JOHN HOLMES: A LIFE MEASURED IN INCHES (NEW 2nd EDITION) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering
Sell Us Your Item
For a $7.82 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading JOHN HOLMES: A LIFE MEASURED IN INCHES (NEW 2nd EDITION) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

John Holmes, a Life Measured in Inches [Paperback]

Jennifer Sugar , Jill C. Nelson , William Margold
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.95
Price: $28.12 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
You Save: $1.83 (6%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Want it Tuesday, July 15? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover $38.66  
Paperback $28.12  
$7 Showcase Weekly Deals in Biographies & Memoirs
Browse the showcase weekly book deal featuring select paperback and hardcover titles for $7. Learn more

Book Description

August 8, 2008 1593933029 978-1593933029
"The tree of life represents the roots of man. The branches are the different directions a man can take, live or exist. When you're dead, those that you leave behind will put you in a part of that tree. It represents what was, what is and what will be. It's eternal." -- John Holmes. Most people might, understandably, predict that the world's first porn star was a woman, but they would be wrong. John Curtis Holmes was just a simple country boy from Ohio when he moved to California in 1964. It was the infancy of hardcore, so in Holmes' wildest dreams, he could not have predicted the turbulent ride on which he had embarked by publicizing his private parts. With the fame he achieved by playing his most famous character - a gun toting detective named Johnny Wadd - came money. Holmes was pleased to spend it on his wife and mistresses, but soon was in over his head after he became addicted to cocaine. Unfortunately for Holmes, in the years that followed, his addiction led him into several desperate choices - including setting up a robbery at the home of Ed Nash, a powerful L.A. nightclub owner. The robbery resulted in one of the most gruesome, unsolved, multiple-murders in Hollywood history. Amazingly, before his untimely death in 1988, Holmes regained his momentum, remarried and rebuilt his life and career. However, the grave consequences of his addiction, his association with the Wonderland murders, and his AIDS-related death made him an infamous figure in pop culture. Digging past the stigmas, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches - the first biography about John C. Holmes - unearths the human being behind the penis and proves that there was more to him than could be measured in inches. This biography includes material from the authors' new interviews with: Laurie Holmes, Bill Amerson, Bob Chinn, Julia St. Vincent, Detective Tom Lange, Detective Frank Tomlinson, Paul Thomas, Ron Jeremy, Seka, Marilyn Chambers, Candida Royalle, Rhonda Jo Petty, Dr. Sharon Mitchell, Bill Margold, and many others! Also included is additional source material containing extensive interviews with: Sharon Holmes, Dawn Schiller, Dr. Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., and L.A. Times film critic, Kenneth Turan. With 114 reviews of John's most notable feature films, 86 loops synopses, 3 photos sections including rare nudes, and a comprehensive 21 page filmography.

Frequently Bought Together

John Holmes, a Life Measured in Inches + The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes + Porn King: The Autobiography of John C. Holmes
Price for all three: $61.81

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Editorial Reviews


"Authors Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson separate legend from fact and piece together Holmes' strange and often tragic story. The result is an emotionally exhausting yet truly compelling real-life adventure." --Phil Hall, Film Threat 

"Whether or not, you were a fan of Mr. Wadd, you won't be able to put down this fascinating biography by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson." (March 2009 - Book of the Month) --Keith Valcourt, HUSTLER Magazine

"In addition, to some of the most detailed looks at more than 200 Holmes' video and loops, the two have written a remarkable piece of film history using oral histories of the participants to carry the narrative." --Bill Castanier, Lansing News

"Holmes' life is truly laid bare for the reader, with no details withheld about his marriages, his lovers, his movies, his involvement with the horrific so-called Wonderland Murders, his 1986 AIDS diagnosis and his death." --Marq, XX Factor

"Indeed Sugar and Nelson have taken a subject inherently problematic - the history and scholarship of the adult film - and rendered it lucidly accessible to all, whether fans of adult material or not and whether male or female." --Robert Cettl,

From the Author

The second expanded edition of this biography was published on October 31, 2011. It contains updated information and over 25 new photos, some never-before-seen.  For those of you who are new to the book, we encourage you to journey through the life and times of the world's most legendary icon in the history of erotic cinema: John Curtis Holmes -- Jennifer Sugar & Jill C. Nelson - October 31, 2011

Product Details

  • Paperback: 584 pages
  • Publisher: BearManor Media (August 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593933029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593933029
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Book! August 11, 2008
Well, I finished reading "Inches" yesterday and want to say that this is a VERY good, in depth,well researched biography of John Holmes that takes the reader from Holmes's child hood in Pataskala Ohio to his death from AIDS in California 43 years later .

The amount of detail in the stories told by various people who knew him over the course of his life was very extensive with a lot more additional information on Holmes in front of the camera and also his private life, than any of the video documentaries on his life that I have seen over the past few years.

My own main thrust of interest about Holmes since I was a young 18 year old in Southern California when the WONDERLAND killings happened in 1981, has been this crime and also the double life that Holmes had led in the years previous to this. I have read just about everything pertaining to the WONDERLAND murders, and seen every documentary made, but there were many things in "Inches" that have never been included in previous projects on his life....MANY things.

