The last of the big three porn stars, made famous or infamous depending on your view, just died. Marilyn Chambers was found dead Sunday. Like Linda Lovelace and John Holmes she died, relatively young and with problems.
Marilyn Chambers had once been the Ivory Snow girl, then started her porn career, to the surprise of many in the film industry. She was a star in many films and actually said she enjoyed her career and was able to live out her fantasies during it. She was 56 years old when she died, and investigators are still determining the cause, according to conflicting reports.
Chambers fame came from a film called Behind the Green Door. This was the first interracial pornographic film with a major audience. It gave Chambers notoriety and brought crowds from everywhere to indulge fantasies as well perhaps. Many people were stunned to see a white woman having sex on the screen with a black man. The notoriety brought a run on Ivory Snow boxes that had Marilyn Chamber's picture. In the 1980's she was arrested for dancing nude in a club in California. She also got news for running as Vice President on the Personal Choice Party in 2004 and 2008. She declared during the course of her career that she had wanted substantive movie roles, but no one would hire her after her porn films.
The death of Chambers recently brings to mind another short and tragic life of a porn star from the same 1970's era.. Linda Lovelace starred in a film Deep Throat. The film also had a special feature to it, since Lovelace was shown reflecting her particularly sterling ability, to be able to swallow a long penis down to the very base. This was so uniquely popular that stars such as Vice President Spiro Agnew, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Ed McMahon were said to have lined up to see it and to get private showings. Jack Nicholson, on the other hand, had particularly cryptic comments after seeing the film, believing the real thing to be far more exciting than the visual. Linda starred in the film with John Holmes, who was reported to be super-sized quite personally, and then went on to star in other porn films. The film was said to have had ten million viewers and to have made $600 million. Those 60 minutes of porn material were reported to have been bankrolled by the mob. Lovelace later wrote an autobiography in which she repudiated her past, but still was held in contempt according to many in the porn industry. She died at the age of 53.
John Holmes discovered he had a few inches on male competitors for penis length (13 inches) and circumference and decided to use this particular characteristic for a film career of his own. His descent was fairly rapid, as he became seriously involved in drugs. He turned to prostituting both himself and a girlfriend Dawn Schiller. Later he became involved in the “Wonderland Murders” a gangland killing since he had a close relationship with a drug dealer by the name of Eddie Nash who was the kingpin involved. He refused to cooperate with authorities and was acquitted for lack of evidence. Holmes died of AIDs in 1988 at the age of 43, declaring that he had sex with thousands of women and was reported to have made 2500 films. A film was made of his life, and he has been at times a cult figure on college campuses.
An era ends, the thrill of explicit sex in films no longer around with the long lines for the films that were popular in the early 1970's. The lives of the film stars who made some porn films mainstream were difficult, brutish and short.