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Many Playboy Playmates Have Died Young

MIAMI - The selection of Anna Nicole Smith as a Playboy Playmate in 1992 made her a member of an exclusive sorority. Her death at 39 put her in a more grisly club _ Playmates who haven't reached their 50th birthday.

Automobile accidents, drug overdoses, homicides, a plane crash _ all have claimed the lives of Playmates.

"It's sad how many girls we've lost," said Peter Gowland, who photographed a number of centerfolds for Playboy in the 1950s and 60s with the help of his wife.

In 1968, Gowland photographed Paige Young. In 1974, she was dead of a drug overdose. Jayne Mansfield, another Playmate he photographed, died in a car crash in 1967 at 34.

Eve Meyer, a 1955 Playmate, was one of more than 550 people killed when two airliners collided on takeoff at Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1977. She was 46.

More recently, Ellen Louise Maligo, known in Playboy as "Star Stowe," was found murdered at 40 in Coral Springs in 1997.

Marilyn Monroe, the cover girl for the magazine's inaugural issue, famously died at 36 from a 1962 overdose of sleeping pills.

Tonya Crews, Carol Willis and 1970 Playmate of the Year Claudia Jennings all died in car accidents in the 1960s and 70s while still in their 20s.

Playmate Willy Rey, pictured on Playboy's first stock certificates, was 23 when she died of a drug overdose in 1973.

Twenty-eight-year-old Playmate Elisa Bridges died in 2002 after being found unresponsive in bed. Playboy said she died of natural causes, but a coroner's report said Bridges died of an accidental drug overdose.

Dead Porn Stars

Through the wonders of technology, dead porn stars never die. When captured on quality film or videotape, they don't even fade away. Endlessly performing carnal routines on TVs everywhere, girls like Savannah, Alex Jordan, Megan Leigh and Shauna Grant bring orgasms to thousands of men unable to make it with live women.

Did Alex and company die for our sins? Were their souls too sensitive to last in this greedy, hung-up society? Their perceptions of truth too keen? Inquiring minds want to know.

I too felt skeptical when I began investigating these claims. But as I listened to pornographers reminisce about their fallen comrades, I realized that Savannah and Shauna were far more than junkies sucking cock on camera to buy their next fix. They were artists, "the sacrificial redeemer of us all, the only person capable of that transcendence that gives a liberating meaning to our lives." (Irving Kristol)

As if to give maximum notice about the tawdry perils of decadent capitalism, many performers died in slow suicides. Tina Russell drank herself into stomach cancer and death 5/81. About 100 performers, most of them in the gay genre, died of AIDS. On 3/13/88, John Holmes became the first star to die of the disease which, according to Bill Margold, was started by the American government as revenge against uppity blacks and gays.

Suffering from Kaposi's Sarcoma, which leaves large purple splotches on the body, former stud Marc Stevens carried out drug deals during the late 1980s at his Greenwich Village apartment in semi-darkness. He died in 1989 of AIDS.

After finding out he was HIV positive, Wade Nichols committed suicide. Lisa DeLeeuw died of AIDS 11/11/93.

About a dozen gay performers killed themselves, including Joel Curry, Christian Fox, Fred Halstead, and Alan Lambert. Straights Talia James, Lynn Tars and Tina Ross (1984) killed themselves.

Tiffany Lane died in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of one of Patti Petite's legs.

Veri Knotty, transsexual Jill Munro and Danny Husong died young. Laurien Dominique choked to death.

A john murdered Charli Waters in 1989.

Kevin James (1987) and Michael Bruce died of testicular cancer.

The 1974 documentary Confessions of a Blue Movie Star tells the story of Claudia Fielers last film and her suicide at age 23. A single mother and medical student, she took up porno to make money. Her last movie was based on the ancient Greek tragedy Lysistrata. After an angry argument with the director, she went to a public park called "The English Garden" and swallowed poison. The director simply replaced her and finished the movie.

The catalyst of William Dancer's 1975 film Night Pleasures, Melba Bruce, plays a stranger wanting a stripper job in a bar run by John Leslie and John Seeman. "Night Pleasures offers a fresh perspective on female sexual identity," says Jim Holliday. "Melba portrays a woman in control of her free spirited sexuality years before that became trendy. She doesn't mind the sleazy strip joint and is not afraid or ashamed to turn tricks."

