Pinups for your pleasure

Joe Dallesandro is a man known for breaking boundaries and arousing both men and women. He was the first man to do full-frontal nudity on screen and to have the first cinematic erection in a non-pornographic movie.

First starring in Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey films, he skyrocketed into the world of sex symbols in the mid 1960s.

Not only was Dallesandro the first male nude of the cinema, he was also one of first well-known objects of desire.

The man hailed as one of the 10 most photogenic men in the world by photographer Francesco Scavullo came from a rough background.

At age 5, his mother was put in jail for larceny and his father, who was stationed on a naval base soon after, decided it would be best to put him and his brother in foster care.

This lead to a trail of families and a desire to see his father more than just once a month for a single day, Dallesandro told reporter Paul Reubens in a 1994 interview.

In fact, one of the families he stayed with used the kids to steal from those living around them in a very Oliver Twist fashion.

Eventually, though, the foster families became a thing of the past, and Dallesandro and his brother Robert moved in with their grandmother. But Dallesandro was already a delinquent.

By age 15, he was caught with a stolen car, and after having a bullet rip into his leg above his kneecap, he was sent to Camp Cass, a rehabilitation center for juvenile delinquents. There he earned 50 cents a day doing forestry work. Camp Cass is also where he received his famous “little Joe” tattoo on his right shoulder, which would mean the characters he played needed to named Joe or his tattoo hidden throughout the filming in his future career.

Three months into his sentence, he hitchhiked with a friend down to Mexico and later went back to Los Angeles where he first found he could market himself for his good looks.

“We met some strange people by the bus station who got me into photographic muscle work,” Dallesandro told Reubin. “They oiled me up, put a sailor hat on me and got me naked for these muscle magazines. That didn’t last long.”

Dallesandro became one of Bob Mizer’s most famous models. Mizer published a magazine, Physique Pictorial, aimed at gay men.

Not long after Dallesandro came to the most famous part of his career, the film trilogy with Warhol and Morrissey. The trilogy included “Flesh,” “Heat” and “Trash.”

“They were appreciated in a different way [in Europe] than they were in America. They were accepted as real films, not as part of an underground movie movement,” he said in a 1998 interview with Marylynn Uricchio.

It has often been said of Dallesandro that his body was so astounding that it took a second viewing, or at least a few minutes of initially taking note of it, before audiences realized that the young man could act.

Through his life, he dealt with drugs, marriage troubles, affairs and his brother’s suicide. Still after all the struggle, he came out a true actor and a cinematically sexual innovator.

“All the big sex symbols have last names ending in ‘o’ – Garbo, Harlow, Monroe, Brando, Dallesandro,” said Paul Morrissey of him.