Story of a porn Idol

Timothy Kincaid

September 28th, 2012

In the early 1990’s, Ryan Idol was the king of gay porn. Idol Eyes, his 1990 debut video starring opposite Joey Stefano (another story, another time), was a huge success and promotion of Idol as the face of a higher quality, professionally filmed version of erotica made him a recognizable name. I have some vague recollection of being at some party about that time in which the dance floor was alive with the rumor that Ryan Idol had just arrived by helicopter.

Idol (real name Marc Anthony Donais) went on to star in Huge Video’s Idol Worship, Idol Thoughts, Idol Country, and Idol in the Sky, along with a few others which did not feature his name. Coming to the porn world fresh from a Playgirl centerfold, he claimed to make $50,000 per movie.

But by the late 1990’s, Idol’s career may have been suffering from overexposure and after 1996 he ceased working for Huge. While pursuing plans to produce his own video, Idol Gods, Idol turned to stage acting. The transition was not a large one. In 1997, Idol stepped in to star in Making Porn, Ronnie Lawsen’s play about an out-of-luck straight actor who ends up in the gay pornography business.

But Idol was still in the limelight. And he lived it up in the company of Windy City Times founder Jeff McCourt. ( 2000)

… McCourt would drift into a number of brief relationships, the most notable of which was with Marc Anthony Donais, a man far better known in the gay community as the pornographic film star Ryan Idol.

“In some kind of fucked-up way, they cared about each other,” says Alter. “They were two highly narcissistic, very on-the-edge types of personalities who were using each other for image, for money, for drugs, for sex.” He adds, “In spite of all that—and I know how strange this sounds—I think there was something real there.”

Donais, who today lives in a small New England town, agrees. They met in the late 1990s, when Donais was in Chicago and attempting to launch a legitimate acting career by starring in a play in Bailiwick Repertory’s annual Pride Series. He and McCourt began a yearlong on-again, off-again relationship that was complicated by the fact that, for most of that time, Donais had a girlfriend. “He was somebody I’ll never forget,” Donais says. “He was really like a best friend, a big brother. He would have me in his office all the time to show off and stuff. And he would be wielding his power, and I identified with that.”

The staff remembers it somewhat differently. “We’d have editorial meetings where Jeff would be sitting there with white powder around his nose, drinking booze out of a bottle with Ryan Idol asleep on the couch,” says Weisberg. “At some point we just knew this wasn’t going to work—that this was no way to run a business.”

But life for Marc Anthony Donais was not all flashbulbs and applause. The glamorous life, with its abundance of chemical happiness, was difficult for him to handle. And his erratic behavior and fiery temper got in the way. One night after a performance he got angry, punched the playwright, and left in handcuffs.

While that put a temporary stop to the starring role, the worst was the night of March 20, 1998, when Donais took a leap out of the window of his girlfriend’s fourth floor apartment. A fortunate bounce off an awning saved his life leaving him with a shattered pelvis, mangled left arm, severe concussion and whiplash.

Without health insurance and resorting to on-line appeals for funds, Idol went back to the play in Miami Beach’s Colony Theater. He promised to be good. He lasted a month. On September 1, 1998 Idol showed up 45 minutes late. (Steve Rathous)

“His eyes were dilated, and he was extremely agitated, ” Hodgson said. “I told him he was in breach of contract for showing up late. His response to me: ‘Sue me. . . . F— you. . . . I’m not going on.’

“In his street clothes, he went center stage in front of the audience and said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the show has been canceled.’ He walked out through the front door and left.”

That was it for Making Porn, but Ryan continued his stage career with Scent Of Rain, a rural-set gay-man-finds-love story with lots of nudity. And, after a hiatus of about a decade, got a bit part in a revival of The Ritz (2007) and earned the right to say he played on Broadway. He even managed to get a one man show, Anatomy of an Idol, produced. But Idol Gods never materialized and Ryan Idol’s superstar days were long over. The public had no interest in an aging Marc Anthony Donais.

But three years ago, Donais returned to the public eye, though not in a way he would have preferred. That night he was upset over a recent breakup and went to visit the woman with whom he had been involved. (SacBee)

According to the victim’s testimony at trial, Donais entered the woman’s apartment the night of Sept. 5, 2009, and told her, “I came over here to kill you.”

The two had been involved in a relationship, but the woman – whose name is being withheld because she is a domestic violence victim – said she ended it when she caught him having sex with his male lover.

The woman said Donais stormed into her bathroom while she was taking a bath at her 48th Street residence and began to beat her with the porcelain lid.

