Possibly the most well-known pornographic performer in the history of the biz, rotund ladies' man Ron Jeremy (aka "the Hedgehog") has appeared in over 1,500 adult features since his debut in 1978. His playful onscreen demeanor, as well as his instantly recognizable moustache and gut, have earned him popularity not only with consumers of pornography but mainstream audiences, too, making his name shorthand for comedians and pundits who need to reference the adult film industry. Born into an upper-middle class Jewish family in New York, Jeremy studied theatre and education in college and taught special-ed classes while waiting for his big break. To this end, he performed in off-Broadway plays and did stand-up comedy. In 1978, a girlfriend sent a photo of him to Playgirl magazine and he was chosen to appear as a centerfold. Jeremy's above-average endowment was exposed to the world and he was offered a part in the hardcore film Tigresses and Other Maneaters. From there a number of titles followed, even as his thin frame bulked up over the years, and he emerged as a good-natured everyman in a field crowded with arrogant, handsome male performers. The puckish pornster was a hit with women who responded to his cuddly charm, men who identified with his average looks, and devotees of the bizarre who appreciated his ability to fellate himself (a talent he displays in films like Inside Seka and Fresh Meat). During the 1980s, Jeremy began directing adult films; perhaps his most notorious was the 1994 feature John Wayne Bobbitt: Uncut, a starring vehicle for the man whose real-life wife sliced off his penis in a fit of revenge for spousal abuse (it was surgically reattached, though special prostoglandin injections were required on the set for Bobbitt to perform in a professional manner). Jeremy has appeared in more mainstream films than the garden variety porn actor, although his small roles have often been cut by distributors who fear that his notoriety might damage a picture. What remains are generally jokey, self-referential cameos (such as his appearances in Orgazmo and Meet Wally Sparks), as well as his work as a consultant for 9 1/2 Weeks and the porn-themed Boogie Nights.