03/20/2013 at 05:00 PM EDT
Harry Reems, the Bronx-born, boy-next-door porn star of the 1970s, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter
. He was 65.
Reems, who had been living in Park City, Utah, passed away in a VA hospital in Salt Lake City, a longtime pal confirms
Born Herbert Streicher, the superstud of a dozen major hard-core movies made over 40 years ago, including the groundbreaking Deep Throat
, was the only American actor ever to be convicted of obscenity.
As Reems told PEOPLE in 1976
, "I only did the movies as a hoot. I don't feel guilty of any crime. I certainly don't want to be a convicted felon."
Yet a federal jury in Memphis convicted him of conspiracy for his role as the doctor in Deep Throat
, even though the movie – which grossed some $250 million – only earned him $100 for his appearance.
The making of Deep Throat
and the legal woes surrounding it are the subject of an upcoming movie, Lovelace
, starring Amanda Seyfriend as leading lady Linda Lovelace, and Adam Brody as Reems. (Lovelace died in 2006
The youngest of three children, Reems attended the University of Pittsburgh for a year, joined the Marines, then studied theater in New York before dabbling in B-grade movies and finally graduating to porn, which he then gave up in the 1980s.
According to Reuters, he survived a bout of alcoholism and poverty before getting sober and becoming a successful Park City real-estate agent. He is survived by his wife of two decades, Jeannie, and a brother.