Julian Kay is the protagonist of American Gigolo, the 80’s Icon movie.
Julian Kay (Richard Gere) is a male escort in Los Angeles whose job supports his expensive taste in cars and clothes, and his plush Westwood apartment. He is blatantly materialistic, narcissistic and superficial; however, he claims to take some pleasure in his work from being able to sexually satisfy women.
Julian’s procuress, Anne (Nina Van Pallandt), sends him on an assignment with a wealthy old widow, Mrs. Dobrun (Carole Cook), who is visiting town. Afterwards, he goes to the hotel bar and meets Michelle Stratton (Lauren Hutton), a senator’s beautiful but unhappy wife, who becomes interested in him. Meanwhile, Julian’s other pimp, Leon (Bill Duke), sends him to Palm Springs on an assignment to the house of Mr. Rheiman (Tom Stewart), a wealthy financier. Rheiman asks Julian to have rough, sado-masochistic sex with his wife Judy (Patricia Carr) while he watches them. The next day, Julian berates Leon for sending him to a “rough trick” and makes it clear he doesn’t do kinky or gay assignments.
As Julian begins to get to know Michelle, he learns that Judy Rheiman has been murdered. Los Angeles Police Department Detective Sunday (Hector Elizondo) investigates Julian as a primary suspect. Though he was with another client, Lisa Williams (K Callan), on the night of the murder, she refuses to give Julian an alibi in order to protect her and her husband’s reputations.
As Julian’s relationship with Michelle deepens, evidence connecting him with the murder mounts. He soon realizes that he is being framed (finding jewels from the Rheiman house planted in his car) and grows increasingly desperate. His mounting anguish is visually represented by a degeneration in style; his clothes become dirty and rumpled, he goes unshaven, and he goes incognito in a cheap rental car, after discovering that someone is hiring people to follow him.
Julian finally concludes that Leon and Rheiman himself are the ones trying to frame him, and that one of Leon’s other gigolos is the real murderer. He goes to confront Leon, telling him he knows everything, but Leon refuses to help him. Julian pleads with Leon to clear his name, even offering to work exclusively for him and do kink and gay assignments, but Leon remains implacable. During a brief scuffle, Julian accidentally pushes Leon over the apartment balcony and he falls to his death.
With no one to help him, Julian ends up in jail, awaiting trial for the Rheiman murder. However, when all seems lost, Michelle risks her reputation and her marriage to provide Julian with the alibi that can save him from prison.