Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who is Sam Pasco and why is no one talking about him?

A long time ago, before the dawn of mankind, I bought an old x-rental at a sale. It was Ironmaster, directed by Umberto Lenzi. It was a nice, uncut, tape from VTC. A Swedish release by the way. Me and a friend watched, was amazed and entertained. We expected something like Conan, but more of a classic caveman-story with a lot of cheesy wigs, some minor gore and one strange Sam Pasco in the lead as Ela, the hero opposite the evil and greedy Vood (the always fantastic Luigi Montefiori, under the name George Eastman). What struck me with Sam Pasco was his almost complete lack of charisma, but still someone who could move in front of a camera and did the action-scenes very well. His muscular body made him almost look like a big baby, running over the fields trying to avoid the buffalos.

But who was Sam Pasco? I turned to Umberto Lenzi, the director of Ironmaster, but he couldn’t give me any answer – except that Mr Pasco was dead. So I asked Sergio Martino, the brother of the producer Luciano Martino, but he heard the same thing: Mr Pasco is dead. But he recommended me to try to contact him with the help of a medium, I might do that some day. So I turned the mighty Google and found a man, probably dead, with a more interesting career than I could imagine…

Let me introduce you to Big Max:


Colt Studio Group (If the look is Masculine, the name is COLT!) started in San Francisco in 1967, founded by famous erotic photographer Jim French. They produced glossy magazines, movie loops and various erotica with well-endowed muscular men. One of them was Sam Pasco, but he early took the name Big Max for his new movie career. As a gay man (I guess, many straight men worked and still works in this biz) and also a bodybuilder it seemed to be the perfect place to earn some money and fame. Sam also did covers for Colt Men, Mandate, Honcho and also for bodybuilding magazines like The Physical Man.

Somehow he finally got the lead in Ironmaster. How? No idea, but I guess he did audition like most actors and probably kept his gay-career from the resume, only telling them about his bodybuilding-career. Part of Ironmaster was shot in the US, South Dakota, so they probably had auditions in the US too.

In 1983, the same year as Ironmaster was released in Italy and other parts of the world, he was back in his old trade and you could find this amazing little ad in the pink pages, under models. Offering his “services” with the promise of a “movie star”, I guess both from the Colt movies (as mentioned in the ad) and maybe even Ironmaster. The same year he came in fourth in AAU Mr. America (Amateur Athletic Union) and the year after, he finished at ninth place. Both in heavyweight class.

So what movies DID Sam Pasco do actually? This is my guess:

Grease Monkey (Colt Studio)
Cli-Max (some kinda lifestyle/work out video - more info!)
Jogging with Big Max and Bruno (aka Jogging, for Bullet/Target)
Bullet Pack (Bullet/Target)
Ironmaster (1983, Umberto Lenzi)
Dunes (Bullet/Target)

He probably did more porn than this, and maybe under another alias: Mike Spanner. Dunes was, what I’ve read, under that name.



And there ends the history of Sam Pasco. No one, so far, knows what happen to him. Lenzi and Martino heard he’s dead, which could be a possibility. But me, I sincerely he hope he sits in some bar bragging about his old career, having a great time with some buddies. Or maybe remembering the past while looking out at the sea, watching the sun goes down once again over his beach bungalow.
Well, that wasn't the end to be honest. Since I wrote it two guys has updated me with some info and memories, which gives some important clues about what happen to him:

Pete:
I was obsessed with Sam Pasco back in 1975 (thereabouts) when he'd walk through the Village in a white sailor's outfit. I told my group therapy that this was my "ideal man" -- he still is. We met one night at the MineShaft, and we had sex at my place, but I was pretty poor, and couldn't really afford it on a continuing basis. I heard he died of a brain hemmorage circa 1985 (he was still alive in 1983-1984 and used to pass by my condo on East 13th St).

And...

Alan:

He was a really Big guy seen a lot on Christopher St Way back when it was Center of Gay Universe. He died at height of AIDS Epidemic but it was I believe liver failure Due to tons of steroids. He never smiled much and I think it was. because he had had a face lift and he did not want to stretch his face. It was sort of like a flat affect. Anyway, he hussled but sometimes he just slept with someone for free. I was one of those guys. He worked out at Mid-city gym in Man and hung out at The Saint disco. Course of AIDS ended all that ...  In bed he was such a Big Monster and it was Intimidating. I will always remember him.

