He was a hugely talented director across multiple industries…
Wesley Emerson has passed away at the age of 73. Wesley, who’s real name was Cass Paley, was an acclaimed XXX director for most of the Nineties and a few years into the 2000s. News of his death began to circulate after being confirmed by friends and family. Wesley had been on life support for several days prior to his passing.
While he may not be the most famous adult film director to have worked during “The Golden Age” of Porn, he was highly respected by his peers and everyone who worked on his sets, possessed a technical skillset matched by very few in the industry and was widely regarded as a genuinely kind and decent human being. For all of those reasons, pour one out for Wesley Emerson.
The loss of Wesley Emerson comes less than three months after the death of another legendary adult film director. In November, Robby D. passed away after a short battle with COVID-19.
Who was Wesley Emerson?
I mentioned that Wesley’s real name was Cass Paley. Before moving into the world of smut and taking on the name of “Wesley Emerson”, Cass Paley was already a highly accomplished producer of music videos and documentary films. His work in this area, much of which is now housed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, included work for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen and Dr. John.
Beginning in 1990, Cass began working as a director for the adult film industry and took on the alias of Wesley Emerson. During his time in Porn, which spanned until 2007, Wesley helmed close to 200 XXX rated films for studios such as VCA, Video Team, Wicked Pictures, Jill Kelly Productions and Afro-Centric.
Wesley Emerson’s work included some of the best selling hardcore work of that era. Some of his most popular films were Video Team’s No Man’s Land series, Sweet Hearts (Sinsation Pictures), The Last Resort (VCA) and Covergirl (Wicked Pictures). Along the way, Emerson worked with many of the industry’s most popular talents, including Debi Diamond, Ashlyn Gere, Nikki Dial, Asia Carrera, Rayveness, Jenna Haze, Inari Vachs and Nina Hartley.
In addition to all of those accomplishments, Cass set aside his Wesley Emerson persona on a few occasions to work on other porn-related projects. His documentary films Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes and X-Rated 2: The Greatest Adult Stars of All Time were both critically acclaimed and reflected his deep knowledge and experience of the adult film industry.
Sadly, Cass struggled with both his health and finances in the last years of his life. In 2018, he set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise cash to help cover medical bills related to kidney failure. Then in 2019, he launched another fundraising effort after he was threatened with eviction and was struggling to afford another place to live.
Rest easy, sir…
Wesley Emerson was a kind and talented member of the adult film industry and his work not only helped fuel the Golden Age of smut but also served as an inspiration for the next generation of XXX filmmakers. Beyond that, Cass Paley was an absolute gift to this Earth and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him and working with him. His works across the music industry, Porn and Mainstream Hollywood serve as a reflection of just how special of a talent this man was in life.
Rest in peace, Mr. Paley. You will be missed and never forgotten.