|Birth Place||Evanston, Illinois|
Doug Malloy (born Richard Simonton), was a Muzak executive who led a double life as an early pioneer of the contemporary resurgence in body piercing. His work in promoting body piercing in the late 1970's was key to the development and popularity of the practice.
Early life and professional career
He was born in Evanston, Illinois in reputably poor conditions, as was common for those growing up during the Great Depression. His father died when he was three, and he and his mother subsequently moved to Seattle. As a young man, he was trained as an audio engineer and eventually made his way to Southern California. There, he became an executive at the Muzak Corporation, and was responsible for the Southwest region of the United States during the 1940's. In 1958, Simonton purchased a controlling interest in the Mississippi riverboat Delta Queen, rescuing the enterprise and turning it towards profitability. Upon finding success in the music business, he built an elaborate home in Toluca Lake, California, where he lived until his death in 1979.
Public personal life
Richard Simonton had a wife, Helen, as well as four children; however, not much is known about his family or married life because much of the public information about him comes from the gay BDSM sub-culture he was an active participant in in his later life. He was a close personal friend of silent film star Harold Lloyd, and was the executor of Lloyd's estate when he died in 1971. His professional life brought him into contact with many individuals in the Hollywood entertainment industry, and he hosted many gatherings at his Toluca Lake house which was centered around the 99 seat theater he had constructed in the home. Simonton claimed to have suffered minor brain damage at some point in the early 1960s, which forced him to largely retire from his professional life.
The American Theatre Organ Society
As a tremendous fan of theatre organ music, Simonton arranged a gathering at his home on February 8, 1955, where he and several other organ enthusiasts founded the American Association of Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, later shortened to the American Theatre Organ Society, which is still highly active today. During the remainder of his life, he was extremely active in the preservation and promotion of theatre organs and the music played upon them. His home contained two organs, a church style organ upstairs and a Wurlitzer theatre organ downstairs in the theatre, which was equipped with professional recording equipment. Film showings at his home were often accompanied by live organ, played by some of the great theatre organists of the day, including Gaylord Carter, Jesse Crawford and Korla Pandit, all of whom performed and recorded at the house.
During his lifetime, Richard Simonton maintained a double life, as a highly successful businessman and as a participant in the Los Angeles gay BDSM subculture, where he was known as Doug Malloy. It is presumed that his immediate family had some knowledge of his interest in body piercing, as he had several genital piercings and nipple piercings, which would be difficult to conceal from one's spouse. His home was a center of activity for individuals involved in both the BDSM and body piercing sub-cultures. Other members of these sub-cultures also appear to have attended events at the home that were also attended by family or business associates, so it also seems likely that his interests, or his homosexuality, was an open secret.
As Doug Malloy, he was an instrumental supporter and patron of the early body modification scene. By 1975, he had published a short, largely fictional autobiography entitled Diary of a Piercing Freak under his assumed name, which was sold to a fetish publisher and released in softback under the title The Art of Pierced Penises and Decorative Tattoos. He had also established contacts amongst body piercing enthusiasts both in Los Angeles and on a global scale, including London tattooist Alan Oversby (also known as Mr. Sebastian), Fakir Musafar, Viking Navarro, Sailor Sid Diller and Jim Ward. He was also an organizer and active member of the T&P Group, an association of tattoo and piercing enthusiasts based in Los Angeles.
The upsurge in interest in body piercing had created enough interest that Malloy advised Jim Ward, who had previously worked as a designer, that he should start a body piercing business. He advanced Ward the money to start Gauntlet, originally a home based business, and Jim began to produce body piercing jewelry. His experience as an amateur piercer formed the basis of the primitive techniques used at the time, and his network of contacts was instrumental in spreading the popularity of body piercing, especially genital piercing. By 1978 Gauntlet had a retail location and the world's first body piercing studio was established. Doug also provided extensive notes that were ghostwritten by Ward into full articles for PFIQ, the first magazine devoted to the subject of body piercing, a Gauntlet publication.
One of Malloy's other notable contributions to the development of body piercing in contemporary society was his pamphlet Body & Genital Piercing in Brief, which is responsible for a large portion of the myths surrounding the origins of many piercings, most notably genital ones. His personal enthusiasm for body piercing as an erotic practice and his love of the fantastic came together in this document, which is almost entirely fictional or highly speculative. Many of the theories regarding the practice and origins of various piercings historically have been distorted by the excellent circulation of this document or later documents which quote it.
- The Wurlitzer that Made Hi-Fi American Theatre Organ Society article
- Who Was Doug Malloy? Body Modification E-Zine article
- In the Beginning there was Gauntlet Body Modification E-Zine article
- The Adventures of a Piercing Freak full text of Doug Malloy's autobiography
- Body & Genital Piercing in Brief full text of Doug Malloy's pamphlet on the origins of various piercings.
- The Many Faces of Korla Pandit June 2001 Los Angeles Magazine article