LOS ANGELES — Gay adult filmmaker Toby Ross has produced and directed “Bill Eld: American Pop Culture Icon,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the notable career and troubled personal life of legendary physique pinup Bill Eld (1945-1987), one of the earliest stars of all-male adult.
Ross “worked with Eld back in the day and became well-known in his own right for writing and directing a series of artsy gay porn films,” noted David-Elijah Nahmod for the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). “Ross lit his films carefully to create a mood. His films had full dialogue and stood out from the rest.”
“Ross serves as onscreen host and narrator as he shares the story of Eld’s life. Ross did his homework,” the BAR added. “He connected with a nephew of Eld’s, who gave his blessing to the production.”
Eid’s embarked upon his career in 1970, just one year post-Stonewall.
“It was a time when being gay was not considered acceptable by the majority of mainstream society, yet Eld unashamedly shed his clothes and had sex with men on camera,” Nahmod explained. “Ross, who clearly loves his subject, tells the story of Eld’s life; the good, the bad and the ugly. He shares some fascinating and unexpected tidbits about Eld, such as the fact that he worked as a physical education teacher and a shoe salesman before entering the porn world.”
“Further into the film, Ross shows a photo of a fully-clothed Eld standing in front of a building,” noted Nahmod. “It’s a beautiful shot that could have appeared in a fashion magazine and it underscores the magnitude of Eld’s beauty.”
Ross explained that he made the film to chronicle and preserve Eld’s contribution to American culture, describing the performer in a YouTube teaser as “a gorgeous, beautiful enigma.”
“The idea that in his own way he was an icon, a ‘la Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, not just a gay icon [like] Al Parker,” Ross told the BAR. “He transcends the gay frame.”‘