He claimed to have beat her in self defense saying he thought she had a knife. The jury didn’t buy that one. On September 20, 2011 he was convicted of attempted murder.

When he went for sentencing, his attorney requested that he be removed. Donais then sought another trial, claiming inadequate council. His second trial didn’t fare better and yesterday Donais faced his sentence.

More than a year after his conviction, a one-time gay porn star who beat his former girlfriend over the head with a toilet tank lid has been sentenced to 12 years in state prison for attempted murder.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley imposed the term Wednesday on Marc Anthony Donais, 46, who established a reputation in the 1990s as one of the top stars in his genre under the name of Ryan Idol.

Which brings me to my Ryan Idol story. It’s not exactly that thrilling and doesn’t portray me in a particularly complimentary light, but here is how I recall it:

This was way back when, in the mid 90s just about the time that Ryan Idol was coming to recognize that in porn fresher is better. One of my clients, an HIV/AIDS service group, was the charity recipient of that year’s gay porn awards and the executive director asked me to join him at the event.

It was not nearly as risqué as it sounds. Because liquor was sold, there was no nudity and clips from the videos couldn’t be shown. Other than a couple “oh, I didn’t know you did porn” encounters, it was fairly boring and only one moment really stands out it my mind.

At the table next to our own was a still-recognizable face: Ryan Idol. He was easy to spot as he was the only man to bring a female date to the event, a woman he described as his fiancée.

And he was noticeably drunk. And obnoxious.

Now most people weren’t treating this in a very serious manner. After all, where exactly does one display the award for Best Bottom in a Three Way?

To my defense, I insist that we didn’t really start it. But we couldn’t help but notice that Idol has strong opinions about who should be receiving awards, opinions that he wasn’t exactly keeping to himself.

My client got a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and I played right along. We noticed that Ryan Idol was nominated for some award later in the program and decided to set the stage. We started a just-loud-enough-for-him-to-hear conversation about the role. Neither of us had seen his performance but we assured each other that it was a masterpiece and worthy of the highest praise.

“Oh my god, that was so hot! Amazing! And look at the competition. Did you see that one? Ugh, booooring, I fast forwarded!”

Perhaps a more sober or more astute man would have known that he was being egged on. And perhaps a less volitile actor would have politely applauded the winner when his name wasn’t called.

But I will forever remember Ryan Idol standing and screaming at the stage, “That’s bullsh!t! That’s fuc%ed up!”

In retrospect, I’m glad he never found out that he was set up. And that he didn’t have a handy toilet seat.


September 28th, 2012

Not the seat, which is usually plastic, but the porcelain tank lid. Count your blessings.

David Waite

September 29th, 2012

This column is mistitled. It properly should be called,
Confession of a Jerk
The column uses over 20 paragraphs, including the quotes from other writers, to paint an unlovely picture of an unlovely person. All of this is in service of the trashing-in-context of the person’s appearance at the same venue as the columnist, several paragraphs worth.

The venue appearance is used to justify this:
“Which brings me to my Ryan Idol story. It’s not exactly that thrilling and doesn’t portray me in a particularly complimentary light, but here is how I recall it:”
We are ‘treated’ to yet more descriptions of the conduct of an intoxicated has-been who was painfully still in denial that he was in truth a never-was.

The column concludes by dwelling on the crime and conviction and sentencing of the former ‘star’ in order to pretend that the columnist was fortunate not to have been discovered playing a ‘vote him onto the honor court’ act of juvenile malice. We are asked to infer that this act somehow precipitated the already-intoxicated ‘star’s’ meltdown at awards he was already dissing. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Only a jerk would spend an entire column kicking anyone at the self-earned nadir of the person’s life, solely to justify his own malicious behavior. Only a TOTAL jerk would pretend that (1) his malicious behavior somehow caused a meltdown already in progress, (2) is excused because his victim is an even worse person than he is, and is (3) worth inflicting on us.

Congratulations. You made a porn star I’ve always despised and disliked seem more honestly human than you. You made every politician you’ve railed against for public bitchiness seem statesmanlike in comparison to this ‘mean queen’ confession. You made BTB into a showcase for your own pretentious and fanciful and fatuously self-serving life narrative by kicking a rabid dog after it has been locked up and defanged.

Your co-editors should join this comment thread to tell us whether they are proud of you and of BTB today. I don’t suppose they’ll care, but their response or lack thereof will determine whether I continue to keep BTB’s rss on my home page instead of in the ‘Gay Blogs’ folder of my favorites. I presume their indifference toward your conduct based on their failure to eexercise any restraint over you when you go off on one of your tirades. I hope they prove me wrong this time.

