CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Ron Ellis, the well-known webmaster, photographer and videographer who ran the Teazeworld network of performer websites, passed away Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas. He was 44.
The beloved industry personality was a mentor, friend and business associate to countless adult entertainment professionals for more than two decades. He created Teazeworld in 2008, building and managing more than 20 official sites for some of the top porn stars in the world.
Ellis’ nephew Khris Drummond told AVN Wednesday, “my uncle wasn’t perfect, but to the end he tried to help as many people as he could. He had a big heart, man."
In addition to owning Exotic Talent Agency for more than 10 years and launching the careers of numerous established models, Ellis’ experience also included directing—he helmed six volumes of the Lay Da Pipe series for Black Market as well as shot titles for Darkside and Heatwave.
“Most of the black girls in the ‘90s and early 2000s got their starts because of him,” Drummond said. “Pinky, Roxy, whoever it was, they had a career because of Ron.”
Ellis got his first taste of adult work as a photographer for Hustler magazine more than 23 years ago before transitioning into talent management, content production and digital media services.
“I knew Ron for almost 20 years,” Mr. Marcus told AVN. “He was one of the first guys I worked with. He was always shooting content, doing three of four websites at the same time. … He worked with Darkside a lot and did a lot of post-production for them. He always found talent. If you needed a girl, he was your go-to guy.”
Drummond said Ellis had something about him that drew others to him.
“He had charisma,” Drummond continued. “He loved this business. You know how certain people, they’re in it for the check. But he loved this business and I want to protect the sanctity of this business for him because that’s what he believed in. That’s what he was about.
“Yes we’re black people in this business, but we didn’t go, ‘OK we’re black, we’re just going to take what was given. We’re going to make it ourselves.’
"We’re a network. We do websites, we also shoot content along with our partner Sean Barnett, who owns SinfulSolos. We all came together.”
Ellis was born in Louisiana but called L.A. and Las Vegas his home.
“He was a loving son,” Ellis’ mother Arma told AVN Wednesday. “He was my first born. He was a good person. … I loved him so much. He was intelligent and I’m going to miss him. I’m laying in his bed right now.”
Drummond said when Ellis wasn’t working on a website, he often enjoyed reading.
“He was a very educated dude,” Drummond added. “Everybody goes, ‘he’s a workaholic.’ But it wasn’t work for him. He enjoyed what he did and I’m glad I can say that with a smile.”
Drummond, who moved to L.A. from New York six years ago to join Ellis’ Teazeworld team, said his uncle considered his friends and colleagues to be “family.”
“When I say this is a family, I mean there’s girls that we do the sites for were his family. I just want to acknowledge them—Chanell Heart, Yasmine de Leon, Tia Cyrus—these girls were here going through this craziness with us. Misty Stone called. Ariella Ferrera. … Joslyn James, Ivan from Puba, … These people were his family. I spoke to them every five seconds. They were asking me, ‘How’s Ron?’ These people came up to the hospital.
“The moral to me is, he moved me out from New York and told me he wanted me to run the company. I expected maybe I’d run the company five years from now. I didn’t know I’d have to run it today, man.
“He’s been doing it over 23 years. A lot of people are family to him. I just want to thank everybody who cared.”
Veteran director Ivan told AVN, “He was one of the few people that I can honestly tell you was a true friend. He was a good, good person in the industry. He wasn’t creepy, wasn’t a scumbag, just a good dude.”
The news of Ellis' passing brought an outpouring of tributes to Ellis on social media Wednesday.
"So broken hearted," Ariella Ferrera said on her Twitter feed. "Today the world lost a good man a true friend Ron."
Phoenix Marie tweeted, "#RonEllis was always full of laughs and love for everyone who crossed his path... He will truly be missed."
Sheridan Love added, "I am absolutely heart broken that my friend @teazeworld has passed away. He was such a gentle soul and a great human."
Ellis' family has started a memorial fund at GoFundMe.com. Click for information on how to donate.