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Chris Williams: In memoriam

I came across a photo of gay porn super-star Chris Williams today.

He is not forgotten.

Chris Williams did exactly two photo layouts during his career. One was for "Mandate" and the other for "In Touch." Both issues are exceedingly rare. To come across a good photo of him is like finding a diamond in the earth.

And yes, Chris Williams was a true jewel of a human being.

Chris Williams was born Todd Dunning Bart on December 22, 1967, in Fairfax, Virginia. He had a rough childhood. He was willful and energetic, and his strict parents had little patience with which to deal with their bright, loving child. By the third grade, Williams was skipping school, disobedient, running away, and more. When he was eight, he was sent to live with his grandmother in North Carolina.

He knew he was gay from as early as he could remember. His fundamentalist parents had clearly and strongly condemned his burgeoning sexuality, which created his severe emotional and relationship problems. In North Carolina, he began experimenting sexually with boys his own age and older. He lost his oral virginity when he was nine, and his anal virginity when he was 10 (although he did not top another man until he was into his late teens).

When he was 14, Chris Williams left his grandmother's home and took up residence in Washington, D.C. He lived on the streets. He became a prostitute, turning several tricks a night in order to make enough money for food to eat, and to clothe himself.

When he turned 16, he obtained a fake I.D. and began stripping in several local gay strip clubs. At the time, patrons could fondle the dancers, even masturbating them (although not bringing them to orgasm). Williams' large cock and huge balls were customer favorites. He cut his hair short, and bleached it a lighter shade of blond. He worked out at a local gym (often turning tricks for money in the steam room and showers). He lied and said he was from California in order to build a mystique about himself. He worked primarily at Chesapeake House (746 9th Street NW, now an office building; closed Sept. 1992) and Shooters (1520 Connecticut Ave. NW, now part of the Riggs Bank complex; closed Oct. 1992). He made hundreds of dollars a night, and was able to rent his first apartment. Williams was thrilled to be the object of attention, and he often said that the men who fucked him during this time taught him more about his sexuality, honesty, strong relationships and love than his family ever did.

He soon sought work as an adult film star. Two weeks after he turned 18, he did his first feature film, "Steal My Stuff," for Bijou. The owner of Bijou Studios owned a strip club/bath house/adult bookstore/sex club in Chicago. Williams had heard of the huge complex and its gay porn studio from strip club patrons in D.C., and sought work there when he was still 17. Bijou hired him, but told him he could not perform until he turned 18. He rushed to Chicago to do a film as soon as he could after his birthday. His performance in "Steal My Stuff" was outstanding.

Williams was not enamored of the stop-and-go nature of sex on the gay porn set. Nevertheless, Bijou was able to get him to return a year later at a much higher salary. And Williams turned in yet another astounding job in the now-classic film, "Making It Big." His sizzling sexual performance, obvious charisma, huge cock, massive balls and hot body brought him to the attention of Falcon Studios' Chuck Holmes.

In late 1987, Falcon paid Williams $1,000 -- then a princely sum for a gay porn star -- to appear in "Out of Bounds." It was a small role at the end of the feature, and a sloppily-made film. Williams thoroughly enjoyed his time in Los Angeles, however. He escorted heavily, making several thousand dollars. He also had sex with a large number of gay porn stars, people he had come to idolize and worship from afar. The gay nightlife was superb, the fashions fabulous, the money free-flowing, the food delicious, and there were swimming pools and drugs and sex 24/7.

Williams returned to California roughly every two months throughout 1988. He worked twice more for Falcon. His poolside scene with Robert Harris in "Perfect Summer" begins with Harris using a motorized squirtgun to douche his asshole. Williams later said it was one of the kinkiest things he'd ever done, and he loved the moans and gasps the crew made as Harris squirted his well-fucked anus. But "Spokes 2" was probably his best effort. He had a three-way with Kevin Williams and Casey Jordan, taking two cocks at once up his copious asshole. He participated in a gang-bang in the final scene; the director couldn't stop the top-men from leaving the model they were supposed to screw and fucking Williams as hard as they could. Williams loved it.

