LOS ANGELES—Jeff Marton, better known to the adult world as “Hatman” because he was rarely seen without a hat, passed away early this afternoon at his home in the San Fernando Valley from a combination of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to his half-brother Jason Weiss. Friends knew of his illness, and several visited him during his last days, including former co-workers, directors/producers Jules Jordan and Joey Silvera.
Hatman, as he preferred to be known, got into the adult industry in the mid-1990s, and though he most often appeared in adult features in non-sex roles, his first appearance was in Evil Angel’s Buttman in the Crack, in a three-way scene with Gabriella Gotti and Lexi Leigh. Altogether, he appeared in 32 features.
As for how Marton got into XXX in the first place, Weiss told AVN, “Him and John [Stagliano] were outside of a bar somewhere and they were booking a d.j., and John looked over and said, ‘Hey, you’re pretty big. You wanna do some films?’ That’s the story I was told.”
But XXX was hardly Hatman’s first brush with show business. His mother Doris Weiss, for instance, was a dancer, and appeared in the very first variety show on TV, the Colgate Comedy Hour. She has survived her son and is 95 years old.
“He was my big brother, my hero; showed me how to pick up on girls, play basketball and any sport,” Jason recalled. “He set the record for the mile swim at CalState LA as a freshman. We danced together; we did a couple of movies together, dance movies in Hollywood. We did Pennies From Heaven together. We played poker with Steve Martin and Jeff would always get mad because Steve would clean us out; we never knew what he had. Bernadette Peters [the film’s female lead] would see me and always say, ‘Hey, where’s your brother?'”
Marton is also credited as a dancer in the 1986 film Knights of the City, which IMDB.com describes as “A street gang that is also a rap group tries to get a record contract,” and starred Leon Isaac Kennedy, Nicholas Campbell and several others. There is also a “dancer” credit for “Sheli Marton,” though Hatman was never married, so Sheli was likely just a friend, possibly a girlfriend, and this was her only movie.
But Hatman’s first love was the dance. He was a member of the dance troupe Dance Machine, which performed in various venues in Los Angeles and elsewhere, and for several years he was one of the dancers in Jeff Kutash’s “Splash” revue at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“Dancing Machine did stuff in Australia,” Jason recalled. “He did a bit with Rod Stewart, I think. He played the violin—well, pretended to play the violin. It was pretty funny.”
It was during those Las Vegas days that he first acquired the nickname/stage name Hatman.
“Jeff used to do hat tricks and cane tricks on camera,” Jason said. “He wasn’t a magician, but he could juggle and do hat tricks and cane tricks and he was a great MC; he used to MC the male exotic shows. Before that, he had dancing names like Jammin’ Jeff and Lefty Lott.
“I just know that he was a pioneer in the dance field, and he knew all the guys who invented these dance steps. There was the Skeeter Rabbit named after Skeeter, the Alpha named after Alpha. I can’t think of all the guys but there’s a whole bunch of names. The guys would make up these steps and then name them after themselves. This was probably in the ’70s; I don’t know.”
Marton worked at Evil Angel until about 2005, and the vast majority of the features/gonzos in which he appeared were for Evil, though he also had roles in XXX fare for Wicked Pictures, Vivid, Anabolic Video, Private and Hustler Video, though several of them were non-sex.
“I’ve known him for 25 years, probably, from back in the day,” recalled director/actor Brad Armstrong. “He was always a fixture in the business and at all the conventions and everything. I didn’t see him too too much because we didn’t run in the same production circles, but he was always a great guy; always of course had his hat on and was dancing around every chance he got. That’s why I cast him in Wicked Weapon : He did a tango with Jenna, so that’s I think the one and only time I had him on set with me, but yeah, it was to do the tango.”
But it was Hatman’s co-workers at Evil who knew him best.
“Jeff was at Evil Angel in the VHS-to-DVD era,” recalled Joey Silvera. “He was brought in by his friend John Stagliano I think before I was there. He kept an umbrella over us and was loyal as fuck; also funny as fuck; always a moment away from a small laugh to a big one. I know he loved his family and they loved him. I saw him on Thanksgiving and he was so grateful that I brought his long-time friend Holmes, my 15-year-old Lhassa Apso. She loved Jeff.”
Another of Hatman’s friends at Evil was Jules Jordan.
“I first met Jeff at Evil Angel when I came on board,” Jordan told AVN in an email. “He was always a happy, fun guy, who had a million stories, and could talk for hours.
“When I was the new guy at EA, Jeff gave me some great advice, and was a great ambassador for the company. He introduced me to Rocco, Joey Silvera, John Leslie and the rest of the directing crew at the time. These guys travelled the world together and had amazing stories.
“Jeff later came on board with me when I left Evil to do my own company, and I valued his time while he was employed with me. He was one of the guys who knew almost everyone in the industry.
“I was supposed to visit him very soon, Joey Silvera was with him on Thanksgiving and said he was in good spirits, and in good care. Will definitely miss him.”
Since Marton passed just today, no plans have been announced for a memorial—but when a date, time and place are announced, AVN will post that information.
Photo of Jeff Marton from his Facebook page.
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