This week, Yergy and Drewby take a break from true crime to pay tribute to the legend known as Billy Herrington, highlighting his early work in male adult entertainment, and his unexpected rise to internet fame in Asia, and later the rest of the world, through the internet phenomena of Gachimuchi.
Billy Herrington was born in North Babylon, New York, and grew up on Long Island learning karate from his father, who was a sensei. He had interests in boxing, wrestling and martial arts, but did not start bodybuilding until he was 24 years old, after moving to New York City.
Herrington began his career when his then girlfriend from Long Island submitted his pictures to Playgirl magazine. The photographs won him a “Real Men of the Month” contest and a $500.00 prize. His appearance in the magazine caught the eye of famed photographer Jim French, but it was two years before Herrington posed for his first Colt calendars for French. Soon after, Herrington was filming adult films for All Worlds Video, and appearing on mainstream TV programs such as Love Connection and the Ricki Lake talk show.
Herrington gained fame in Japan as an Internet meme, after a clip from one of his videos was posted on Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese video sharing website. Thousands of mash-up parody videos of him have been made, many of which utilize deliberate mishearings of lines from his films. He is affectionately called “Aniki,” or “older brother,” among the Nico Nico Douga community, and most of his videos are deliberately mistagged with “Wrestling Series,” “Forest Fairy,” “Philosophy,” or all three, later these videos would crossover to Youtube as well as Twitch through streamers like Forsen, and Gachimuchi would gain international popularity alongside the Catalina Video meme craze.
On February 14th, 2009, Herrington visited Japan after he was invited to make an appearance in a special Nico Nico Douga livecast for Valentine’s Day. According to the YouTube video description, more than 10,000 fans of Billy Herrington showed up at the Nico Nico Douga event in Tokyo’s Akihabara district. On the same day as the event, Japanese model kit makers Good Smile Company announced that they would manufacture a limited-edition Billy Herrington action figure.
During the evening of March 1, 2018, Herrington was involved in a car accident on California State Route 111 in Rancho Mirage. He was found trapped in the wreckage and was brought to a Palm Springs hospital, where he died the next day. On March 3rd, film director Chi Chi LaRue tweeted a memorial tweet for Herrington, which gained over 4,000 retweets and over 1,500 likes in less than 12 hours. Shortly after, Herrington’s mother, confirmed the death in a Facebook post which received over 1,400 reactions over the same time, revealing he died in a car accident. Fans responded with hundreds of tributes across video sharing sites and message boards. One tribute video uploaded on Nico Nico Douga accumulated over 80,000 views in less than one week. Herrington was buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.
We miss you Billy ❤ ♂ RIP
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