Williams snuck in a performance for Sierra Pacific along the way. He did the now-classic "Bare Tales," getting screwed by super-star Jim Pulver in a scene which still makes jaws drop. "The hot spot here is Pulver balling Williams," the authoritative Adam Gay Video Directory wrote. "I'm surprised they aren't lovers in real life, because they certainly know their way around each others' body."

Toward the end of 1988, producers at Catalina offered Williams even more money to appear in films for that studio. Williams seized the opportunity. His first film, "My Best Buddy," was a dud. The casting of the film was all wrong, and performers were paired up with men they did not find attractive.

But Williams' second film (and, unbeknownst to anyone, his final movie) was one of the best gay porn films ever made. It was "The Young Cadets," directed by Cameron Leight. The movie features Williams as -- get this -- a top. He has the hots for military academy roommate Erich Lange (who has made a recent comeback and is doing bareback videos these days). Together, they trade tales about sexual goings-on at their school before Williams leads a land-and-sea assault on Lange's tight, redheaded ass. The acting is lackluster. But the sex is top-notch. Very few films have better sexual performances than this masterpiece.

Chris Williams fully intended to return to gay porn. But two things caught up to him and cut short his career -- and his life.

In 1989, Williams was one of several prostitutes caught in the Bush I administration call-boy sex scandal, which also ensnared Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) for a time (Frank was eventually cleared of wrong-doing). Since many of the men arrested in the sting by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had fucked Williams when he was under-age, the police focused their attention on the newly-hatched porn star. Williams was arrested, threatened with a lengthy jail sentence and heavy fines, and told he would be sent to Lorton (the District's notoriously violent prison in northern Virginia). The police also threatened to put Williams in a wing with black gangs and rapists, and let the prison population know they had a gay porn star to play with. The likelihood of repeated prison gang-rape terrified Chris Williams.

Isolated, without legal counsel, uneducated and psychologically tortured, Williams agreed to testify against his former clients in order to obtain immunity from prosecution.

While the agreement kept Chris Williams out of prison, it alienated the gay community. Gay strip clubs refused to hire him. Many of his escort clients stopped using him.

Destitute and emotionally broken, Williams then learned that he had become infected with HIV.

By mid-1990, Chris Williams was homeless, eating poorly, ill and showing obvious signs of HIV infection (including KS). Under police surveillance on weekends, he was unable to support himself through prostitution. His court testimony was took several days, and destroyed the lives of many men -- most of whom had never suspected that they had hired an under-age hooker. (The police never investigated or fined the gay strip clubs for hiring an under-age dancer. Odd, eh? And Williams never ratted on the clubs, even after the club owners mistreated him. Nevertheless, the clubs turned on him, viciously.) The witch-hunt galvanized the gay community in D.C., and led to numerous changes in the way the District police conducted prostitution sweeps and stings involving the gay community. Out this scandal, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit was established within the MPD as a means of protecting the GLBTQ community from police harassment.

But all this came too late for Chris Williams.

Sometime in the final months of 1990, Chris Williams moved to Miami -- believing the warmer climate would be better for his health. It wasn't. Penniless, in very poor health, malnourished, often homeless and without income for medication, his physical condition deteriorated rapidly.

Chris Williams died at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on September 11, 1991. He was 24 years old.

As he lay dying, Chris Williams made extensive videotapes renouncing his 1990 court testimony. His deathbed confessions exposed the psychological manipulation techniques of the D.C. police. Williams asked that the hundred hours of videotape be given freely to every man accused of wrongdoing in the prostitution sting. Chris Williams died not knowing whether this would make a difference. But it did. A number of men had their convictions reversed, and others had their sentences and fines reduced.

