A former deep-sea diver, Zalman King made his first public impression as an actor. In the "relevant" 1970 TV series The Young Lawyers, King won as many detractors as fans for his abrasive portrayal of idealistic law student Aaron Silverman. King's first starring feature film, The Ski Bum (1971), was a mistake from the word "go," and before long he was playing standard psycho villains. In 1976, he was cast as Jesus in The Passover Plot, another project that looked better on paper than it did on screen. From 1980 onward, King devoted his time to behind-the-camera activities, beginning with the inexpensive "sleeper" Roadie, which he produced and co-wrote. King made his biggest cinematic impact in the realm of soft-core erotica, first as co-producer and co-scripter of 9 1/2 Weeks (1982), then as writer/director of such heavy-breathers as Two Moon Junction (1988) and Wild Orchid (1990). He often wrote in collaboration with his wife, Patricia Knop. For cable television, Zalman King produced, directed and occasionally wrote for the softcore anthology Red Shoe Diaries.