Butler was born Paul Siederman in Brooklyn to a Jewish father and a mother of half German/Irish and half Cherokee Native American descent. His paternal grandfather, Sam Siederman, was the half-brother of Russian Communist leader Leon Trotsky.
Butler initially tried his luck at mainstream acting, performing in a variety of Off-Broadway plays. He also had a few walk-ons on the long-running soap One Life to Live in 1978 and made an uncredited appearance in Frank Henenlotter's 1982 horror classic Basket Case. He was generally unhappy with the constant pressure to sleep with men in exchange for parts, and began to slowly grow tired of the wasted effort.
He first got into hardcore in 1981 after answering an ad in "Backstage Magazine" looking for hardcore actors. He went in to audition for a non-sex role and after a little persuading, ended up with a hardcore sex role in the 1981 film Young, Wild and Wonderful.
His stage name was inspired from hearing the Jerry Butler song "Only the Strong Survive" on the radio while he was picking up his first paycheck. Butler was touted as the most talented male actor in his day with turns in Chuck Vincent's bigger budget adult efforts Roommates (1981) and In Love (1983), the latter winning him Hustler's Best Actor Award.
During his adult film career, Butler made appearances in three more mainstream films, playing a comedic role in Preppies (1984), the dramatic lead in psychological thriller Deranged (1987) both directed by Chuck Vincent, and in the horror film Evils of the Night (1985) with Aldo Ray, John Carradine, Tina Louise and Julie Newmar.
In 1987, Butler married former child star Lisa Loring, who was best known for playing Wednesday Addams on The Addams Family television show in the 1960s. They met on the set of the adult film Traci's Big Trick (1987), where Lisa was working as a make-up artist. In the ensuing years of their marriage, Loring voiced her dissatisfaction with Butler's continued involvement in pornography, and eventually Butler began secretly participating in porn shoots without her knowledge. In an interview with NBC's Dateline in the 1990s Butler described himself as "addicted to the lifestyle" but claimed to be ashamed of his clandestine behavior and its effect on his marriage. The couple later appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show, again discussing the damage Butler's porn career was causing to their marriage. Butler and Loring divorced in 1992, which was also the year he began to drop out of the hardcore industry, and evidently by choice virtually disappeared from the public eye for many years.
Butler released an autobiography in 1989, as told to Robert Rimmer and Catherine Tavel, called Raw Talent. The book gave an insider's account of the porn scene. He was very forthcoming in the book, giving very intimate details of some of his fellow co-workers in the business, and citing the existence of widespread drug abuse in the industry. This angered many of his colleagues, including Ron Jeremy, who in his own biographical film, specifically registered his displeasure with the unflattering way in which Butler portrayed him in the book.
Butler re-surfaced in 2003 in a non-sex role in a porn film entitled Sexy Sluts: Been There, Done That, released that year, which was directed by underground rapper Necro. Butler was also a featured guest on Necro's album The Sexorcist (2005).1985 AFAA Best Actor for Snake Eyes1985 XRCO Best Actor for Snake EyesAVN Hall of FameBasket Case (1982) (uncredited) .... Casey Greeter No. 1Preppies (1984) (as Paul Sutton) .... Dick FosterEvils of the Night (1985) (as Paul Siederman) .... EddieDeranged (1987) (as Paul Siederman) .... FrankElectric Blue 53 (1987) (V) .... Dr. LamarrOne Life to Live – Multiple uncredited appearances, 1978The Morton Downey Jr. Show – playing "Himself", September 1988Frontline – playing "Himself" in episode: "Death of a Porn Queen", 1987The Sally Jesse Raphael Show – playing "Himself" alongside his then-wife Lisa Loring, 1991