Born Nicholas Anthony Iacona, Jr., Stefano grew up in the Philadelphia area (Chester, Pennsylvania). His father died when he was 15. After several years of prostitution and hard-core drug use in New York City, Stefano moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a star in gay pornography. In addition to his good looks, his persona as a "hungry bottom" (sexually submissive but verbally demanding) contributed to his popularity.
His image and success caught the attention of Madonna, who used him as a model in her 1992 book Sex.
During his lifetime, he was the subject of rumors (some of them spread by himself) regarding his relationships with prominent entertainment industry figures who were known to be gay. At a May 1990 dinner and interview with Jess Cagle (Entertainment Weekly) and Rick X (Manhattan Cable TV's The Closet Case Show), Stefano discussed an alleged series of "dates" with David Geffen, who at one point implored Stefano to quit using drugs. After the videotaped interview appeared on Rick X's show, OutWeek Magazine "outed" Geffen, who went on to announce his homosexuality at an AIDS fundraiser.
He was HIV positive. According to a subsequent biography Stefano died of speedball overdose (cocaine, morphine, heroin, and ketamine.) Officially his death certificate states he died on 11/21/1994 at age 26 in room 122 at the La Brea Motel on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California from "multiple drug intoxication". He was buried in a family plot in Linwood, PA. He is buried next to his grandfather in an unmarked gravesite. Persons attending the funeral stated his father's cremated ashes were buried with his casket in the same grave. Later his headstone was removed by the family due to vandalism.
Stefano's life is chronicled in the book, Wonder Bread and Ecstasy: The Life and Death of Joey Stefano by Charles Isherwood. His life is also the subject of a one-man-play, Homme Fatale: The Fast Life and Slow Death of Joey Stefano, by Australian playwright Barry Lowe.
X-Rated, a film based on his life is also set to release in 2013.
Wonder Bread & Ecstasy: The Life and Death of Joey Stefano by Charles Isherwood
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st edition (November 1, 1996)
Amazon: Wonder Bread & Ecstasy: The Life and Death of Joey Stefano
The meteoric rise and sudden, dramatic fall of a young gay male porn star.
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