By all accounts, Chris Williams was a sweet, gentle, caring individual who continuously gave of himself. Deeply scarred emotionally, he nevertheless opened his heart whenever anyone asked him to. His outlook on life was positive, his willingness to help others boundless, and his sensitivity to others' needs almost psychic in nature. He delighted in providing his body to others; it was all he had to give, and so he gave it -- freely, graciously, joyously. He never begrudged sex to anyone. He was thrilled to be the object of anyone's attentions.

Chris Williams had his dark side as well. He could be incredibly bitchy and cruel at times, especially when he felt that someone had wronged him or taken advantage of him. His self-esteem was non-existent, leading to deeply self-destructive behavior.

But his intelligence, love and selflessness was obvious to anyone who knew him. Men marveled at how much of his life had been squandered. If he had only had more supportive parents, if he had only been counseled about his sexuality rather than forced to deny it, if he had only been given the opportunity and assistance to obtain an education rather than simply been ejected from school... His mind was like a sponge, eagerly absorbing knowledge. His creativity was boundless, exciting and shockingly original. He had no inhibitions, and sought out new experiences, new feelings, new thrills, new ideas and new people constantly.

Some people said Chris Williams was nothing but a stupid, naive whore. He spread his legs for anyone, idiotically seeking self-worth through sex.

That couldn't have been further from the truth.

Chris Williams gave of both his body and his soul, freely and generously. All he asked was that someone love him.

No one did.

But Chris Williams is not forgotten. He made only nine films. But those nine movies portray some of the most honest, joyful, sincere and powerful sexual performances on film. He changed people's lives with his sexual acting. Thousands of men all over the world can point to Chris Williams' films and say, "I learned about my sexuality watching him." Thousands of men can point to his magazine layouts and say, "I learned about beauty from him." Thousands of men -- myself included -- can point to his performance and say, "I saw truth there. I saw honesty there. I saw a man who did not hide his sexuality, was not ashamed of who he was. I saw a man who took joy from his body and the bodies of others, and did not see guilt or wrong in that. I want to be like that man."

The afterlife is open to Chris Williams. There, all tears are kissed away. All bitterness and pain are left behind like an old garment, shrugged off. As he so freely and willingly gave of himself in life, so he will freely be given the joy and love he desperately sought on earth, and which he so richly deserves.

That's not treacle. That's truth.

You are deeply, sorely missed Chris Williams. Truth.

Chris Williams filmography
Bare Tales (Sierra Pacific, 1988)
Making It Big (Black Forest Prods., 1987)
My Best Buddy (Catalina, 1988)
New Zealand Undercover (Marathon Films, 1987)
Out of Bounds (Falcon, 1987)
Perfect Summer (Falcon, 1988)
Spokes 2 (Falcon, 1988)
Steal My Stuff (Bijou, 1986)
Young Cadets (Catalina, 1988)

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Thanks for sharing it with public. It's so sad but those who can feel sadness are true people.
I think he knows now that he's remembered even from beyond.

Someone should remember him. He is absolutely, totally worth remembering.

God.. This article made me cry... Sucks... This kid was so young and it's so unfair what happened to him ;(

thanks for the author though, I learned a lot

I shall remember him on every 11th September, such a tragic life story!
Thank You for Shareing

Thank you for this sharing Chris Williams story! I know he has been gone for 23 years but his story had to be told and the way you did it was so special. For only a 24 year old boy, he saw so much misery and manipulation but his videos will live on forever! I had read your article like 5 times as it moves me every time! I wish someone was there to be his friend and guide him but his death was not in vain! Thank You again!!!!

You're welcome, Paul. It was a really sad story.

Unfortunately, his legacy is being dismantled. The Lesbian and Gay Unit of the D.C. police has been slowly disbanded by the current police chief, Cathy Lanier. Its staffing was cut, and cut, and cut again, and it is largely moribund. This unit was the major legacy of Chris' death. He was -- let's be honest -- tortured by D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department and a false confession torn from him. The LGBT unit was created to give LGBTQ people an advocate within the police force itself, and to help avoid the kind of things which befell Chris at the hands of the cops. That unit is now gone.

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