Ron Jeremy was a Special Education Teacher Before Pursuing a Career as an Adult Film Actor

Image Courtesy of ©Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Today I found out Ron Jeremy was a special-ed teacher before pursuing a career as an adult film actor.

In college, as an undergraduate, Ron Jeremy earned both a B.A. in education and a B.A. degree in theater.  He then went on to earn a Master’s degree in special education.  His dream was to become an actor, but he pursued both education and acting, as his father had advised him to have something he could fall back on if acting didn’t work out.

Once out of college, he taught high school special education classes, specifically working with autistic children and teen schizophrenics.  He also did some substitute teaching at various New York City schools.  He soon decided teaching wasn’t for him and to pursue a career in acting full-time.  He began trying for parts in various plays around New York.  This didn’t go too well and, as he stated, he more or less “starved Off-Broadway.”

However, he soon found himself a wildly successful actor, though not quite in the way he originally imagined.  While Ron Jeremy was never a looker, today tending to more resemble a fat Mario from Nintendo’s famous game franchise, in his younger days, he was in fairly good shape and of course had his now famously long member (just under 10 inches).  Thus, he and his girlfriend decided to take nude photos of Jeremy and then submit them to Playgirl magazine in 1978. His reasons for this were as follows:

We knew women could do Playboy and that might lead to a career in theater, film. I thought I would try it out and at least get some kind of exposure, pardon the pun. So my girlfriend took the photographs and sent them to Playgirl. I thought maybe they would agree to bring me to L.A. for a layout, and while I’m in L.A. I’ll try to get some work in Hollywood. Then Playgirl called and they said we have good news and bad news. The bad news is they weren’t going to fly me anywhere. The good news is that they were going to use the pictures we had taken.

From there, he was approached to do adult films, but initially declined as he thought it was kind of “sleazy.”  However, adult films of the day usually had plots and some acting was involved; further, several adult film actors, both male and female, had managed to use that platform to get into mainstream films, so he eventually agreed.

Since then, he’s starred in well over 2000 films (a record, according to the Guinness Book of Records), directed another 281 or so, appeared in around 60 non-adult movies, including The Boondock Saints and The Chase, appeared in 14 music videos, and was a consultant for the movies Boogie Nights and 9 1/2 Weeks. Despite now being nearly 59 years old (he’ll be 59 on March 12 of this year), he continues to do adult films, and his fame has allowed him to cross over to mainstream films. He has stated that he plans on continuing to appear in adult films until it becomes a “chore,” basically when he is physically unable to do them anymore.  He further plans to continue to appear in mainstream films as long as he lives, as his favorite part of doing films, even adult films, has always been the acting.

Bonus Facts:

  • Ron Jeremy recently stated he still has a valid teacher’s license, but he obviously has no plans to return to teaching children.  Aside from the fact that he’s now a multimillionaire and doesn’t need the money, he stated, “…if parents see me with [their] kid, they’ll want to call 911.”  That being said, he does do lectures at various colleges on occasion, particularly lecturing on the adult film industry and acting and has said he wouldn’t mind teaching theater someday at the college level.
  • Ron Jeremy’s full name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt.  He dropped the “Hyatt” after his debut in Playgirl, where he used the name Ron Hyatt. He made this change after his grandmother, Rose Hyatt, who was listed in the Queens, NY phone book, kept getting calls from people– mainly gay men– who thought they were contacting Ron Jeremy.  She even had to vacate her apartment for about a month over the ordeal, and Jeremy’s father called him and told him “I don’t know what cockamamie business you are getting into. You want to do something, fine, you’re an adult, but don’t you ever use the family name again.”  So he dropped the Hyatt and just went with Ron Jeremy.
  • Ron Jeremy’s father was a physicist and his mother was a book editor, and Jeremy has said “Everyone in my family is so professional: lawyers, teachers, diplomats, one is in the CIA, a few in government… no one in my family has less than a Master’s; half of that group even has a PhD.”  His mother also served in the Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor to the CIA.  She got a job there as a cryptographer during WWII due to her ability to speak German and French fluently.  Other prominent members of the O.S.S. included Julia Child, who was a top secret research assistant there, and MLB catcher Moe Berg, who was a secret agent.  You can read more about this here: Julia Child and Moe Berg
  • Jeremy’s mother and one other family member aren’t the only connection he has to the CIA.  In High School, Jeremy was classmates with George Tenet, who served as the Director of Central Intelligence from 1997-2004.
  • George Tenet is probably most famous for telling President George W. Bush that the evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk case,” including possible nuclear weapons.  However, he later said that this statement was taken out of context and it concerned a discussion about how to convince the American people that the U.S. needed to invade Iraq.  Whether that’s true or not, he resigned his position for “personal reasons” in 2004.
  • A little-known fact about Ron Jeremy is that he once was involved in a Disney children’s show, called Bone Chillers, that aired on ABC and surrounded a  group of kids’ attending “Edgar Allen Poe High School”.  On that show, Jeremy played a monster named “Blisterface.”  In order to stop audiences (and executives at Disney) from knowing that an adult film actor was in the show, the producers disguised him to be unrecognizable and used his real name: Ronald Hyatt.
  • Another star of Bone Chillers was Linda Edna Cardellini, better known today for her roles in Freaks and Geeks, the Scooby-Doo live action films (playing Velma), and Brokeback Mountain, among others.  
  • Linda Cardellini once won a fireplace in a 1994 episode of The Price is Right.
  • Jeremy stated that he didn’t actually make most of his fortune doing adult films themselves, as they don’t pay that much for male actors and in the early days an actor would only do 10-15 films per year.  Today, adult film stars may do hundreds of movies in a year.  Where Jeremy made most of his fortune was in all the stuff that came from his exposure in adult films, such as endorsements, T-shirt sales, reality shows, celebrity appearances as various establishments, autograph signing events, etc.
  • Despite having done over 2000 adult films, Jeremy claims he’s never once contracted any STD from his career, though he has stated that before doing adult films, when he was a school teacher, he contracted gonorrhea once.
  • Jeremy got the nickname “The Hedgehog” during filming of “Olympic Fever” in 1979.  He flew to California wearing T-shirts and shorts, thinking the weather would be warm, but it was instead snowing up in the mountains where the movie was being shot.  To make matters worse, he had only a motorcycle to drive to the set, and by the time he arrived he was nearly frozen.  In order to warm up before the shoot he took a long shower, and when he came out his skin was completely pink and all his hair was standing straight out.  Bill Margold then commented: “You are a hedgehog, my friend. A walking, talking hedgehog.”  It should be noted that at the time, he was in relatively good shape; not fat as he is today.  Thus, he didn’t get the nickname, as is often claimed, because he was obese.
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