Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Song of the Day: 'Like an Eagle' by Dennis Parker

. . #DennisPosa, aka #DennisParker but better known as #WadeNichols (October 28, 1946 – January 28, 1985) was an actor and singer who started his career in adult film. Posa died of AIDS in NYC aged 38. . Posa, born in Manhattan and raised in Freeport, attended the @philamuseum College of Art, studying Pottery and Design. He later attended @nyuniversity and the @hbstudionyc. . Posa's first appeared in gay adult film but went on to star mostly in straight adult films. He was credited as Wade Nichols in most of the adult films in which he appeared. . In 1979, using the name Dennis Parker, he recorded a disco album on @casablancarecords entitled ‘Like an Eagle.’ The album was produced by #JacquesMorali who later died in Paris of AIDS in 1991 . Posa (still as Dennis Parker) joined the cast of the soap opera #TheEdgeofNight in 1979, as Police Chief #DerekMallory. Seriously ill by October 1984, Posa was unable to continue working and his character was written out of the show. . There were rumours that Posa died because he shot himself with a gun. However, his brother Richard in a recent interview with The Rialto Report said: . “On his 38th birthday in October 1984, he told me he was determined that this would not be his last birthday. He said he would have other birthdays. He died 3 months later to the day on January 28th, 1985. He died in the same rent-controlled apartment in New York where he’d been living since the late 1960s. He did not kill himself as some have suggested. I have a photo taken of him on his deathbed. It was so sad.” . #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids .
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I had never heard of Dennis Posa until his sexy mug popped up on the AIDS Memorial Instagram page the other day. With his hairy chest and mustache, not to mention his cause of death, I assumed he was a porn star -- and I was right. Known as Wade Nichols, he starred in mostly straight but also some gay films including "Captain Lust," "Jawbreakers" and "Maraschino Cherry." 

But what I was shocked to learn was that he had also "crossed over" -- pre-Traci Lords -- into acting (the soap opera "The Edge of Night") and singing, using the stage name Dennis Parker. His 1979 debut album for Casablanca Records was produced by Jacques Morali (who created and produced the Village People). But after watching these two videos for the title track, "Like an Eagle," I wasn't that surprised to learn that Morali was also his boyfriend at the time -- because only someone truly in love could have been blinded to how embarrassing this is, even by the day's standards. (The song's not great, either, almost stealing the music from Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together" at times.) I know I'm the most painfully self-conscious person in the world. But tell me if you can watch either of these all the way through -- the endless pantomiming and soaring over the Manhattan skyline in an Evel Knievel jumpsuit -- without crawling into a corner cringing! Morali, sadly, died of AIDS in 1991. But whoever uploaded the song to YouTube calls it a "rather cerebral" disco hit, so it's nice to see Parker still has his fans -- God knows he was awfully handsome.

Worth noting that Parker worked on his soap opera (as Police Chief Derek Mallory) at the same time as hunky Joel Crothers, whom I wrote about last week. I'll bet (or hope!) there was a sexy story there.

Parker also starred in "Punk Rock," a rather fascinating 1977 X-rated film that doubled as a crime drama, notable for its inclusion of Elda Stiletto from Elda & and Stilettos -- a group best known for once featuring a pre-Blondie Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.

And "Punk Rock" features the inside of the famed Max's Kansas City, where Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe and the Factory crowd hung out back in the day and Debbie Harry once worked as a waitress. 

If you thought his street moves were alarming ...

Wait'll you see him fly at all hours of the night -- and day!


jaragon said...

Handsome man; terrible singer-and that video is hysterical

retropian said...

I remember him. In the very early '80's the Harkins theater in Tempe was a very fun repertory movie theater. It was THE venue for both high-brow art films, and low-brow, very low-brow films. He was in the very 1st porn movie I every saw: "Take Off", which was straight, but I remember it because not only my 1st porn, but Peter Scolari, who was staring along with Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies at the time had a tiny role, (no he didn't "perform") and it was just a few days after seeing Take Off, while channel surfing I saw the star Denis Parker/Wade Nichols on The Edge of Night. I remember I almost got whiplash from the double take. I haven't thought of that for ages. Thanks for posting this. I never knew what became of him.

Mike said...

He picked me up one night at the old Uncle Charlie's (3rd Ave) in January 1976, when I was a college sophomore. God he was handsome, and very sweet, and incredible sex. A couple of weeks later I was out on a date (with someone else) who pointed him out in the lobby at intermission, saying, "see that guy over there? He does porn!" which was NOT something Wade had mentioned the night he picked me up. At which point Wade walked over, hooked a finger in my belt buckle and said something like, 'nice to run into you, let's get together again sometime'. I think that made me a little more interesting to my date.
I'd see Wade out from time to time, especially at Badlands, down at the end of Christopher Street. Never did hook up again, though.