Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Rod Phillips (born Gregory Leslie Patton, August 23, 1960, in El Centro, California - died May 24, 1993, in West Hollywood, California) was an American pornographic actor who appeared in gay pornographic films from 1982 to 1993.
His neighbors while growing up owned a jewerly business, and Phillips was fascinated by jewelry at a young age. He learned basic gem polishing, and was knotting pearl necklaces by the age of 12. He graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1978. After graduation, he moved to Paris, Texas, where he studied jewelry making and gemology at Paris Junior College. He left school and moved to Midland, Texas, but returned to Santa Barbara in 1980.
Lee Ryder (born Darras Robert Pyron on August 3, 1959, in Norco, California - died July 10, 1991, in Los Angeles, California) was an adult film star who began doing gay adult film in 1983 at the age of 24. He was an overnight star. He was tall, lean, dark-skinned, and had a nine inch endowment. Ryder grew up in Laguna and graduated from Esperanza High School in Anaheim. Like many young gay men at the time, he discovered that the only place that would hire an openly gay man was a florist shop. He found work with Crosley's Flowers in Los Angeles, an upscale florist which handled arrangements for the VIP rooms at the Beverly Hills Hotel and on various television series. After a while, he quit his job, and traveled. He followed this pattern throughout his life, working for a florist and then quitting to visit Germany or Hawaii or Jamaica, or Panama or Switzerland.
Ryder had met a man named Glenn, who was from Massachusetts but living in Dallas. They were deeply in love. Then Glenn left him. Ryder wanted to open his own flower shop, so beginning in 1982 he began nude modelling. Within a year, he'd done several layouts and had been on the covers of three national gay porn magazines.
In late 1982 or early 1983, Ryder met Rod Phillips at the Boom-Boom Room, a popular gay bar in Laguna Beach. Ryder was 24, and Phillips 21. They were deeply attracted to one another, and spent a few months commute-dating before Phillips moved to Los Angeles. At Ryder's urging, Phillips began performing in gay porn films. The two appeared in several of the same films, with Ryder even fucking Phillips in Biggest One I Ever Saw and Winner Takes All. But problems set in. They became jealous of one another when one got paid more, and sometimes accused one another of "enjoying" the sex with a co-worker more than the sex at home. Ryder later admitted he was still in love with "Glenn from Massachusetts", and never really fell in love with Phillips.
By 1985 or so, Phillips and Ryder separated. Phillips kept working in adult film, however. In 1986, Phillips moved to Philadelphia, and then to Wayne, New Jersey (just outside New York City). But by 1988 he was back in Los Angeles, and in 1990 was back doing adult film again. He did two films that year, the first of which was Guess Who's Coming? Phillips dated gay adult film star Joey Stefano for a few months in 1990, and fucked Joey in the 1990 film Hard Steal. Phillips got out of adult film again, but returned in 1993 for Hologram.
It was the last thing he ever did. Phillips was struggling with HIV-related lymphatic prostate cancer, with which he'd been diagnosed in 1992, and undergoing extensive chemotherapy. It was taking a huge toll on him, physically. He could no longer ride his motorcycle to work, Diamonds on Rodeo Drive. He had to take a freelance position at The Gauntlet, which was two blocks from his apartment in West Hollywood. This enabled him to walk to work.
Phillips died on May 24, 1993, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He had been in good shape until early 1993, filming his last adult video in February and continuing to go to the gym every day. Rumors that he committed suicide are only rumor. His health had rapidly declined in the three weeks prior to his death, and while his passing was sudden it was not due to suicide by an overdose of drugs.