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Robert Lombard

I can't recall exactly when I first met Robert Lombard, but I remember very clearly the first time I heard about him. I was arguing that not since the 1980s has any band been worthy of praise and love. My example of greatness was the early years of Van Halen. "You and your fucking Van Halen!" director Barrett Blade barked. "You know, you should really meet Robert Lombard."

Lombard was once a pivotal member of the Van Halen camp, collaborating on some of their celebrated music videos, such as "Jump" (producer, nominated for three MTV Awards, 1984) and "(Oh) Pretty Woman" (director, banned from MTV).

Upon first meeting the 61-year-old, white-haired Lombard, one would never guess he's a major player in the adult business.

He's charming, generous and honest.

Born July 1, 1945, in Rockford, Ill., Lombard spent his early years just like any normal American boy, dreaming first of becoming a fireman or policeman and later thinking he wanted to pursue medicine or law.

"My special dream," Lombard says, "the one that always seemed to surface alongside the occupation or career dreams I had at the time, was to always be liked and respected." He pauses, smiles and adds: "And famous, too!" Lombard's early aspirations soon became a memory (except for one year of law school), and he found himself doing pretty much the opposite of what he hoped he would.

"I was selling packaging and labeling," he reminisces. "Around my eighth year with the same company, I was promoted to sunny California to start up their West Coast division developing clients like Arrowhead Water and Farmer John Meats. I started calling on the record labels to see if I could sell them their disc labels, album promotion stickers and the like. That is where the desire to be in the record business came into focus.

"I applied to a company called Compact Video [now called Laser Pacific] to become a salesman, calling on various production companies and producers to sell them on the idea to use Compact Videos' remote video trucks and post-production facilities."

This was an insane time in Lombard's life, what with it being the decadent '70s in Los Angeles, where all the best music and drugs seemed to be. Through some connections at Warner Bros. Records, Lombard rubbed elbows with the musical elite, eventually leading to a starter-level gig as a production assistant for a well-known music director.

Lombard quickly moved up the ladder and soon was the production executive for a Fleetwood Mac concert, which led to a short stint filming the band's tour.

From 1978-1990, Lombard worked with many rock bands, including Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pink Floyd and Van Halen. He lived the rock 'n' roll life, taking mass amounts of drugs and alcohol. But all the good times ended quickly, and by early 1990, Lombard found himself a complete mess, broke and unemployed, an alcoholic at the end of the line.

Something had to change. First step: quit the drugs. Second step: find a new career.

Lombard has been sober now for 17 years. He credits it for his ability to pick up the broken pieces of his life and succeed again, this time in a new medium: pornography.

"I was broke and busted," Lombard says. "I was not to be trusted, trying to stay on a path of recovery from drugs and alcohol. I started working for a management company — for $10 per hour — that represented actors, character-actor types. A girl [Monique Parent] walked in who reminded me of Ava Gardner, and on her register sheet she stated she was comfortable with nudity, both partial and full, along with performing simulated sex on camera.

"Seeing the breakdowns every day, I was always noticing many roles available for actresses who were comfortable with nudity and simulated sex. This was appearing to be another career break, or what I was calling things like this being sober, a 'God shot.'"

Lombard quit his job and began managing Parent on his own. Soon more girls came aboard, and Creative Image Management (CIM) was born.

Not one to blend in with the herd, Lombard took a detour on the hardcore porn expressway, instead setting up shop as a casting director and producer following the recommendation of MRG Entertainment, which is now owned by New Frontier Media, to handle the casting and some producing duties for its late-night erotic cable programs on HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, the Movie Channel, BSkyB, iNDemand and Starz. Most recently, Lombard worked with a new player on the block, Dusk Till Dawn Entertainment.

Representing and casting much of the sought-after adult stars for their softcore gigs, Lombard has made a major name for himself as a no-nonsense, fun and energetic component to the late-night sex game.

In a business overflowing with sleazy, greedy tyrants, Lombard has remained a gentleman throughout his 17-year career in the skin trade, which is why such key talents as Monique Alexander, Jessica Drake, Kirsten Price, Kaylani Lei and Sydnee Steele have joined forces with CIM to act in late-night cable programs. Lombard was the first to use porn stars in the R-rated cable business and is likely the best at what he does. Everyone has kind words to say about the man; Barrett Blade referred to him as "the most wonderful and generous person in porn," and Wicked's Kirsten Price asserted that he is "beyond sweet... a real joy to be around."

With 100-or-so movies under his belt, Lombard has certainly grown from the boozing loser he says he was in 1990 before he found sobriety and a new calling in the adult entertainment business.

The series "Confessions of a Porn Star" is one of the most viewed softcore series in the world, and the "Best Sex Ever" series played on HBO for 26 episodes over a two-year span.

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