Icon: Sterling St. Jacques

Not much is known about Sterling St. Jacques except he came, he saw and he danced. The most mysterious of disco icons, St. Jacques – a model and overall leggy, beautiful creature – was the “nephew” (a title later upgraded to “son”) of actor Raymond St. Jacques (Cotton Comes to Harlem, Rawhide). Some claim, perhaps more accurately, that he was actually Raymond’s gay lover. (Both men, allegedly closeted homosexuals, died in the decades following, supposedly after long battles with AIDS.) Though he studied at Los Angeles City College for a time, St. Jacques’s origins are fuzzy – no actual record of his birth date or birthplace can be found, though he was rumored to be either Brazilian or Jamaican. He was fond of blue contact lenses and skin-tight ensembles (the more white and regal, the better) that complemented his formidable 6’2 frame and sleek physique.

Holding court in the nightlife scene of the late 1970s and early ‘80s, St. Jacques graced the covers of Playmen and walked the catwalk for Halston and Givenchy; he also had bit parts in the films Eyes of Laura Mars and Sistemo l’America e torno, an Italian comedy. He palled around with supermodel and Halston muse Pat Cleveland – his “beard” and preferred dance partner, when he wasn’t twirling the likes of Bianca Jagger and Caroline Kennedy – and was a regular at Studio 54.

When the fashionable night world of ‘70s-era New York dried up, St. Jacques moved to Europe to try and become a nightclub D.J. and advance his modeling career. He wasn’t too choosy, often appearing in publications high-end and low-brow alike, and performed mediocre Italo disco.

According to various Internet boards and old disco divas shacked up in places like the Chelsea Hotel, Sterling St. Jacques passed away in 1984. A book may be in the works about his life, his years spent as a “kept man” and boy about town in Manhattan, and various dilettante projects. Still, we believe it is best to let the pictures do the talking. — Natalie Guevara with special thanks to  www.CottonCandyTruant.blogspot.com for some of the scoop. Pictures after the jump.

Sterling St. Jacques and Pat Cleveland on Halston's Balcony, circa 1975, by Bob Colacello


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