Thanks guys! I appreciated this info a lot!

/Fred

(If you know more about the life and destiny of Sam Pasco, drop me a line and I will update this article. I would appreciate it a lot…)

I also would like to thank Umberto Lenzi, Sergio Martino and Joel S:t Germaine for trying to help me in my search for Sam Pasco.

23 comments:

CiNEZiLLA said...

Epic piece Fred!
Possibly one of the most entertaining and ORIGINAL articles I've read in a very long time!

Good work Buddy!

J.

Ninja Dixon said...

Thank you, Mr J!

I wish I could dig up more stuff about him, but what I found here is all I could find or people could remember. But I hope that I can update the article with more info sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered about that guy. I never saw him in anything else and just assumed that Sam Pasco was a pseudonym of an italian bodybuilder. Anyway, Ironmaster is a great film (Pamela Prati!) and this was a very interesting article. Thanks!

Mr_v said...

Vilken suverän info! Härligt jobbat, och tack!

Ninja Dixon said...

Thanks both of you for reading and commenting! I'm happy this could be of interest to someone out there :)

Pete said...

I was obsessed with Sam Pasco back in 1975 (thereabouts) when he'd walk through the Village in a white sailor's outfit. I told my group therapy that this was my "ideal man" -- he still is.

We met one night at the MineShaft, and we had sex at my place, but I was pretty poor, and couldn't really afford it on a continuing basis.

I heard he died of a brain hemmorage circa 1985 (he was still alive in 1983-1984 and used to pass by my condo on East 13th St).

One of his friends was Jackie, who's still alive.

Ninja Dixon said...

Pete, this is very interesting! Thanks for sharing! Do you know how he got involved in a "real" movie, Ironmaster? If that was something he was famous for during this time? It seem to have been his only adventure into non-sex movies.

Do this Jackie has a place on the web? Is it possible for me to get in contact with him?

Anonymous said...

Not adding too much here. In the mid-1980's I saw a few of his pics (had never seen or heard of him before) in a BB mag (Muscular Development, I think). He was manly, cut, and had a gorgeous face and deep blue eyes. In one pic he was wearing a Midcity Gym teeshirt. I realized that he must be in NYC (where I was). So I looked in the phonebook and found a Sam Pasco living on Bank Street in the Village. I called the number and a guy answered. When I asked for Sam, he said "this is Sam". I didn't know what to say next, so I just hung up (I was YOUNG!). I never forgot his cuts (or his eyes), and some years later I called Midcity Gym and asked to speak with Sam Pasco. The man who answered the phone told me (in the thickest NY accent ever) that "he don't come around here no more". When I asked a few more questions the guy told me he was dead. Anyway, a bunch of years after that I was in a gay shop in SF looking through old Colt mags and I saw a photo layout of Sam giving to and receiving oral from a bodybuilder I recognized as Rick Poston (another hot, hot bodybuilder). You can see Rick on YouTube.

Ninja Dixon said...

Thank you! For me it's valuable information and I appreciate it a lot!

So I guess Sam Pasco was his real name? Or could it be possible to have another name in the phone book? I'm not familiar with the regulations in the US about stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

Me again. I should have mentioned that the reason I called the Midcity Gym looking for him was he was no longer listed in the phone book. Also, you can have a phone number listed under a fake name (especially back then), but Sam Pasco is not a likely name for someone to choose, unless he was born with a really foreign sounding name and at some point had tried to make it sound less foreign. If you're really obsessed with this guy, you should try to get hold of the mag I wrote about. His pics in there were strictly G-rated, but he wasn't just hot---he was truly beautiful. If you wrote to the owner of the site musclememory.com, he might share them with you. He only posts covers, but he owns a copy of practically every muscle mag ever published.

PEPLUM cinema said...

Thanks for the info. I always wondered who Sam Pasco was. Now I know. Great find. Sam was gay and George Eastman was gay so...IRONMASTER also stars veteran PEPLUM stars Pietro Torissi and Giovanni Cianfriglia, both who would have been right at home in a COLT mag.