Her understanding of patriarchy too keen, Melba Bruce, in 1977, committed suicide.

Appearing in X films hurt Linda Wong, star of such films as 1985's The Erotic World of Linda Wong. "I was never viewed as a human being. The greatest compliment that anyone has given me is that "Linda, you're a nice person." Most people, right off the bat, assume that I am a piece of meat, a porno star, a floozy." (AVN)

Linda was the first Asian porn star. Born in Hawaii and raised in San Francisco (first in Mill Valley and later in San Bruno), she entered the industry in the mid '70s.

She displayed a soft '70s style body. Her best performance may have come in 1977's Jade Pussycat where she performs with Georgina Spelvin and John Holmes.

After retiring in 1981, she returned four years later out of shape to star in The Erotic World of Linda Wong. She was planning yet another comeback in 1987 when she died of a drug overdose.

A source: "Prior to her start in X-rated films, she could be found working at the Condor in
downtown SF, alongside Carol Doda. Her real name was Linda Ching. I ran into her at a party in 1985, and she was in pretty bad shape, having mixed alcohol with Quaaludes. On the other hand, when I first met her
in the 1976, she was bright, articulate, and full of life; in fact, she seemed too well-adjusted to be in the adult film industry."

Richard Olson writes on RAME 2/23/99: "Linda died December 7, 1987 in Petaluma, California. I was with her at the time. she died of an overdose resulting from Zanax, chlorlhydrate and alcohol. Considering we'd been living together in excess of 2 years, I'd have to say that her death was NOT intentional."

Born 7-1-64, Lei Lani died 2-4-93 of "an accident related to psychological turmoil." (Excalibur) Afraid of open spaces, Lani liked to hide in small corners. She died when she crawled into a tiny hole in the wall, got stuck and suffocated.

Born 5/30/63 as Colleen Applegate, Shauna Grant grew up in a small town in Minnesota. But even there she wasn't safe from America's deliberate waging of economic violence against its citizens. At age 18, she disappeared with a man her parents disapproved of, and swallowed sleeping pills in an attempt to escape the miseries of a sexually-repressed society. It didn't work.

Fleeing patriarchy and her parents, Colleen ran to California. Her innocent look and sensitive soul captured the attention of photographers for Penthouse and Hustler who paid her $2000 a session to spread her cunt.

Shauna's parents soon saw her naked in magazines and they flew to California to impose their bourgeois morality on their free-thinking daughter-artist-junkie. Colleen ran away. They didn't hear from her for two months.

In the fall of 1982, while still not talking to her mom and dad, Colleen did a few hardcore porn loops for Suze Randall which came to the attention of Bobby Hollander who cast her as Shauna Grant in such porn features as Suzie Superstar and Flesh and Laces.

Shauna made 30 movies over the next year, doing 37 men before the cameras, catching Herpes, undergoing an abortion, earning more than $100,000 and spending most of it on cocaine.

"My favorite part of sex scenes with Shauna," remembers Jerry Butler, "was when the director told me I could cum."

Like other male performers, Jerry found it difficult to get erect while screwing Shauna. It was like f---ing the dead.

"I never saw Shauna Grant laugh," says Jerry Butler. "I was angry that Shauna allowed herself to get into a business that was swallowing her up."

Shauna played herself in Roberta Findlay's 1983 film Glitter. She tells Butler that she comes from a small town in Michigan. "I need to be sure. I want a commitment... All I ever wanted is a house, kids, and a man who loves me."

During the months she appeared in sex flicks, Shauna called her parents regularly. She quit porn in 1983 and opened a leather boutique in Palm Springs, funded by her drug-dealing boyfriend Jake Ehrlich. Oppressed by absurdly high rates of capital gains taxes, Shauna stole from the store until it closed.

"The simple version of Shauna's suicide is that she kept increasing her coke until she became paralyzed with life," claims Brad Williams. He doesn't realize that Grant's keen perception of America's socio-economic power made her despair of National Public Radio ever receiving adequate funding from those "uptight motherf---ers" in Congress.

One midnight in Minnesota, Karen Applegate received a call saying that her daughter had shot herself. Karen phoned the hospital to find out Colleen's condition. A nurse said: "Her condition is that a bullet went in one side of her head and came out the other side. What do you want me to tell you?"

