Ronald Jeremy Hyatt was born in Queens, New York to a middle-class Jewish family of Russia and Poland. His father, Arnold, was a physicist and his mother a book editor who served in the O.S.S. during World War II, as she spoke fluent German and French.
Jeremy left the teaching profession (he called it his "ace in the hole") to pursue a legitimate acting career on Broadway. He has said that he learned then what it was like to be broke, making no money as an actor who "starved Off-Broadway" Jeremy soon found work posing for Playgirl after his then-girlfriend submitted his photo to the magazine. Jeremy utilized this opportunity as a springboard into the adult film industry, which he viewed as a reliable means of supporting himself.
Jeremy began using his first and middle name professionally in the adult industry, after his grandmother Rose was pestered by people calling her thinking they were contacting him. Rose, listed at that time as R. Hyatt in the phone book, was reportedly pestered at all hours by prospective suitors who'd seen Jeremy in Playgirl. "She had to move out of her apartment for a month," he has said. "My father told me, 'If you want to get into this naked, crazy business, so be it, but if you use the family name again, I'll kill you.'" He quickly dropped his last name professionally for fear of embarrassing his family.
Jeremy had the nickname "The Hedgehog" bestowed upon him by fellow porn actor Bill Margold in 1979 after a situation on the set of the porn film Olympic Fever. Jeremy flew in from New York to shoot the movie. Expecting warm California weather, he wore only a T-shirt and shorts and brought no additional clothing. During the long motorcycle ride to the set, located near Lake Arrowhead in the California mountains, the weather deteriorated to blizzard conditions, which chilled him to the point of near hypothermia. Upon arriving at the set, Jeremy was immediately whisked away to thaw out in a hot shower. When he finished, his skin had taken on a pinkish hue from the temperature extremes, and all the many hairs on his body were standing on end. Margold's comment upon seeing Jeremy at that moment was "You are a hedgehog, my friend. A walking, talking hedgehog."
Jeremy is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Appearances in Adult Films"; his entry on the Internet Adult Film Database lists more than 2,000 films in which he has performed, and an additional 285 films which he directed. By way of comparison, John Holmes, the next highest-ranked male star on the AVN Top 50 porn stars, has only 384 acting credits listed on the IAFD.
One joke that made the rounds within the industry at the time was "the kinkier acts some actresses would not perform were bestiality, sado-masochism and sex with Jeremy." However, he has since been recognized for his contributions to the adult industry by being inducted into both the AVN and its Hall of Fame. Additionally, Jeremy's work earned him a spot on the Adult Star Path of Fame located in Edison, New Jersey.
Outside the adult film industry, Jeremy worked as a "special consultant" for the 1986 film 9½ Weeks. He appears in the 1996 horror film They Bite in a role making a film-within-a-film (Invasion of the Fishfuckers) – another horror film, both in the same vein as Humanoids from the Deep. He also served as a consultant on the 1997 film Boogie Nights—which chronicled the emergence of the fictional porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg, loosely based on the life of porn star and former co-worker of Jeremy's John Holmes)—and the movie The Chase, in which he has a small cameo as a news cameraman. He played the monster "Blisterface" in ABC's children's show Bone Chillers. He also appeared in the 1999 film The Boondock Saints, played a bartender in 2002's Spun and acted in 2003's cult film Zombiegeddon. He was an extra in Ghostbusters, played a male strip-club announcer in Detroit Rock City, and had a cameo in Killing Zoe and in the porn spoof, Orgazmo. In addition, he appeared in several productions released by Troma Entertainment, such as Terror Firmer, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV and Poultrygeist.
He was the subject of a feature-length biographical documentary, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, released in 2001 and widely distributed on DVD by mainstream retailers. In that same year he is briefly seen on the Heavy Metal Band Fear Factory's DVD Digital Connectivity. In 2003 Jeremy appeared as himself in, and lent his name to, the comedy film Being Ron Jeremy, a parody of Being John Malkovich. Jeremy is a frequent interviewee in documentaries about the porn industry, or related subjects such as Fuck: A Fuckumentary.
