Industry Vet Michael Warner Passes Away

By on January 19, 2021

Los Angeles, CA — Michael Warner, an adult industry pioneer and founding member of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), has passed away due to COVID-19 complications. A best friend. A mentor to everyone he met. The nicest guy you’d ever know. No words can describe this giant in the family of the adult business.

Warner was quietly behind the scenes throughout the adult industry, providing box covers for VHS and DVDs, catalogs for the many novelty companies, personal product packaging and a plethora of paper promotions with his printing company, Great Western Litho, based in Van Nuys, California. Warner took over the company from his father, a Holocaust survivor, when it was then known as the California Publishing and Liquidating Co. (CPLC). The company printed mainstream products and also shamelessly printed magazines and other printed needs for the burgeoning adult industry. When the adult industry was under attack in 1990, Warner was jailed for simply printing video box covers, as part of an FBI sting operation. This furthered his commitment to freedom of speech that inspired him, along with others in the video business, to create the Free Speech Legal Defense Fund, which later morphed into the Free Speech Coalition, which exists to this day.

Countless friends in the adult industry shared their words about this impactful yet quiet man, who contributed so much to the adult business family and beyond.

Susan Colvin, CEO of CalExotics, knew Warner since 1981. “We’ve been great friends for a long time. He’s always there for the good times, the bad times, and all the times. I talked to him every single day.”

Colvin was first hired by Warner and his sister, Vickie, to run a franchise of In and Out Photo. She also knew that Michael owned a printing plant and a number of other businesses.

“Vickie and I were then partners in a non-adult company called Jopen and the offices were at Great Western,” Colvin told XBIZ. “Jopen consulted with companies to computerize them as everything was in the BASIC computer language.”

She continued, “The guy who ran CPLC passed away and they needed assistance. At first, it was in operations and I didn’t know anything about adult! I knew they printed adult magazines that were really popular and VHS boxes, which were very enlightening for me.” They also owned a video company, Video Team, and a small novelty line called Swedish Erotica. When the companies were divided up, Warner was enthusiastic about Colvin purchasing Swedish Erotica.

“Because of his support, I could buy the small line as there were few women in the industry at that time. Twenty-seven years later, I still own what was once Swedish Erotica, now CalExotics,” said Colvin.

As a close, personal friend, she added, “Michael never missed a company industry event or awards show and even last night, before he passed, I texted him about the XBIZ Honors show,” Colvin continued, “He’s always been like a brother to me and my family, and his family has been like my own, too. He was the type of person who would be there for you, any time, any place, and I know that many others feel the same.”

Read the full XBIZ article here.

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