Erik Rhodes posed for magazine covers, DVD box covers, posters, photography books, club flyers, local gay rags, art projects, and anything else that required the image of a broad-shouldered muscle hunk with movie star good looks. Surprisingly, the only thing Erik Rhodes didn’t pose for throughout his decade-long career was a mugshot.
Looking back on his body of work (below), it’s clear that the gay adult industry lost one of its last real stars yesterday, but Erik Rhodes’ image obviously lives on—and not just in gay porn but in gay culture at large. And those who either knew him well or who never knew him at all will choose to remember Rhodes in different ways (as an icon, as a cautionary tale, as a friend, as a fantasy), which would, I think, make him both happy and miserable at the same time.
The Erik Rhodes many of us saw in Chicago last month seemed to be more happy than miserable. He seemed to be trying. In fact, I always got the sense that no matter how morbid and depressed he wanted you to think he was, he was always secretly trying to be better. He had never really given up. And I don’t think he ever really bought into his own hopelessness. I think he wanted to be happy all along. But maybe that’s just how I choose to remember him.