He was featured in the music video "The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle" by A Day to Remember in 2007 off of their CD entitled For Those Who Have Heart. In 2007, he appeared in the comedy film Finishing the Game as himself. Jeremy starred in 2008 in the erotic horror film I Am Virgin, which was released in 2010.
Jeremy has a cameo in Crank: High Voltage, playing himself as a protester angry at the low salaries porn stars get. Another 2009 cameo was in "Stripper: Natasha Kizmet. He once again appears as himself in the 2009 release One-Eyed Monster, a horror film parody predicated on the premise that an alien force takes over Jeremy's penis and begins killing people in the woods.
Jeremy is the Lead Antagonist/League Owner in the sports comedy Tetherball: The Movie and appeared in the western comedy Big Money Rustlas featuring Insane Clown Posse in 2010.
In 1980, Jeremy competed on the game show Wheel of Fortune as Ron Hyatt. Among his winnings was a trip to Mazatlán.
Jeremy appeared in the second season of The Surreal Life, during which he developed a close friendship with Tammy Faye Bakker despite her devout Christianity and disapproval of pornography, and returned to the franchise for the ninth season of The Surreal Life: Fame Games, in which he finished second to Traci Bingham on the season finale, which aired on 25 March 2007. Jeremy also appeared in a segment on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show. Additionally, he made appearances on Penn and Teller's Bullshit! in episodes regarding penis enlargement and circumcision. In 2005, he appeared on the UK reality TV show, The Farm. Jeremy also made a brief cameo on Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, in the episode "YouTube VS Porn", in a short segment where people on the street were shown a video of hardcore pornography, and Jeremy was the only one disgusted by the video.
Jeremy was seen in the Robot Chicken episode, "A Piece of the Action", in which he was voiced by Michael Benyaer. In the episode, he and several others parody The Surreal Life and Lord of the Rings. The segment lampoons his penis size by having his character unseat a knight on horseback using nothing but his erect penis. Jeremy appeared as himself in the 2001 Family Guy episode "Brian Does Hollywood", in which he is a presenter at an adult industry award show in which Brian Griffin is a nominee. Comedian Kathy Griffin went on a date with him in the third season of her reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Ron Jeremy has also appeared in a part on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0
In 2003, Jeremy appeared on The Frank Skinner Show and performed a duet ("I Got You Babe") with former Cabinet minister Mo Mowlam. Jeremy appeared on Chappelle's Show as himself in a spoof called "What if the Internet was a real place?", in which he asks Dave Chappelle if he would like to see some of his films. Jeremy also appeared as a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel late-night news and comedy talk show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld in 2007. In the "Super Karate Monkey Death Car" episode of Newsradio, Jeremy can be seen sitting in the audience at Jimmy James's reading, along with Brian Posehn. Jeremy appeared in Tosh.0 as the falling prom girl's date. Jeremy appeared on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, as himself, in Bourdain's "Food Porn" (Season 5) and "Food Porn 2" (Season 6) episodes. Jeremy appeared on Silent Library in 2010. In the show, he was the "Mystery Creature" that was concealed underneath a sheet in a cage, the contestant has to feed him carrots while being blindfolded.
During the 2013 Academy Award broadcast, host and emcee Seth MacFarlane mentioned Jeremy in his opening monologue, "From Whoopi all the way down to Ron Jeremy, it eventually found its way to me", joking about the number of rejections that Oscar organizers must have gotten from potential hosts before they arrived at him. Later in the April issue of AVN magazine in the Crossover Report section, with roughly 1 billion viewers worldwide, the writer observed that "... the mere fact that his name made its way into one of MacFarlane's opening lines would suggest that he has officially reached household status on a global scale."
