Thom Fleming 1981

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July 27, 1981

Thom Fleming had been laboring as a carpenter on his native Long Island for six years when last summer, at 28, he nailed down a whole new career: He broke into the fiercely competitive male model industry by landing the January cover of the male fashion bible, Gentlemen's Quarterly.

That coup debut was followed by appearances in the next four GQs and exotic assignments with Vogue and Italian Bazaar. His muscled, rugged looks now haul in daily fees of up to $1,500. "My life," he says, "has exploded." The son of a doctor and a housewife, Thom attended New York's Wagner College but left after his sophomore year to sell insurance before taking up a hammer in 1974 in Montauk. Then, while earning a little spare cash prying open clams at a party in the high-toned Hamptons, he met model agent Scott Copeland, who urged Fleming to change careers. Thom promptly dropped 25 pounds from his then chunky 205-pound, 6'1" frame and signed with Copeland at Manhattan's Other Dimensions.

Fleming now dates Elite fashion model Carol Alt and is having an oceanfront home of his own built in Montauk. Meanwhile he is already eyeing a new career. "I want to act," he says, "to learn that craft as I did carpentry. I have the instincts. I can be taught the technique."


Anonymous said...

One of the best of the era! My all-time favorite model.

Johec said...

yes, he was VERY handsome, I wonder how he looks now, he's like 57 years old.

According to this website he apparently came back to Montauk.

"Most of the house was designed—or is being designed, as it's a work in progress—by the couple in collaboration with their friend Thom Fleming, a former GQ model and firefighter turned Montauk carpenter, who for years helped maintain Eothen, the old Paul Morrissey estate now owned by J.Crew's Mickey Drexler."

how bad that he couldn't be an actor as he wished it.

Anonymous said...

The article stated he began as a carpenter. So, maybe he just returned to his first love.
Very cool, in any case.
Thanks! for all the work on this site! There are many sites devoted to the women in the business, and it's nice the men get the recognition they deserve.
Job well done!

Johec said...

that's right, it's like he closed the circle, I guess it was fascinating for him to change his life for a while.

oh and thanks for your words, I have to agree there are not many places about male models of the past.

Unknown said...

Thom Fleming, one of Herb Ritts's boyfriends, died of AIDS. I read it in "Herb Ritts -The Golden Hour" book. All the comments about this person are not the best...

Johec said...

Hi Pedro, lucky you that already have your book, I have to wait like 4 days!

Btw, this is other Thom Fleming, the model, he's now a professional carpenter or something like that, married.

The Thom Fleming you say is this one

he had skincare line, why do you say "All the comments about this person are not the best..."? god I want my book now!!!! :(

Unknown said...


I'm very sorry for mixing up the the model with the boyfriend, but they share exactly the same name.

Some excerpts from the book regarding the boyfriend (not the model):

"Thom Fleming just seemed so much more calculating. It was all about what he could get out of Herb. - CHRIS NELSON

Thom said to me "I'm not going to go to Japan with Herb unless I get $13,000." He got that on one first-class trip, in cash.
Herb told Thom that he was HIV positive in Santa Fe and Thom did not react kindly to it. He was like "Get me the f*ck out of here." I think Thom admired Herb but he was never in love with Herb. Later, ironically, Thom and I became the best of friends. In the last years of Thom's life, I moved him out to Malibu and he died in my arms of AIDS and that was horrific." - CHRIS CORTAZZO

In one of the small pictures, there he is showing the cash at KAZU opening in Tokyo, Japan, 1995. Enough?

Johec said...

how bad, I never thought that I would read something like that in the book. :|

btw, why are people still dying from AIDS? I believed that with medicament it's not mortal anymore. :|

thanks for the transcription, my book arrives in a few hours, according to UPS tracking :) :D ;)

Unknown said...

I am sorry that many people have died and some are still dying today of AIDS, but in this case, and after reading the book, unfortunately it's easy to understand why so many people around the Ritts circle died. I could not believe reading also about Tina Chow destiny... the last part of the book is really sad!

In another context, wait to read Ritts's mother (Shirley) quotes regarding Michael Jackson, Madonna, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, etc, this woman doesn't mince words! lol

Good reading!

Johec said...

I got my book! nice one but I expected some of those unpublished pictures from the actual Fahey gallery :))

... and I just read all those quotes about Herb's mom :| funny from certain perspective but finally she was rude with all of them, can't belive what happened with Elton John :-o

Anonymous said...

Thom fleming of montauk was nicknamed back in the 80's as a good looking guy and as real as they come...he helped many people and's in his blood...thank god i still see him every now and then..oh he's a firefighter..good man he is..xo

Anonymous said...

Thom fleming of montauk was nicknamed back in the 80's as a good looking guy and as real as they come...he helped many people and's in his blood...thank god i still see him every now and then..oh he's a firefighter..good man he is..xo

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