LOS ANGELES — Morty Gordon, the founder of specialty porn pioneer Bizarre Video, has passed away.
Gordon died of a heart attack on April 12 in Florida, where he had been retired for the past six years. He was 76.
“He had been in the industry for a long time and a lot of people cared about him,” Morty’s son Keith Gordon told XBIZ Monday.
Morty Gordon founded Bizarre in his native New York in 1985, where the company was based until the mid-2000s. More than three decades later, Bizarre remains one of the most enduring brands in the adult industry with a name that's synonymous with fetish-themed and specialty adult content.
“It’s a three-generation, family-run business,” Keith said. “My dad put all the time and effort and pain and suffering into the adult industry and never gave up. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it was back in the ’80s and ’90s to be in the adult industry, and what you had to go through with the government and the obscenity laws. And he felt that this content wasn’t obscene. He believed it was a product people wanted and needed and he made sure that people got it whether the government wanted it to happen or not. He fought many court battles and won.”
Now a 22-year industry vet himself, Keith said that as he came up through the ranks one thing remained a constant regarding his father, regardless if he was talking to the owners of the biggest store chains or a mom-and-pop operation.
“Every person had the deepest respect for my dad. He was a very wild, unique man,” Keith continued. “He just pushed everything to the extreme. He lived life to the fullest. He never did anything half-assed. He did it 100 percent or he didn’t do it.
“When we were at the trade shows, he had to have the biggest booth. He had to have the biggest fetish company in the world, not just the U.S. We had over 1200 titles and we were pretty much in every country in the world. My dad taught me the business, sent me all over America selling. Then after we got our product all over the States, he sent me to Europe to sell.”
Keith said that his father hired the top directors available to shoot for Bizarre, “from Chi Chi LaRue to Fred Lincoln to Patty Rhodes and Ernest Greene.”
“We shot fetish movies that Playboy put on cable. No other fetish company could say that,” Keith said, noting that Nasstoys founder Teddy Rothstein was like a brother to his father.
The younger Gordon now runs a toy fulfillment company called Joy Hollywood in addition to managing an offshoot toyline called Joyful Pleasure. The Gordon family still maintains sole ownership of the Bizarre catalog, which is available on both VOD and DVD.
“My dad was probably the most honorable man you could ever meet,” Keith said. “He taught me that being fair in business was where you should be. Never once did he ever sell a product to the customer and say, ‘You’re stuck with it. I’m not taking it back.’ He always did the right thing by every customer we ever had. In this day and age you don’t see that too often.”
Keith said that his sister Ellen was working on memorial arrangements in Florida.