Hollywood’s original adult film star and beloved cause celebre, Harry Reems, passed away on Tuesday, March 19.

The former actor was 65. If anybody’s life deserves to be called a roler-coaster, it’s Reeves’s. Since starring in the very first major adult motion picture, Deep Throat, back in 1972, the actor had his share of ups and downs. Having been thrust into the spotlight by sheer accident, he starred in dozens of adult films, but his influence goes far beyond his acting career. Deep Throat went on to become a huge, if controversial success. It became the cause and foundation of the adult entertainment industry, which is still one of the few thriving businesses in America. On the other hand, the film also prompted the advent of obscenity and smut laws in the country, which eventually led to Reems’s conviction in 1996 for his role in the film. The actor would have had to serve five years in prison, but actors like Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson came to his defense.

After the fall from grace, Reems moved away from Hollywood and the spotlight with his wife. According to friends, he never went into detail about his days in the porn industry, but referred to himself as a survivor and tried very hard to overcome the damage. "He hated, at the end, doing porn," His wife, Jeanne Reems said. "It was all he could make money doing." Eventually, Reems settled into Park City, Utah and the low-key lifestyle of a real-estate agent.

In his later years, he had been having various health-related issues, including pancreatic cancer. The doctors are still not sure what the final cause of his death was. In any case, Herbert Streicher, or Harry Reems, certainly lived a full and interesting life – a rise, fall and redemption story, if ever there was one.