Jeremy was born to an upper-middle class Jewish family; his father Arnold was a physicist and his mother a book editor who served in the O.S.S. during World War II as she spoke fluent German and French He had a uncle who was a gangster with ties to Bugsy Siegel.
Jeremy has described himself growing up as "the middle child craving universal acceptance and approval" Ron Jeremy attended Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens; former CIA director George Tenet and actor Reginald VelJohnson were classmates. He earned bachelor's degrees in education and theater and a master's degree in special education from Queens College, City University of New York. He is also a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon International fraternity. He taught special education classes in the New York City area and was a substitute teacher for regular classes.
Career Jeremy left the teaching profession (his self-described "ace in the hole") to pursue an acting career in New York City, and says he learned what it was like to make no money as an actor who "starved Off-Broadway". Jeremy posed for Playgirl after his then-girlfriend submitted his photo to the magazine, and subsequently moved into the adult film industry as a means to support himself. His first appearance in a porn film was in a film by Chuck Vincent called Snap (though later renamed COD). He started using his first and middle name professionally in the adult industry, after his grandmother Rose was pestered by people calling her thinking they were contacting Ron.
Jeremy had his nickname of "The Hedgehog" bestowed upon him by Bill Margold after an incident on the set of Olympic Fever, shot in 1979. Jeremy had flown in from New York to shoot the movie and had dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, expecting warm weather. During his motorcycle ride to the set, located in near Lake Arrowhead in the California mountains, the weather had deteriorated to blizzard conditions which chilled him to the point of hypothermia. Upon arriving at the set, Jeremy was immediately whisked away to warm up in a hot shower. When he had finished, his skin had taken on a pink hue from the temperature extremes and the hairs on his body were standing on end. Margold's comments on seeing Jeremy after the shower were "You are a hedgehog, my friend. A walking, talking hedgehog."
Jeremy is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Appearances in Adult Films"; his entry on the Internet Adult Film Database (IAFD) lists more than 1900 films in which he has performed and an additional 264 films which he directed. By way of comparison, John Holmes—the next highest-ranked male star on the AVN Top 50 porn stars—has only 384 acting credits listed on the IAFD.
For a time, he was semi-blacklisted within the porn industry. One joke that made the rounds within the industry at that time was "the kinkier acts some actresses would not perform were bestiality, sado-masochism and sex with Jeremy". Jeremy had put on sizable weight and sports a large belly and unlike some of his pornographic male star counterparts, is totally out of shape. However, he has since been recognized for his contributions to the adult industry by being inducted into both the AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame. As well, Jeremy's work earned him a spot on the Adult Star Path of Fame located in Edison, New Jersey.
2006 F.A.M.E. Award for Favorite Adult Actor