Despite their superstar status, the average male celebrity likes nothing better than getting an eyeful of some hot porn – just like us mere mortals. Saucy British comedian Benny Hill’s huge stash of exotic porn collected over the course of a sad and lonely lifetime, is well-known, as is the vast collection of child porn stored on his hard disc by disgraced Glam Rocker Gary Glitter. More recently, Who guitarist Pete Townshend – a man so obsessed by porn he even wrote a song about the joys of jacking off over a porn mag – admitted that he had used his credit card to access child porn sites on the internet (purely for research purposes, of course). But is the consumption of vast quantities of smut merely a harmless pastime, or are these celebrities I the grip of a highly dangerous porn addiction? We set out to try and answer this question with the assistance of top showbiz reporter Rick Wedge and leading celebrity psychiatrist Dr Cy Squirrel. “The advent of the internet has been a Godsend to many superstars”, says Wedge. “Back in the early 1990s, when the celebrity porn craze first really took hold, they had to have the stuff delivered to their homes or trailers (if they were shooting). Obviously, megastars like Robert De Niro or Marlon Brando couldn’t be seen going down to their local newsagents and buying stacks of porn – discretion was needed. Not only that, but most newsagents just wouldn’t carry the kind of high class stuff they wanted!”

Consequently, porn pushers started to appear at every Hollywood studio, offering celebrities specialist porn in bulk quantities. Many quickly became hooked and, as their passion for porn grew, so the deliveries began to get ever bigger. “Things were really getting out of hand – George C Scott was having lesbian nun porn mags and videos delivered by the truckload, whilst Roddy McDowell was having to hire dumpsters in order to dispose of his used black rubber-fetish magazines,” recalls Wedge. “Then along came the internet and suddenly they had an apparently inexhaustible supply of porn piped directly into their own homes! Not only that, but the choices seemed endless, with every perversion imaginable catered for!”

Many stars began spending hours on-line searching for exotic smut, often not leaving their houses for days on end. “Mel Gibson, for instance, became a virtual recluse for a while as he tried to satisfy the raging foot fetish he had developed whilst he was filming Year of Living Dangerously in Thailand. Those Thai hostesses can be pretty handy with their feet, I hear, even bringing a man to the verge of ejaculation using just their big toe,” says Wedge. “He would spend hours just downloading pictures of naked female feet. Even when he did go out to meet his filming commitments, he always took a laptop with him. In the pre-internet days he would have been forced to hang around dingy back-street foot massage parlours in order to try and satisfy his unholy urges!” Indeed, in those far off days celebrity porn addicts would often have to go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy their strange tastes. Cross-dressing bisexual cowpoke ‘Big’ John Wayne, for instance, liked nothing better than looking at photos of naked muscular men in cowboy hats sat astride horses – with the demand for such porn extremely limited, he was forced to hire male models and college football players to pose on a dummy horse on the old Universal Studios back lot and photograph them himself. “Not only did the Duke like to dress in women’s clothes himself, he would also sometimes like to see well-hung stallions wearing dresses,” reveals Wedge. “He was nearly arrested once when he was caught, dressed in a red off-the-shoulder number, sitting side-saddle on Roy Rogers’ befrocked horse Trigger. It could easily have ended his career. Nowadays, he’d only be a brief web search away from all the gay transvestite equine porn he could handle – all in the privacy of his own home.”

John Wayne wasn’t the only star to manufacture his own porn. In more recent years Bob Crane, star of popular Prisoner of War TV comedy Hogan’s Heroes became notorious for shooting his own gay S&M movies. After the TV series ended, he bought the sets and costumes and shot his own version of Hogan, with him being brutally bound, beaten and tortured by his Nazi captors every time an escape attempt was discovered. Tragically, Crane eventually died at the hands of the amateur porn performer portraying his nemesis Colonel Klink, when he pushed him too far with one of his pranks and a subsequent punishment session involving electrodes being attached to his genitals went too far.

Whilst Bob Crane may well have been the first victim of porn addiction, Dr Cy Squirrel fears that he may not be the last. “There’s no doubt that porn addiction has replaced sex addiction as the favoured form of celebrity affliction – and it is no less dangerous. Many will recall the tragic deaths of young stars such as River Phoenix, John Candy and Chris Farley, who effectively shagged themselves to death as they indulged their sex addiction. Well, the same thing could result from an overexposure to vast quantities of pornography,” he warns, pointing to the recent case of a South Korean teenager who died of exhaustion after masturbating continuously for eighteen hours whilst viewing porn in a Seoul internet cafe. “Of course, the high grade porn celebrities view is likely to cause them to ‘overdose’ than the low grade smut available to most ordinary people, but the very quantities that stars indulge in means that the risk is ever-present.”

Squirrel believes that Hollywood is currently covering up various porn addiction related deaths and illnesses. “I strongly suspect that James Coburn’s fatal heart attack may have been brought on by an over-indulgence in Russian military porn, whilst the state Nick Nolte was in when he was recently arrested has all the hallmarks of porn-related exhaustion rather than drink or drug abuse,” he says. “Celebrities really must take a more responsible approach to pornography, otherwise they could be encouraging porn addiction amongst the young – without the average movie star’s vast financial resources, the average teenager would soon be forced to turn to crime and prostitution in order to pay for their jazz mags!”