Jim French, Colt Studios’ Founder, Passes at 84
With great sadness, we share the news that Jim French, the legendary g-dfather of the hypermasculine aesthetic and the founder of Colt Studios, has passed away at 84.
The announcement came via BobMizer.org, “Jim French, the male physique photographer who pioneered new standards in masculinity through his images and drawings, has died. He was 84.
According to his partner, Jeff Turner, French dies peacefully in his sleep on Thursday evening, June 15.
French was perhaps most notable for founding the Los Angeles-based gay pornography company COLT Studio. The studio celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
When male physique photographer and COLT Studio founder Jim French died in his sleep on Thursday evening, he left behind a mammoth body of work that shaped the adult film industry for decades to come.
Described by LGBT historians as “the most successful physique photography company since Bob Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild,” the studio will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year without its founder, a man who gave rise to the gay porn empire under the pseudonym ‘Rip Colt’ shortly after the Summer of Love in 1967.
As COLT grew, it became renowned not only for its striking photos and a veritable harem of models, but also for the popular magazines published under the COLT name, including Manpower, COLT Men, Spurs, and COLT Studio Presents.
French remained at the helm of COLT Studio until 2003, when he sold the company. It continues to operate, albeit now with a shifted focus to hardcore gay porn films. French’s erotic works in the years since have traveled to art galleries the world over, hailed as iconic, groundbreaking, and singularly influential.”
Adds HuffPo, “Since the days of Jim French, sexual stardom has become a self-made industry of amateur Xtube stars, requiring only a camera phone, an accident, an ex-lover’s scorn, or a rough weekend. Even our higher-end porn stars can be possessed through Facebook and Twitter, until there isn’t a shred of intrigue between “us” and “them.”
But Colt was born of an era of fantasy, its men existing only in French’s photographs. There is a tradition of these communication gaps between gay men, the narrative always broken into disparate eras with disparate priorities.”
For more on the life and work of Jim French, please see “Jim French’s Body of Work Invigorated Gay Community, Porn Industry” at BobMizer.Org, “Mystery Men: The Real Guys Behind the Myth of Jim French’s Colt Studios” at HuffPo, and “Legendary Colt Studios Founder and Male Physique Photographer Jim French Dies at 84” at BoyCulture.
To explore the work of Jim French, NakedSword has over 70 of his legendary titles.
[Visit the Colt Studios’ Theater at NakedSword]
Jim French, rest in peace. And thank you.