Ninja Dixon said...

My pleasure!

But this is the first time I've heard George Eastman is gay? Tell me more, is it a known fact?

PEPLUM cinema said...

I don't recall where I read about it...a biography on Helmut Berger?...I'm not sure...I might be mistaken but I remember when I read this info I laughed because he always plays murderers, the boogeyman and such and I thought that's so not George on screen

Ninja Dixon said...

I wouldn't be surprised actually! I will do some research. One of my favorite baddies in Italian cinema, Howard Ross, is gay - so even the ladies man no. 1: Jack Taylor :)

PEPLUM cinema said...

The Helmut Berger bio was one of the most exhaustive one I've ever read. But with tons of incredible info.

I'm a big fan of Howard Ross, who starred in many PEPLUM in the 1960s including KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE, but also starred in FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON and NEW YORK RIPPER. What a career! I'd love to meet them. I'm thinking of doing a book on the PEPLUM genre and I'd like to interview those who are still alive.

Anonymous said...

I live on Bank St in the west village and a guy came to my apt tonight to visit because he said his brother used to live there. His brother, he said, was Sam Pasco.

At first i thought he was a crazy person, but based on your stories I'm pretty sure its the same person you're writing about. He said his brother was a body builder and gay.

Unfortunately the brother said Sam committed suicide in my apt in 1986.

Ninja Dixon said...

I'm sad to hear that, but it could very well be possible! Did he say anything more? Do you have a name of this brother?

Anonymous said...

I collect euro films.i heard eastman married laura gemser.a friend mine on fb used to write for etc magazine.he posted ironmaster on his fb.we all wondered what happened to pasco since he didnt appear in anything else euro.

john massey said...

In the early 1970s, Sam Pasco was studying English literature at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.
He was going with a fellow student named Fred, I do believe. Sam got involved with one of his students who was a hunk on the wrestling team. He invited the wrestler to his place and gave him a "couple of blowjobs" according to the wrestler. Sam was a graduate teaching assistant at the time, and a senior professor got wind of what Sam did and made things very difficult for Sam. I don't think that Sam ever finished his degree at Auburn as a result of that. Jim French photographed Sam and said he was "inteligent but lazy."
Sam and Fred would usually come into Pasquali's, a pizza place, in Auburn, around 8:00 or 9:00 for coffee with a group of us. Sam rarely said much, was very quiet.

Anonymous said...

I first met Sam back in the late 70's. I was invited to a 3 way and Sam was a surprise for me. When he walked in, I was shocked and blown away. Here was this man I only dreamed of, and here he was standing in front of me. Needless to say, it was a wonderful evening. Afterwards we started to get to know each other and that's when I realized how incredibly intelligent he was, you didn't expect him to be so smart. He turned out to be very sweet and, like I said, very intelligent. After, when we would see each other on the street in the village, we would stop and chat. I played with him a few more times and it was so cool knowing I was getting for free what most people paid big bucks for. I was told he died of a drug over dose, caused by his steroid used and the fact that his large heart couldn't take the stymulation. Great guy, a real shame he's dead.

thomas watson said...

I would like to add a short segment to this series.

I had the pleasure of knowing Sam not only from meeting him in the City, but also by way of a mutual friend. Sam was from Tallahassee, FL. His stature was so large that when he first went into bodybuilding the judges had a hard time as few contestants then were as tall as he was and so well proportioned. We stayed in touch for a few years but near the end he was not in the best of health which was as on reader mentioned liver complications. Though his acting was less than stellar, he was a very down-to-earth and sincere person at all times. I still remember and miss him.
Thomas Watson

Anonymous said...

I ran into Sam at the Mineshaft in the late 70's. He reintroduced himself to me, and said we had met at Auburn University in the early 70's. I am not sure what his real name was. In the 80s when I moved to NYC I say him at gay pride on Christopher street. He was high as a kite, didn't know me but said I could feel his muscles for free! I never saw him again but do wonder what happened to him.

eduardo said...

great post dude i love vintage bodybuilder SAM PASCO was gorgeous muscle and handsome . what a pity!

I'll make a special post about sam pasco on my blog coming soon check out

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