It was pouring rain on the early evening of January 25th, 1995 as a haggard-looking 34-year-old
Randy Potes, known to sex film aficionados the world over as porn stud Cal Jammer, drove like a
maniac in his leased 1994 white Ford Ranger through the exclusive Hollywood Hills section of Los
Angeles. He was a man on a mission, and that mission was death.
For weeks Randy had been contemplating murdering his 23-year-old estranged wife Adrianne, a fellow porn star (known variously as Seth Damien, Calista, and Jill Kelly). Tonight, one way or another, someone was going to die. Steering with one hand and furiously dialing his cellular phone with the other, a sobbing Randy made call after call to Adrianne, yelling, screaming, crying, "What the fuck are you doing to me!"
Each time as the abuse became worse, Adrianne would hang up on him. And when Randy finally shrieked, "I need to talk to you, don't leave!" she hung up again - she had been listening to Randy's suicide threats for nearly two years. But as she clicked off, Randy glanced over at the seat next to him at the loaded black 9mm semiautomatic handgun he had bought for just such an occasion. He called his own home answering machine, leaving a goodbye message. The days of "empty threats" were about to end.
Ignoring speed limits and traffic lights, Randy finally arrived at his destination, his wife's rented Laurel Canyon home. A frightened Adrianne had heard her husband drive up, and ran upstairs to her bathroom hiding behind a shower curtain. A few moments passed and nothing - then she heard a loud noise.
"I heard a crash and I jumped. It sounded like a window breaking. I thought Randy had broken a window to get in. I went downstairs and crawled to the door. There was nothing broken." Adrianne recalls. The young wife then stepped out into the rain, expecting to bump into her angry husband at any minute. But when she rounded the concrete walkway to the steps leading to the street, she saw Randy stretched out in the gutter.
"I saw Randy lying there on the ground and the gun a foot or two away from him. I thought it was a joke and I laughed. I thought he was playing a trick on me, with fake blood," she grimly remembers. But it was no joke. Randy had fired a single shot into his right temple. "I called out to him , C'mon Randy, get up! C'mon already, stop it!" Then, as she moved closer, she was seized by reality; her husband lay crumpled in the mud, gore pouring into the street from a gaping head wound.
I saw his brains. It looked like chewed up hot dogs coming out of the top of his head. His left eye was filling with blood. I dropped my purse and ran to him and felt his pulse. I lifted up his shirt to see if he was breathing, and he wasn't," Adrianne tearfully recalls.
Panic-stricken Adrianne began to scream for help and stumbled into the house to make a frantic, and futile, call to 911. "My husband just shot himself in the fucking head! Please hurry! Pleas hurry!" But the LAPD was already on their way, tipped off by a friend who had called moments earlier, warning that Randy was "on his way over with a gun to kill himself and her too." Adrianne raced back to her already brain-dead husband still yelling for help. A small group of neighbors gathered around, standing horrified and helpless as Adrianne knelt, crying hysterically by Randy's side. When, at Adrianne's insistence, a blanket was placed over Randy, to "keep him warm," she lay down in the street next to him in a growing puddle of blood and mud, pulling her coat over Randy, her arms around him, pleading , "Randy, Randy, why did you do this, please don't die!"
The firemen arrived and gently pulled Adrianne away, her clothing caked with her husband's blood, assuring her that Randy had never felt a thing.
When Randy was searched, police found two more bullets and a suicide note in his front left
pocket. The message was scrawled on the back of a sealed First Interstate Bank envelope, which
contained five one-hundred dollar bills. It read, in Randy's typically childlike spelling:
Happy Birthday Big 24
Adrianne, for one, does not believe that Randy was going to kill her. "Randy could've gotten into the house if he wanted to. He knew the side window had no lock on it. You don't write a note and leave a present for a person who you're about to kill," she points out.