Their response or non-response will also determine whether I continue to refer others to this site. It has never been my custom during the past 60 years, and it never will be my custom, to keep referring people to something which I suspect may unexpectedly poison them.


September 29th, 2012

Still better than what happened to poor Joey Stefano (or rather, what JS did to himself).

No one ever talks about well-adjusted successful porn stars who have a life outside of porn/prostitution/drugs… from what I hear, Dawson manages marketing for a New England Biotech firm… Controversial, but at least not a drug addled porcelain-wielding wretch…


September 29th, 2012

David Walde –

That was the funniest concern trolling I’ve ever seen. Bravo. Bravo. The idea that someone could get so worked up over something so inconsequential — really hilarious stuff!

David Waite

September 29th, 2012

Andrew, you raise an excellent point:
“No one ever talks about well-adjusted successful porn stars who have a life outside of porn/prostitution/drugs…”
Had that point been the focus or theme of this column it might have been worth reading.

Serious discussions about issues that involve our community are why most of us come to BTB. While good discussion is generally enhanced and informed by personal experience, subjective experience alone, without a larger point, is about as interesting to read as a teenager’s daily diary:
Dear diary, my date took me to this dinner where the outfit he works for was getting some cash from porno. We saw a porn star who we were sure would never look twice at either of us, so we dissed the stuck-up clown by pretending to love his work, and he noticed what we said!! It was so thrilling!!! I’ll NEVER forget it!!!!

Presumably, the writer of this statement,
“One of my clients, an HIV/AIDS service group, was the charity recipient of that year’s gay porn awards and the executive director asked me to join him at the event.”
is at least qualified to address the issue, since he has had professional involvment, if only at second or third hand, with the genre and its employees.

Perhaps the columnist doesn’t feel qualified to comment on porn stars as a profession, which makes one wonder why he suggests this:
“Joey Stefano (another story, another time)”
Is that future column also going to be some droll account of how he personally caused JS to fatally self-destruct?

If both porn actors’ names appear column-worthy to Mr. Kincaid merely because he disapproves of their profession, one wonders why he would accept an invitation to attend an affair sure to feature that profession. If he doesn’t disapprove of the profession but disapproves of both those actors, he would seem qualified to answer the larger question you raised. Should we hope you have inspired him to eschew personal anecdote and animus in favor of such a future column?

Lastly, Andrew, I would be interested to learn why you make this statement: “Dawson manages marketing for a New England Biotech firm. Controversial …” Do you find biotech firms controversial generally and if so, why?

David Waite

September 29th, 2012

@ esurience,
I’m going to pretend that you addressed this comment to me, because the idea that I could produce such a reaction from you makes me go tingly all over.

“David Walde –

That was the funniest concern trolling I’ve ever seen. Bravo. Bravo. The idea that someone could get so worked up over something so inconsequential — really hilarious stuff!”

Coming from you, in light of what I’ve noted about almost all of your comments in BTB comment threads, I can only be delighted by the unintended compliment. It gives me the same kind of kick FDR got from the hatred of millionaires.

Michael C

September 29th, 2012

David, I, too, could have done without the personal anecdote at the end. If I am reading your comments correctly, you seem to feel that the entire article is merely setup for Timothy’s hilarious punch-line. I didn’t read it that way at all. Marc Anthony Donais is in the news today. Not everyone knows who he is. Kincaid apparently couldn’t find many good things to write about. Did “Ryan Idol” deserve this long of an article? I dunno, but I read the whole thing anyway (as did you).

I’m sorry that you’re still butt-hurt about Barney Frank.

Donny D.

September 29th, 2012

David Waite wrote,

You made every politician you’ve railed against for public bitchiness seem statesmanlike in comparison to this ‘mean queen’ confession.

You’re still pissed at Timothy for his uncharacteristic rant at Barney Frank? This post of your is a lot nastier than is justified by anything in Timothy’s article about Ryan Idol. It reads like you’re still trying to get back at him for his Barney Frank article.

Donny D.

September 29th, 2012

Just to be clear, I started my previous post before Michael C had posted his, so I didn’t see what he’d written till I hit the Post button.

Reed B

September 29th, 2012

Thanks for sharing, Timothy.

Actually, the story about you seems perfectly in character.


September 29th, 2012

Tim, it really seems like you have a “Mean Girl” streak. You take pride in manipulating drunks into bad actions, and giggle at their downfall. Are you so unhappy with your life that you have to take PRIDE in being an A-hole to people that are doing absolutely NOTHING to you?

