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’90s Gay Porn Superstar Convicted of Murder Attempt in Assault on Ex-Girlfriend

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Sep 22, 2011

A Superior Court in Sacramento convicted Ryan Idol, a star of gay adult films in the 1990s, of attempted murder in the assault of an ex-girlfriend. A jury returned the verdict on Sept. 20, Adult Video News reported the following day.

Ryan Idol is the stage name of actor Marc Anthony Donais, who largely left adult film work behind when he started a career as a theater actor.

AVN, trade newspaper for the porn industry, reported that the victim, who was only identified as a 41-year-old woman, had broken up with Idol when he appeared at her home in West Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 5, 2009. The woman claimed that Idol entered her home, declared that he wanted to kill her, and then struck her with the lid from the toilet. The lid broke during the attack, leaving her with deep scalp cuts, the article said.

Idol refuted her version of events, claiming that he feared for his life and was only trying to fend off what he thought was an imminent knife attack from the woman.

Even after Idol stopped making gay porn films he would still revisit that milieu, the article noted, saying that he made "several appearances starting in 2006 at Cocktails With the Stars, the weekly in-person porn star event held at Micky's nightclub in West Hollywood, Calif. His last appearance at Cocktails was in May of this year."

Idol, who has said that he "can love a man and I can love a woman" as well, appeared in 1989 as a Playgirl centerfold, under his own name, a Wikipedia article reports. His career in gay porn spanned 1990 to 1996.

In 1998, Idol fell three stories from his apartment window in New York to the ground below. Idol indicted that he had been intoxicated at the time of the fall, saying that "the drugs and alcohol took over."

Idol relocated to New Hampshire and began to pursue a career in the theater, garnering praise for his performances, which included roles in Broadway productions.

Idol and the former girlfriend first met in Hawaii on vacation. They became a couple, but the woman called it off in 1992 after finding out that Idol was a gay porn star. But in 2008, after Idol began to work as a theater actor on Broadway, she initiated a renewal of their relationship.

The unnamed girlfriend said that she moved out of the home they shared, a condominium belonging to an old boyfriend of Idol's, when she found Idol and the other man in bed. She got her own place, but hadn't lived there long when, she said, Idol paid her a visit.

She was bathing when he showed up. She got out of the tub to let him in, and he greeted her with the words, "I've came over here to kill you," the Sacramento Bee reported.

"He just grabbed me like I was nothing, and he picked me up and he threw me into the bathroom," the ex-girlfriend told the court during the preliminary hearing, a Sept. 22 International Business Times article reported.

"He came in and he started beating me with his fists," the woman continued. "When he took the lid off the toilet ... I thought, 'Oh, my God, I'm not going to live.' And I looked down because I didn't want him to smash it on my face, and he smashed it on my head."

Despite having just been hit with the toilet lid, the woman said, she was able to fend off further attack and run from her home. Idol was later treated at a hospital for a wound caused by a shard of porcelain. He was placed under arrest at the hospital.

The attack followed nearly a dozen and a half phone calls from Idol to the woman over the course of just a few hours, the International Business Times article said.

"I think the jury was able to recognize that his narcissism and ego basically led him to where he was," local newspaper the Sacramento Bee quoted Deputy District Attorney Kevin Jones.

"Obviously, he's extremely disappointed," Donais' attorney, Johnny Griffin III, told The Sacramento Bee. "He was devastated by the jury's verdict. He believes his behavior was in self-defense."

The charges Idol faced in the wake of the attack included "corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant" as well as battery and assault. He will return to court for sentencing on Dec. 9, and faces as much as 15 years in prison.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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