John Holmes

August 28th, 2010


Included on this page are condensed quotes from critic reviews that have accumulated since the publication of John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches.  Various biography interviewees have also expressed their impressions of the book.



L.A. Times Film Critic comments: “I was impressed at how thorough and definitive it was.” — Kenneth Turan

Book Reviewer for The Commercial Dispatch and Columbus, Mississippi psychiatrist writes:  “Sugar and Nelson have not just given an account of Holmes’s unique life, although they have done that in astonishing detail.  They have not been obsequious in praise of “The King,” nor have they neglected to detail his many flaws without excusing the questionable morality of some of Holmes’s off-screen actions (whatever you think of his on-screen ones).” – Rob Hardy

Senior Editor of Playboy Magazine and The Playboy Advisor contributes his thoughts: ”John Holmes is probably best known for his role as private detective Johnny Wadd. Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson have written the definitive biography of John Holmes based largely on interviews they did with everyone involved in his life. It’s a very fascinating book and has a lot of different voices in it.” Chip Rowe

Senior Editor of AVN magazine remarks: “John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is packed with information that even the closest student of the porn legend’s life may not be aware of. Holmes’ life story, told primarily in the words of the interviewees, like an oral history, is endlessly fascinating.

The book has some terrific extras: an amazingly thorough filmography (and loopography) as well as detailed reviews of the major movies. This is no small achievement.” — Jared Rutter

Film Threat described ”Inches” this way: “Emotionally exhausting, but a truly compelling real-life story.” — Phil Hall writes: “John Holmes: a Life Measured in Inches is the first book by authors Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson and is a work of considerable scope, ambition and importance in its chosen field. Indeed Sugar and Nelson have taken a subject inherently problematic – the history and scholarship of the adult film – and rendered it lucidly accessible to all, whether fans of adult material or not and whether male or female.” — Robert Cettl

SKUNK Magazine sums up “Inches”: John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is to porn what the bible is to religion, the best detailed acccount of a king.” — MI

The author of the “Whatever became of?” series, had this to say about, “A Life Measured in Inches”: “Long overdue, precisely researched and a breezy read.” — Richard Lamparski

Sex provides an analysis of “Inches: “From the first recorded scene with “snowballing” to Holmes’ preference to brunettes, A Life Measured in Inches offers an incredible gamut of information. The book concludes with a consummate filmography of John’s works, along with selected feature film reviews and the delineation of 150 loops, 306 features, and 27 compilations.

The vicissitudes of Holmes’ life offer a thought-provoking view of a time past, of a life lived dangerously and passionately. A Life Measured in Inches is a must-have for any fan of John Holmes and anybody interested in the origins of the fastest growing and most internationally lucrative industry today.” — A. Nicaj

Co-Chairman of the XRCO and adult movie critic summarizes “Inches” and its collaborators: “Sugar and Nelson seem to be remarkably accurate for such a confusing life as John’s. It is a great read.” — Dick Freeman

Michigan Mittenlit book reviewer expresses: “Instead of unverified accounts given by outsiders with no obvious connection to Holmes, these authors included the personal accounts of many of his peers which allow readers an inside view into Johnny Wadd’s troubled life.

Jennifer Sugar and Jill Nelson provide the reader with hundreds of synopsis’ of Holmes’ films including little-known reels from the earliest days of pornography that conclude with brazenly poignant reviews such as “…John gets the girls prepped for a shared facial—a personal memento from Mr. Big.” — Ben Castanier

Hustler Canada exclaims about “A Life Measured in Inches”: “The end result is a captivating, heart-wrenching account of Holmes life related through intense interviews with his loved ones, colleagues, business associates and follow stars. Rounded out with narrative links, previously-unreleased photos and a stunning index of every Holmes production throughout his career, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is a long overdue tribute to one of the adult industry’s pioneers, let alone the industry itself.” — Keith Carman

Canadian adult film historian and critic says: “It is a thorough and complete biography. And the filmography and synopses really takes it to a higher level, makes it a reference volume as well.” — Dimitrios Otis @

Buyer for Chapters-Indigo book stores (Canada) states: “Exhaustive and impressive.” — Michael Nicholson

Editor of the Village Voice sexuality blog, “Naked City” summarizes: “Chocked full of primary sources… This book is an excellent piece of porn history. You learn a whole lot about John Holmes and also about porn in the 70s and 80s.” — Audacia Ray

The editor of Ottawa X-Press remarks: “An intimidating piece of literature. Comprehensive.” — Cormac Rea

AV Maniacs comments: “Holmes makes for a fascinating subject and the care and attention to detail put into this project, the obvious desire to paint an honest portrait of his life rather than to simply focus on the more sensationlist aspects of it, makes this a book very much worth reading.” — Ian Jane

America’s “beloved porn journalist” observes: “Inches is an excellent companion piece to Cass Paley’s and Rodger Jacobs’ 1998 documentary Wadd: The Life And Times of John Holmes. Holmes is iconic in American and porn culture for many of the same reasons rock stars are: unchecked fame and ego, low self esteem and an addictive personality, a personal magnetism and, beneath it all, a gift that destroyed him in the end.” — Gram Ponante

