Rocket Man

How one enterprising Johnson Space Center physicist followed his dream to Hollywood and porn stardom

By that time, he had been a personal trainer for six months and was making good money. More important, he enjoyed it.

The day he came back in, he says, "I felt like I'd never left. It was a sinking feeling."

He told his supervisor that that would be his last day. He left without regret and moved to an apartment in the Galleria area.

Staying well lubed between takes is a must.
Craig Malisow
Staying well lubed between takes is a must.
Styles tries to keep more than a leg up on the 
Craig Malisow
Styles tries to keep more than a leg up on the competition.

Smith says their father was disappointed that Styles left the job.

"I think my dad was very much in awe of him -- his education and his job," she says. "And then when [Scott] decided, 'I'm out of NASA now, I can't handle the corporate crap,' my dad, all of a sudden, his bubble burst."

The flight controller's father couldn't understand why his son was throwing away his career. How would the kid make any money? That would become a common argument between father and son over the next few years, as the father would try to involve the son in his own business endeavors.

"I told him…if all I was concerned about was money, I would sell drugs," Styles says. "It was ridiculous to say that, in a way, but it made the point to him: that money's not the only thing. And he has a hard time with that."

But he scaled back on conversations with his father, focusing on his personal training. He eventually stopped talking to his parents altogether, never telling them about his porn career.

"They wouldn't approve," Styles says. "And I'm not seeking approval. I'm a big boy now…It wouldn't be good for them [to know], and I don't care to listen to them tell me that they don't approve."

His new life began in the summer of 1996.

He was thinking back to his meeting with Keisha and decided to take a chance. He sent a letter and photos to Jim South, the industry's biggest agent, in Van Nuys. He listed Keisha as a reference.

A few weeks later, South called and invited the ex-flight controller up to Van Nuys for a talent call, which Styles describes as more of a "cattle call." It was a chance for performers to show off their goods to movers and shakers within the industry.

One of the ex-flight controller's nude Polaroids made an impact; he was invited back a month later to shoot a scene on June 19 (his birthday) with a Japanese distribution company.

So he spent his birthday in a desert ranch 90 miles outside Los Angeles, receiving oral sex from a woman named Nikki Sinn, with a boom mike overhead and eight crew members waiting for the pop shot. It was his best birthday ever and the perfect introduction to his new career.

"In a way, it was an acceptance," Styles says, "or the ultimate acceptance in a different way than I had before…in that I had been concentrating on academics and other things besides…the superficial."

A month later, he got a call to tape another scene. It was a rare offer; it's nearly impossible for a guy to break into the industry unless he brings along a woman.

"When I was fairly certain that I wouldn't have to sell my soul or compromise my values to come out and do porn…I thought, 'Okay, let's go do it,' " he says.

Scott Styles threw everything he could into his SUV, said good-bye to Houston and moved to L.A.

Bill Margold is on a tear. The 60-year-old porn veteran is sitting in a West Hollywood diner just a few blocks from his apartment, launching into one of his patented soliloquies about the industry. But after 30 years of performing, writing and directing, his opinions are hardly taken for granted by his colleagues. He says his push to raise performers' minimum age to 21 has made him one of the most hated people in the industry.

But he was there from the beginning, back when porn was illegal and movies were made with one eye on the camera and one eye over the shoulder. He was questioned by detectives when a friend of his, porn legend John Holmes, was implicated in the murders of four drug addicts. He survived the fallout when a high school dropout named Nora Kuzma revealed that she started her career as Traci Lords while under age, bringing the industry to its knees.

He's not afraid to tell you he knows more about the industry than anyone. His business card reads, "God created man. William Margold created himself."

"Scott and [wife] Kim are members of what I refer to as the Playpen of the Damned," he says. "We are damned forever by society -- that is totally hypocritical, by the way. Jacks off to us with its left hand and pushes us away with its right. We live in a nation of Judases."

Margold, an L.A. native who says he grew up in a "private home for unruly children," has become a little grayer and a little rounder since the days when his lean frame appeared in such classics as the 3-D porn extravaganza Disco Dolls. The bespectacled veteran looks especially grizzly today, after not shaving for several days to get in character as a hit man in the latest installment of a series called The Suppornos, the industry's answer to The Sopranos.

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