JACK WRANGLER, American actor, born (d: 2009); Jack Wrangler was every inch a star. He survived the mayfly world of porn, in which the rate of turnover is unusually high, to become a legend in his own time. The camera loved him and he loved the camera and himself, in uninhibited return. Porn-starring is consistently hard work. And if you doubt that such hard labor is difficult to keep up, just think of your own performance in a crowded doctor’s office when the army-sergeant nurse bellows loudly that she wants a specimen right this minute in this tiny cup and you spend the next eternity in a narrow cubicle unzipping your fly and looking for it, the poor frightened thing. Would you be able to perform, on cue, in front of three cameras, fourteen arc lights, a script girl, and a crew of six?
Porn is notoriously dumb — dumb plots, dumb faces, dumb music – and uniquely difficult to pull off with any true eroticism or style. (A spot of acne on a callipygous ass can disconcert.) But the moment the camera focused on Jack, something magical occurs. He’s the real thing, intelligent, alert, alive—the picture stops and the camera laps him up. The audience rises to a single man and applauds the star. Another standing ovation for Jack Wrangler.
In 1976, in a turn of events you just couldn’t make up, Wrangler met celebrated 1940s pop singer and film actress Margaret Whiting when she attended one of his one-man erotic shows in New York. As he later recalled, “I was with my manager when I looked over at Margaret, who was surrounded by five guys at a booth. ‘There she was with the hair, the furs and the big gestures. I thought, ‘Boy, now that’s New York! That’s glamour!’ I had to meet her.” A relationship ensued. He was 33; she was 55. When Wrangler confided to Whiting that he was Gay, her response was “only around the edges, dear.”
They lived together for twenty years before they got married and remained successfully married from 1994 until his death. Whiting survived him until 2011; Wrangler passed in 2009. After becoming involved with Whiting, Wrangler retired from porn and devoted his time to his first love, musical theater.
A fan of Johnny Mercer, he was one of the co-producers of the cabaret Dream, which featured songs by the composer and included Whiting in the cast. Other performances he wrote and produced include Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: the Jazz Concert; The Valentine Touch; The First Lady and Other Stories of Our Times, and Irina Abroad!