Veteran writer for Adult FYI exclaims: “The book John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches is an oral history of the most famous and controversial porn star of all time… blizzard of quotes and assembly of porn junkie recollections and anecdotes… fascinating book by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson…” — Gene Ross

Mr. Skin Magazine concludes: “Since its publication this year, the book, which also serves as an oral history of the Golden Age of porn, has become regarded as the definitive biography of adult cinema’s most famous leading man.” — C.G. Hilliard

Cindi’s Naked Truth author writes, “This book is the TEXT BOOK on John Holmes and his era of porn. There is so much detail! Currently rated 5 stars on, this is a must read for all porn history buffs.” — Cindi Loftus @

Vice Magazine (Canada) writes: “A Life Measured In Inches serves up details on pretty much every aspect of Holmes’ life. It turns out to be a ridiculously well-researched, unbiased account of Holmes’ life. It’s also got a brief but notable history of the American adult film industry, which every good porn-addict should read.” — Mel C.

Midnight Movie Mayhem critic cites A Life Measured in Inches (and two other biographies on porn legends) as a superior book to Legs McNeil’s The Other Hollywood in this reference: ”Chapters rehashing Deep Throat (1972), the ultimate Abel-offs-Cain outcome of the makers of Behind the Green Door (1972), and the long, strange drip of John Holmes present amateur encapsulations of stories properly and grippingly documented in the respective tomes The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville and X-Rated: The Mitchell Brothers – A True Story of Sex, Money, and Death by David McCumber and John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson.” — – Grindhouse News and Cult Film Reviews


Bio Interviewees:

John Holmes’ godson shares a heartfelt sentiment: “[A Life Measured in Inches] paints a picture of someone who once meant everything to me, in a light that I can honestly say touched me.

There was the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. There was so much of the real him in the book, of the John I knew. And not just in my stories, but in those told by others.” — Sean Amerson

Veteran film director and creator of the Johnny Wadd series recently summed up the biography: “A comprehensive survey of a great tragedy.” — Bob Chinn

Holmes’ premier leading lady, The Platinum Princess herself, weighs in: “It has taken a long time but these two ladies got it dead spot on as far as it has to do with John C. Holmes.” — Seka

Former L.A.P.D. homicide detective writes: “A real insider’s look into the life of John Holmes. The many quotes throughout the book give an interesting and insightful perspective to the Holmes story.” — Tom Lange

Holmes’ friend and photographer states: “‘A Life Measured in Inches’ should be in every library. It is a historical piece.” — Joel Sussman

Former L.A.P.D. homicide detective and President of Hope Coming Ministries in Simi Valley writes: “I was impressed by the detective work you did.” — Frank Tomlinson

Well respected actor and erotic film director claims: “It is a fine, sensitively written piece of work. I am very pleased and proud to be a part of it. It will always be the definitive work on Holmes and it’s a great read.  Congratulations.  the little giant” –  the late Jamie Gillis

The psychologist who counselled John Holmes and others at L.A. County men’s jail, and author of the new book, Without Remorse writes: “Thank you for doing such a great job writing Inches. You put a lot of love and effort into the project. Whenever I even look at the cover I remember the ‘Wadd’. I’m sure he would appreciate the book also. Great Job.” — Dr. Vonda L. Pelto, Ph.D.

Former Golden Age starlet, who did her first film with John Holmes shares her thoughts: “This is an amazing biography! By far, it is the best and most balanced account of John Holmes and the most truthful book about the adult film industry that has ever been written.” — Rhonda Jo Petty

Former Holmes comrade and fellow performer writes: “Thanks for quoting me word for word, unlike other interviews I have participated in.” — Don Fernando

Erotic movie legend, exclaims: “You did a fabulous job!” — the late Marilyn Chambers.

Holmes friend and former sexploitation actress writes:  “I didn’t put it down for 3 days.  Of course, I had a personal reaction.  The usage of all the peoples’ comments was well utilized and helped bring the book to life.  John’s life through this book would make a better movie than Wonderland.  The early Golden years were just that.  The end was so sad.  Well done.”  — Barbara Mills

A Hollywood scriptwriter says: “It tells the whole story about the man. It’s the truth, not someone’s fabricated tale of the life. It’s a page turner and absolutely compelling. Kudos, ladies. You did an amazing job.” — Raven Touchstone

Porn’s Ambassador reflects in the 02/09 SWANK piece, “John Holmes versus Ron Jeremy”: “And in the final analysis [Sugar and Nelson] present a fair, balanced and complete look at “The King”, John Curtis Holmes, without anti-porn hysteria on one hand, and without sugar-coating on the other — just the good, the bad and the ugly of one man’s life. May ‘The King’ rest in peace.” — Ron Jeremy

The director of Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story and John Holmes former girlfriend is short but sweet: “Jennifer and Jill have done a very fine job.” — Julia St. Vincent

John Holmes’ widow states: “After watching the film, Wonderland, Jennifer and Jill believed there was more to John Holmes. They have put a lot of research into this book and interviewed many people. I find the biography refreshing. I am proud of the book and I am proud of them.” — Laurie Holmes

John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches © 2008 Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson. All Rights Reserved.
John Holmes