The fact that Randy, someone who seemingly had everything going for him , got to such a desperate point has left the adult video community in a state of stunned bewilderment. Handsome, healthy, energetic and outgoing, Randy had made well over 500 hardcore videos since entering the sex business in 1989, and gained a top-notch reputation throughout the industry as a crack set builder and decorator.
Between his on-screen interludes (including appearances in such carnal classics as Deep Throat 5 (Arrow) and VCA's New Wave Hookers 2) and off-camera craftsmanship, Randy became known as a tireless workaholic, and his efforts resulted in a near six-figure income, with all the status-obligatory west coast toys - condo, boat, car, jet skis, etc. - that go with a bulging bank account. Randy was also universally liked as a "nice guy," always polite and considerate to the women he worked with, and hardworking for his employers.
"For all the people in the business who are assholes, Randy was one of the few that wasn't. Unlike most of the men, he actually liked women," asserts porn icon Nina Hartley, who worked and swung with Randy over the years. He was someone who, on paper, seemed to have his shit together.
But Randy had problems. Terribly insecure, weighted down with low self-esteem, over-sensitive to even the slightest comment about his looks or performance ("Is my cock big enough?" "Is my tan dark enough?"), and driven by a sex addiction that permeated every aspect of his life, he was actually a powder keg waiting for a light. "Randy was very emotional," recalls porn star Shelby Stevens, who worked in the same video as Randy the day before his death. "Things affected him more than a lot of guys in the business, who are just cold. Randy was never cold, and when he got hurt he took it more deeply." As Randy worked his way up the ladder of porn success, he was actually setting the stage for his own premature demise. As long as things were going his way, he was happy-go-lucky pot-smoking Randy, but the sex, wealth, and fame - and above all, the appearance of such - became essential parts of his reason for living. Once he sensed them slipping from his grasp, his desire to live also began to fade.
After a series of failed romances, Randy's 1993 Valentine's Day marriage to Adrianne, a pleasant 5'5" blonde-haired hazel-eyed stripper, seemed to be the missing piece in Randy's happiness puzzle. By all reports, the two were madly in love, wedding a month after they met at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) annual sex video convention in Las Vegas. In a High Society interview with Randy in the August 1993 issue, he referred to Adrianne as his "soulmate," saying, "I know that love is stronger than anything you can describe. Making love is better than having sex." And Adrianne agrees. "We were so, so much in love. I called him my Poo Poo', and he called me Bambi'. It was true love for both of us."
It was also a first for Adrianne, who considered herself a total lesbian, "I would have sex with men, but I could only have a real relationship, and real sexual satisfaction with a woman. Randy was the first man I was ever happy with on all levels."
But the happy couple soon began having problems. At first, Randy kept making videos, while Adrianne continued to strip. The inevitable jealousies and dishonesties, though, led to Adrianne leaving him on a number of occasions, only to return. Randy "gave up performing" in the fall of 1993 to do only set construction - or so Adrianne though. "He was the first man I ever trusted, and he lied to me. That's when our marriage started to fall apart." Randy secretly continued making videos, and when his wife found out, she was devastated.
The fighting continued, and Adrianne claims Randy hit her a couple of times. Under mounting emotional and financial pressures, Adrianne finally moved out for good in the late summer of 1994, and starting doing videos herself. "He was basically al little boy trying to be a man. I couldn't satisfy him - no woman could. We'd get in a fight, and I'd say I was going to leave. He would say he was going to kill himself. He had talked about killing me or himself for nearly two years, so I couldn't take him seriously," she remembers.
Randy's "cheating," though, was grounded in a far more serious issue - Randy's lifelong addiction to women. "He was a sex addict, plain and simple," sighs Adrianne. Adrianne describes their marriage as one long conversation about "sex, sex, and sex." I love sex, and Randy loved pussy, so on that level we got along great," says Adrianne. But that was the least of it. Before Randy had even gotten into porn, he was a sex junkie, going through women like water, exploring every possible sexual kink, and allowing his sexual impulses to virtually control his life. It often seemed as if Randy couldn't help himself. After his death, a search of Randy's Canyon County condo turned up hundreds, if not thousands, of girls' names and phone numbers, scribbled hastily on business cards, cocktail napkins, scraps of paper and notebooks, often with graphic sexual observations attached - "Susan - Big tits," "Old friend Kim - fucked her already" - all standing as testimony to over a decade of sel-indulged sexual satyrism.