Jeremy has appeared in videos by Sublime, Mercury Rev, Moby, Insane Clown Posse, Kid Rock, LMFAO, Everclear, Sam Kinison, Guns N' Roses, Mad Yellow Sun, Los Umbrellos, XXX Rottweiler Hundar (Icelandic), The Radioactive Chicken Heads, A Day To Remember, Escape The Fate, Christina Linhardt, Necro, Flight of the Conchords, My Darkest Days, Armin Van Buuren, The Meices, and Steel Panther. In addition, he released a rap single called "Freak Of The Week" which peaked at 95 on the Billboard rap charts; a music video for this was also produced. Jeremy introduced Boston ska punk band Big D and the Kids Table at the 2011 and 2013 Vans Warped Tour in Carson, California, and also appeared in their new video for the song One Day. In 2001, he made a small appearance in industrial/groove metal band Fear Factory's DVD Digital Connectivity, where he welcomes the viewer, in the "Digimortal" portion of the DVD, "to the world of Fear Factory". In 2008, Brooklyn rap artist Necro featured Ron as well as Jack Napier, Rebeca Linares, and several others for the videos "Who's Ya Daddy" and "I Wanna F**k". In 2011, he appeared in LMFAO's music video for the song "Sexy And I Know It". In 2011, he also appeared on the rap group "Bankrupt Records" album "Double Vision" on the skit "The Ron Jeremy Call".
In 2012, he appeared in Canadian rock band My Darkest Days music video for their song "Casual Sex". In 2013, he appeared in the music video for the song "This Is What It Feels Like" by famous DJ Armin van Buuren, later in the year he appeared in a music video, a parody of "Wrecking Ball (Miley Cyrus song)" by YouTuber Bart Baker.
Jeremy was featured as a playable character in the Celebrity Deathmatch video game. His image was used as a fairy in the game Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, in which he gives tips and advice to the main character. Ron Jeremy also stars in Bonetown as the king of Bonetown and sex god. Jeremy appears in the 2011 video game Postal III as Raul Chomo, the mayor of the fictional town of Catharsis, Arizona.
Jeremy appeared in a series of viral video spoofs for video sharing website Heavy.com. The videos lampooned include Britney Spears, lonelygirl15, Little Superstar and others. In 2007 he had a cameo appearance in "The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle" video, by A Day to Remember. In addition, Jeremy appeared on an episode of Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, titled "Pamous Movie Star".
In January 2009, Jeremy appeared with David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married with Children) in an episode of Faustino's show Star-ving, which airs on Crackle, as does the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show. In June 2009, he did a cameo in the music video "10 Miles Wide" by Escape The Fate, along with Dennis Hof and other adult video performers. In December 2010, Jeremy starred in the Break.com video Tron Jeremy, a parody of the film Tron: Legacy.
As a further indication of his crossover celebrity status, Jeremy has posed in an advertisement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to raise awareness of the overpopulation of domesticated animals. In the poster, he lies partially nude on a bed, a pair of handcuffs on his wrists. Poking fun at his notoriety, the title of the advertisement exclaims, "Too much sex can be a bad thing. Spay and neuter your cats and dogs." Jeremy also appeared in a 2008 video for PETA, explaining why in his view, more humane slaughter practices by KFC would be "not just a moral thing but also a smart business move", quipping that "The Colonel might get a promotion and become a General" as a result.
Jeremy released his memoir, titled Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz, in February 2007. The book was published by Harper Collins.
In 2006, Jeremy began a series of debates on pornography opposing Pastor Craig Gross, founder of anti-pornography website XXXchurch.com, visiting various U.S. and Canada college campuses as part of the "Porn Debate Tour".
On January 29, 2013, Jeremy drove himself to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after experiencing severe chest pain. Doctors discovered an aneurysm near his heart and he was operated on the following day. Three weeks later, he was released from the hospital. On September 29, 2016, he accidentally hit someone with his vehicle. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
In June 2009, Jeremy and business partner Paul Smith opened Ron Jeremy's Club Sesso, a swingers nightclub located in the financial district of downtown Portland, Oregon.
Jeremy is also involved in the marketing of a line of rum "Ron de Jeremy" to which he lent his name ("ron" being Spanish for "rum"). Television ads for the rum featuring Jeremy proclaim that it's rum "Ron Style".
† – directed by John Frankenheimer1983 AFAA Award – Best Supporting Actor (Suzie Superstar)
1984 AFAA Award – Best Supporting Actor Award (All the way in)
1986 AVN Award – Best Supporting Actor—Film (Candy Stripers II)
1991 AVN Award – Best Supporting Actor—Video (Playin' Dirty)
2004 AFWG Award – Crossover Performer of the Year
2004 FICEB Award – Best Actor (The Magic Sex Genie – International film grup)
2006 F.A.M.E. Award – Favorite Adult Actor