Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Saturday, February 8, 2014

William Margold Remembers Gloria Leonard in Cinema Seen

The following tribute is written by William Margold, adult film historian and long time friend, comrade and admirer of Gloria Leonard. The Cinema Seen piece will appear in the Feb 13, 2014 edition of L.A. Xpress. Bill sent his reflections along this morning and granted permission for this article to be posted here.

CINEMA SEEN  By William Margold
Death takes the life out of us.
I offer up this sobering thought because my own life has just lost an irreplaceable element of vitality by the name of GLORIA LEONARD.
She passed away from the ravaging effects of a massive stroke a few weeks ago, unforgivably alone in the relatively unpopulated paradise that is the west side of Hilo, Hawaii.
    The wondrous woman who was worthy of an audience 25 hours a day, didn’t even have a cat or a dog to lick her face when her body gave out, and she unceremoniously collapsed in her tiny house, and was left unnoticed for over 24 hours to dwindle away in the eerie experience of watching her life flash before her eyes.
    I suggest this concept only because I had a searing slice of something similar when the Pacific Ocean slammed me onto a shore in Malibu, and then its riptide took me for an unnerving yet illuminating ride way under its waves in the summer of 1965.
    But while I only glimpsed a short subject, and then was spit back onto the shore, I suspect that Gloria got to see a double feature, the news, and even a couple of cartoons!      
    If anyone ever fulfilled the sentiment “Bigger Than Life”---it was the force of nature that reigned supreme as an Adult Entertainment Industry Icon for well over three decades.
She essentially brought her own stage with her wherever she went, and she could spellbind an audience into a state of awe when she spoke.
   The luminous lady, whose laugh conjured up the image of a percolating volcano, was without a doubt the single most impressive human being that I’ve ever known.
And with that being said, it is going to take the rest of my existence---and most likely beyond, if there is such a place--- for me to even remotely try and qualify my feelings for---and about---her.
    Historically, from her sex screen debut presence in 1976’s “The Opening of Misty Beethoven” the most lauded adult film of all-time, to her various marketing endeavors as the publisher of High Society, to her incomparable leadership on the Boards of The Adult Video Association and The Free Speech Coalition, Gloria was a dynamo of dedication to the cause of Free Speech…and to speaking freely.
    And for all those reasons, but in particular for her choosing to champion “speaking freely”…she was justifiably  honored (in January 2002) by Larry Flynt with a block of cement that now sits in front of his Hustler store in West Hollywood.
    And as the frivolity of fate would have it, I was chosen to “be cemented” as well that chilly evening, in what ranks as the proudest moment of my carnal cinema career because of having the opportunity to escort Gloria Leonard into the edifice of/for eternity. Gloria Leonard & Bill Margold Hustler Hall of Fame Inductions
     I’ve been agonizing over a way to reluctantly end this page, and then it dawned on me that the very best I could do was dedicate (donate) my own extremely controversial/unique business card (God Created Man…William Margold Created Himself) to her, so that she can hand it out (God Created Woman…Gloria Leonard Created Herself) wherever she winds up holding court.

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