One of the things that really does stand out in the book in my own opinion are the stories that Sean Amerson told. This guy really loved John a lot growing up and I think that while everyone missed him when he passed,Sean may have been the one who missed him most of all.

Great book Jennifer and Jill! If this could have been any better, I don't know how.
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Bio on the Biggest Porn Star September 8, 2008
After having watched Boogie Nights and Wonderland I really wanted to read a biography about John Holmes and was disappointed that there wasn't one available. Then low and behold one appears on! I immediately picked it up and was extremely impressed.

It is written as an oral history so the authors weaved John's life story around long quotes from the people who actually knew John. I prefer that over those biographers who just make up all kinds of stuff about their subject and never say where they got the information from.

This book gives you John's complete story starting with his childhood and ending with his death of AIDS. It presents John in a fair light never descending into tabloid territory with its coverage of his many negative deeds but also not shying away from talking about them. After reading this bio I got the impression that John was a deeply flawed man but also had a very big heart. It gave me a much better idea of who John was than either movie.

The book also includes lots of rare photos of John along with some of the essential classics. It also has a very in-depth movie review section in case you feel like checking out some of his work after you read the book.

This book is perfect for any Holmes fan as it includes lots of new stories and is also the perfect (and only) place to start if you are just getting into the Holmes scene and want to find out the true story of The King.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Holmes June 23, 2012
By cervo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. The Holmes history of getting into the business, how the whole industry evolved and then his demise as one of the pioneers of moving on from the "glamorous" drug of powder cocaine to the seedy life of becoming a free-basing cocaine freak, the people he was involved with while supporting his habit and eventually the murders in one of LA's most gruesome crimes. I found the end of the book very disturbing for me when Holmes knowingly participated in several porn movies while knowing he was HIV positive and most likely already AIDS defined. What makes this even more disturbing not only the fact he exposed others to HIV but also how almost every person in this book portrays Holmes as someone very caring, sensitive, and would never hurt anyone, unprotected sex while knowingly being HIV positive, somehow i don't get caring and sensitive from that. I also found besides Holmes and maybe even more so then Holmes himself the most interesting person in the book was his wife, Sharon Holmes. What a dirt-bag she was, 19 plus years of marriage standing by her man while he drugged, diseased, robbed, conspired, lied, cheated, set up people to die,had sex with men, relationships with teenage girls and Sharon supported her man through it all!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many lessons here September 5, 2008
First its a good read and i do recommend you buy it.The lessons are many including what drugs and bad friends can do to you.There were many likable qualities to him as a person but you also learn the details of how his involvement in wonderland led to the beating deaths of two women.One other one managed to survive.The guys killed lived by the sword and had it coming-sure,but him leaving the door open both at the gangster Nash place and at the wonderland place showed a careless and ruthless side to Holmes that all the "He was a great guy" does not change.He got his underage girlfriend into prostitution and stole from his friends to feed his drug habit.All of his money went down the drain and perhaps that can get through to some peaple and help them choose a better of the guys killed at wonderland ave was suspected of many murders by the LAPD so his death was no loss to society but to understand that one was completely innocent shows the real tragic consequences of holmes choices.The chapters on holmes films were a bit too long-some are not even available and lets face it the short film loops could have been explained in one page but overall i must say they have put togeather the definitive work on the tradgedy that is the person of John Holmes
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This book is written mainly from interviews with people that John worked with, knew, had affairs with, or was married to. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives and comments. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Carol Wong
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Good book, if your interested in this kind of thing. L last part was not as interesting, but was good to know I guess.
Published 1 month ago by Melissa Everhart
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Well-Balanced
John Holmes; A Life Measured in Inches (2008) by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson is a compilation of quotes on various topics about the life and times of famed porn actor John C. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Willow
2.0 out of 5 stars Finished Finally
They had to take it away from me. It was hard to read and continue. I had to refer back to who was who.
Published 4 months ago by ladylong
4.0 out of 5 stars John. ............
Good read if you know anything about Mr. Holmes......hard to follow if you do not know the stories.Easier to believe than Wonderland....... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Laurie Navarec
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Fast Read…Enjoyed It!
Enjoyed the book throughly. Especially in the format that it was written. More like a group of interviews with commentary thrown in. Very informative.
Published 7 months ago by DRHDOUG
4.0 out of 5 stars riveting look at the dark side of porn
Fascinating read. Great historical perspective on the porn industry and a riveting personal story of Holmes decent into the hell and dark side of drug addiction ...
Published 8 months ago by Randal Lautzenheiser
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling
I purchased this book to learn more about the Wonderland murders and was sadly dissatisfied. It was written mainly in an interview fashion with the author not really giving the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by sunnygirl
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have went more in depth about his childhood.....
We all know about his porn career, what we don't know about is his childhood and his experiences in the army. This book day's almost nothing about them.
Published 12 months ago by Brian Scott Sheneman
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book Sucks
This book is terrible and I would not recommend this to anyone. It gets very confusing and it has parts of people giving their insight from probably 20 people of not more. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Elijah Thompson
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category