Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$1 Thousand
Aug 8, 1944 - Mar 13, 1988 (43 years old)
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Pornographic actor
United States of America
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What was John Holmes's Net Worth?

John Holmes was an American adult film actor who had a net worth of $1,000 at the time of his death in 1988. John Holmes was among the most prolific performers in the history of adult film. He was particularly well known for his exceptionally long, thick penis, which he showcased in nearly 600 films. Toward the end of his life, which was claimed by AIDS complications, Holmes became notorious for his alleged involvement in the 1981 Wonderland murders in Los Angeles.

Holmes has been the subject of many books, two documentaries, and a long essay in Rolling Stone. He was also the inspiration for the Hollywood movies "Wonderland" and "Boogie Nights". In "Wonderland" he was portrayed by Val Kilmer and his life was portrayed very close to reality. In "Boogie Nights", Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Digler character was closely inspired by Holmes.

John Holmes passed away on March 13, 1988 at age 43 from complications due to AIDS.

Early Life

John Holmes was born as John Estes on August 8, 1944 in Ashville, Ohio to Mary June and Carl. Previously, his mother had three children named Dale, Edward, and Anne with her husband Edgar, whom she married and divorced three times. While his mother was a devout Southern Baptist, Holmes's stepfather was a raging alcoholic who would typically arrive home completely smashed. Holmes would often escape the situation by visiting his maternal grandparents. Eventually, he moved with his newly divorced mother to Columbus, Ohio, where they resided in a housing project with a family friend. Holmes's mother went on to get remarried to Harold Bowman, after which the family moved to Pataskala, Ohio. From the marriage, Holmes gained a half-brother named David.

Military Service and Career Beginnings

When he was 15, Holmes enlisted in the US Army. He spent three years in the service, with the majority of his time being in the Signal Corps in West Germany. Following his discharge in 1963, Holmes moved to Los Angeles, where he took a number of odd jobs. Among them was a door-to-door salesman, ambulance driver, and forklift driver at a meatpacking warehouse. Due to his time in the lattermost job, which involved sudden transitions from desert-hot air to a walk-in freezer, Holmes developed a pneumothorax of his right lung.

Adult Film Career

Holmes began his career in the adult film industry in the late 60s. At first, he did nude modeling for underground magazines and appeared in the occasional porn film. Holmes had his breakthrough in 1971 when he started playing private investigator Johnny Wadd in a series of adult films centered on the character. Written and directed by Bob Chinn, the Johnny Wadd films were highly successful. Titles in the series include "Flesh of the Lotus," "The Danish Connection," "Liquid Lips," "The Jade Pussycat," and "The Return of Johnny Wadd," released in 1986 as the final entry in the series.

Overall, Holmes racked up nearly 600 pornographic film credits during his career. Beyond the Johnny Wadd series, some of his other notable titles include "Confessions of a Teenage Peanut Butter Freak," "Dracula Sucks," "Insatiable," "Prisoner of Paradise," "Young & Hung," and "Looking for Mr. Goodsex." Holmes's final two pornographic film credits were "The Rise of the Roman Empress" and "The Devil in Mr. Holmes," both shot in Italy.

Penis Size

Although no definitive measurement exists, Holmes was renowned for what appeared to be an exceptionally long and thick penis. According to veteran pornographic actress Dorothiea Patton, he had the biggest member in the adult film industry; Holmes himself claimed it was 16 inches long and 13 inches in circumference, stats which have been widely dismissed as self-aggrandizement. A more realistic estimate of his length was likely around 12.5 inches. His size also caused debate about whether he was ever able to get a full erection.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Crimes and Drugs in the 70s

In the 70s, Holmes was arrested for pimping and pandering. However, he was able to avoid prison time by serving as an informant for the Los Angeles Police Department. Holmes continued to ventured further into criminality in order to fund his growing addiction to cocaine. He got involved in prostitution, drug-dealing, credit card fraud, and petty theft.

Wonderland Murders

Due to his drug habits, Holmes was closely associated with the Wonderland Gang, a cadre of Los Angeles drug dealers involved in the cocaine trade in the 70s and early 80s. However, he eventually fell out of favor with the gang. To win his way back in, he told Wonderland members Ronnie Lee Launius and David Clay Lind about a major cache of drugs, money, and jewelry that was supposedly being held by drug dealer and nightclub owner Eddie Nash. Holmes subsequently helped organize a home invasion and armed robbery of Nash's home.

After forcing a confession of the robbery from Holmes, Nash sent him along with some others to get revenge on the Wonderland Gang. On the first of July in 1981, four of the gang's members were found slain in their Laurel Canyon rowhouse. Although Holmes was reportedly present during the killings, it was not established if he committed any of the murders. Moreover, he refused to cooperate with the police investigation and was released on a lack of evidence. Holmes then went on the lam for five months before he was arrested in Florida in late 1981.

Murder Trial

In 1982, Holmes was charged with committing all four of the Wonderland murders. His subsequent three-week trial was a landmark in American courtroom procedure for being the first to use video as evidence. Ultimately, Holmes was acquitted of all murder charges, but was convicted of contempt of court, for which he served some months in jail.

Personal Life and Death

Holmes was diagnosed with HIV in early 1986. He didn't initially disclose this information, and performed in his final two adult films without anyone being aware of his diagnosis. In early 1987, Holmes wed Laurie Rose after telling her he had AIDS. Later in the year, he was admitted to the hospital, where he passed away in March of 1988 at the age of 43.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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