After Adrianne moved out, Randy was free to reenter the video business openly, as well as continue his perpetual pursuit of pussy. But by mid-fall, Randy was getting depressed, feeling his career was going nowhere. Around the same time, he began gravitating back to Adrianne, and the two began to sleep with one another on an irregular basis - even making a video together, and planning more. "I thought things were going to work out. We were going to stay great friends and 'fuck-buddies.'" But Randy, seeing his income drop, feeling hounded by several IRS audits, and under the impression that Adrianne's entry into the business was costing him jobs (some porn directors are leery about having "ex's" on-set together, for fear of conflicts), wanted Adrianne back. And he became increasingly jealous of her rumored trysts with other men and women.
In late 1994, Randy began to fixate more and more on getting back with Adrianne as the solution to all his problems, and the two were discussing a reconciliation. But by mid-January things were back to normal - bad - between them. Randy's behavior was becoming more and more erratic.
Randy appeared depressed and distracted much of the time, once locking himself out of his apartment. And worst of all, Randy, never known for being one of those able-to-get-hard-on-a-dime performers, was experiencing intermittent "wood" problems. His financial situation was getting so bad he felt he would soon have to move back home - with his mother. But above all, he said, Adrianne's refusal to come back to him was the greatest source of his unhappiness.
And indeed that appeared to be the case. Randy's financial circumstances were actually not nearly as bad as he made out. He was working and earning steadily, and his IRS problem only amounted to a few thousand dollars - Randy had that much just stashed around his apartment.
But in Randy's agitated state of mind, these became colossal issues. Three days before Randy killed himself, Adrianne called him from San Francisco, where she was shooting a film, and told him it was now completely over, once and for all. Adrianne was seeing someone else - another woman. Randy became distraught, at first proposing an "open" marriage, and then exasperatedly asking, "But can I still fuck you?" The next day he called Adrianne back and told her he was HIV-positive (a lie). "He was just saying anything he could think of to get me back, to make me go to him. We always talked before about how if either of us got AIDS we would stay married and die together."
In the last week of his life, Randy told a neighbor he "couldn't go on" without his wife, told a girlfriend "life wasn't worth living," and warned a cameraman, "You don't know how close to the edge I am, man, you don't know." He made dozens of desperate phone calls around the clock to people he knew in the porn business, desperately reaching out for someone, something - knowing he was fading fast. But nobody took Randy seriously enough; nobody thought he'd really do it.
In fact, porn actor/director Buck Adams admits speaking to Randy the day he died and advising him, by phone, that if he felt he was going to harm Adrianne, he should harm himself instead. Adams says Randy agreed with him. He said, "Okay Buck, thanks a lot, I always knew I could count on you for the right advice."
The day Randy took his own life, he was out of control. His agent, Jim South, remembers Randy stopping in close to 5 p.m. "He seemed very sad, almost teary eyed," recalls South. "I asked him if he was okay, had he said, in a shaky voice, Jim, she's costing me a lot of work.'" A few minutes later, Randy got up suddenly, as if he had made some type of decision, and purposefully strode toward the door. South called out to him several times, but Randy ignored him. He headed for his truck, and his date with destiny - ending it all 45 minutes later in a dirty pool of rainwater, mud and blood.
At the funeral a week later, a shattered Adrianne delivered a tear-filled eulogy. "You were the most beautiful person in the world to me, Randy Layne Potes. I will always, always love you, and no one will ever take that from me." Adrianne now keeps her husband's cremated remains in a blue velvet box by her bed.
In the end there wasn't much more left of Randy. He'd let too much of himself become the fabricated character Cal Jammer, and retained too little of the real man Randy Potes. It cost him his life.