The more I read what you write, the less “nice” you seem to be. You wish to be sseet as pie to the religous right, wanting not to offend their sensibilities, but have no problem being an A-Hole to anyone else.

You should be ashamed at your bullying tactics, and your nastiness to others for the sheer joy of going along with a client that got a twinkle in his eye. You really seem to relish taking down people who are already at the bottom of the barrel and who have hit rock bottom. I hope you never fall on bad times, and if you do, the self righteous of those times don’t act or behave like you.

You claim to be a compassionate conservative, but it doesn’t seem like you have ANY compassion at all. A compassionate man doesn’t berate people in the worst times of their lives.

Your attitude is why many people do not vote republican, because you show just how “compassionate” they really are.

Michael C

September 29th, 2012

“Which brings me to my Ryan Idol story. It’s not exactly that thrilling and doesn’t portray me in a particularly complimentary light…”

Robert, I don’t interpret this statement as being prideful.


September 29th, 2012

Timothy posts a lot of interesting things on BTB, and I value his contribution. I disagree with a some of his opinions and am sometimes disconcerted, occasionally dismayed, by his tone. I could have done without the Ryan Idol post, particularly the personal anecdote at the end. But interestingly, Timothy’s less admirable posts don’t exactly bring out the best in his critics, either.


September 30th, 2012

Michael C,

This posting by Timothy brought nothing to the table except disparaging remarks about someone that is easily mocked at this point in his life. It did nothing to further any kind of knowledge nor is it helpful for any situation we might be looking at in the current time period. ALL it is, is an attack on a man going to prison and snarky comments menat to demean him, for no other reason than some perverse pride in being “better” than someone else.

If this article had some type of redemming quality then that would be something different. And one can be prideful and self-depracating at the same time. This article showwed no one in a good light, least of all the author.

You are free to your opinion, as am I, and all this is is another in a long line of nasty posts against a person for some personal reason, rather than actually addressing an issue or need in the community. It isn’t even of a quality that would make Page 6.

Rob Tisinai

September 30th, 2012

David Waite, I don’t know whether I’m more of a “co-editor” or a contributor to Box Turtle Bulletin, but I can tell you I have no desire to police Timothy’s postings or restrain what you call his “tirades.”

David Waite

September 30th, 2012

@ Rob Tisinai, you are quite correct and I was very incorrect to even think, let alone suggest such a thing as restraining another human’s freedom of expression. Committing such a departure from over a half century of fighting against every form of censorship has forced me to take a long hard look at myself.

I’ve also taken a long look at what I have allowed myself to associate with, and what effect such association has on my life and work. In the hours since I removed BTB from my home page, I see more clearly what a compromise of my core principles having BTB there was.

I shall miss the site that brought me the Uganda series, the fight against ex-Gayism, the story of Daniel Fetty, the daily messages on GLBT history, heros and current events but I won’t miss feeling I need to take a shower each time I see or re-see certain headlines in the home page of my browser.

Granted, those headlines are always at least partly redeemed by the quality of the comments they inevitably engender, but that is still a compromise I’m not willing to accept. Retaining BTB’s headlines box and referring people to the site is too close to an imprimatur of approval.

I shall not trouble your blog with my presence again. This is my last comment here. I may get around to detailing my experiences here in another forum, since some of the people in that forum may find both my experiences and my reaction instructive.

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2012

Let me just say this: if anyone is coming here with the expectation that they would not encounter an opinion that they disagree with, and perhaps strongly so, then this is completely the wrong web site for them.


October 1st, 2012

I’m not sure what the point of this article was at all, but then I’m not a gay man and never involved myself with any kind of porn. Guess I’m just out of the loop (and still wishing BTB would break out of the all white male bubble they exist in)


October 1st, 2012


…swoon!… ANYONE could EVEN INSULT a homicidal EX-porn star is beyond imagining…

“BTB, for 23 YEARS I’ve been DYING to tell you what I thought of you…and now…well being a Christian woman I CAN’T SAY IT!…”


Yea, I know…not very original nor an Oscar winning performance. But, IMHO, it’s befitting the high drama from ‘Ouiser Boudreaux’ in this comments section.

Michael C

October 1st, 2012

Mr. Waite, If the benefits of BTB have been overshadowed by it’s effect on your blood pressure, I think you’re making the correct decision. I hope you are able to find a comparable source of gay related information. If you are unable, I look forward to seeing you back in the comment section.

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