vividly shows how porn was actually respectable cinema in the 1960s and 70s: real movies with real actors in stories that happened to include real sex.”
— Shadows On The Wall
Did You Know?
As the film Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon illustrates, Jack Wrangler, born John Robert Stillman, was the epitome of gay machismo, carrying a persona that was a mix of college jock and blue collar tough guy. A trailblazer of his time, as Wrangler created his persona he also created an industry to support it. Interestingly, Wrangler got the inspiration for his stage name from a rather unlikely place. “Jack Wrangler” was taken from a name Stillman once saw on a work shirt. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
Read our interview with Director Jeffrey Schwarz