Three years to the month that Colleen Applegate left the small Minnesota town of Farmington, she returned in a casket to be buried.

Her parents insisted for months, without evidence, that their daughter had been murdered. They still believe a version of this - that the porn industry slew their daughter.

In exchange for money which they used in part for Colleen's tombstone, Phil and Karen Applegate cooperated with a network television movie that gave a fictionalized account of Shauna's life and death. The couple regretted their cooperation when they saw Shattered Innocence for they deplored the way the film portrays pornographers. "It makes them look as if they're just running a business and she got in trouble on her own," says Karen.

Like many couples after the death of a child, Karen and Phil divorced.

The daughter of Coach TV actor Jerry Van Dyke and the niece of veteran TV and film star Dick Van Dyke, Nancy Kelly at age 30, performed in two porn videos - The Coach's Daughter and Club Josephine.

Kelly spoke on the phone with her estranged husband actor Jack Nance shortly before hanging herself in 1991. Jack told her that he loved her.

Outraged by such an insensitive comment, discouraged by the prolieration of nuclear weapons, depressed over her lack of a legitimate Hollywood career, Kelly felt like a failure.

Unable to deal with the racism, sexism and lookism rampant in Western society, she had consumed massive amounts of drugs and alcohol for almost 20 years.

Because of Christianity's uptight mores, her foray into porn ultimately made her feel degraded. What pushed her over the edge was a drug dependency, a failed marriage, the exploitation of third world peoples by multinational corporations, a going-nowhere career and a fateful bachelor party where she performed the night of her suicide.

Former child TV star Lisa Loring lived with Nancy Kelly after separating from her porn star husband Jerry Butler. While Loring went to the drug store to buy tranquilizers for Kelly, Nancy used a rope plant-hanger and its hook to hang herself.

Kelly's death made headlines across America. Her father, Jerry Van Dyke, knew nothing of his daughter's secret life and when the scandal broke in the news after her death, Jerry hired a private investigator to find out what kind of life his daughter had led.

Loring later befriended Alex Jordan who also killed herself, and Jill Kelly whose husband Cal Jammer killed himself in January, 1995. (CHECK?)

Kelly's life and death reveal common themes in performer suicides. They frequently feel distressed over the lack of deep love in their life as opposed to the shallow adoration of thousands of fans, over the lack of a legitimate career that commands respect, and over an inability to say no to alcohol or drugs. They ultimately lack purpose to their lives.

In 1992, Celia Young, who appeared in such videos as All That Sex, Cat Lickers, Party Pack and Wet 'n' Working, committed suicide.

Born 3/2/64, Megan Leigh debuted in 1987's Secrets Behind The Green Door. The star of such quality erotica as Beauty and the Beast and Sex Lives of the Rich and Famous, shot herself in 1990.

Born Michelle Schei, she grew up in Oakland, California. Schei ran away from home at age 14 and by her 17th birthday she worked at a massage parlor in Guam. At 18, Michelle moved back to the Bay Area and stripped at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco.

The fresh-faced blonde first performed under the names Carolyn Chambers and Heather Newman. Her cheerleader looks kept her working in the industry nearly every single day of her three-year career.

A month after buying her mother a $500,000 dream home in Northern California, Megan shot herself in the head. Her body was discovered on June 16, 1990. Megan left behind a note alluding to long-running personal problems [drug addiction].

Savannah shot a bullet through her head at 2:30 AM, July 11, 1994.

Born 10-9-70 in Laguna Beach as Shannon Wilsey, she took the porn name Savannah from her favorite childhood movie about a rich girl who reforms criminals - Savannah Smiles. The blonde child-woman appeared in 78 X-rated movies and at her peak earned $4000 per sex scene and $1000 for posing for the video box cover.

"I was standing on the exit for Laurel Canyon Boulevard," says Savannah, "holding a sign that said "HOT BLONDE WILL f--- FOR BIG MONEY IN PORN MOVIES". This porn executive pulled over with a dump truck full of money and said, "You've got yourself a contract." The rest is HISTORY."

"Savannah reminds me of a Chinese emperor's concubine with bound feet and a doll-like appearance who exists solely for providing sexual pleasure," says Pat Riley. "The problem comes when you see her in action (in-action?) - she lies like a log." (X-Rated Videotape Guide 4)

Savannah filled out a Fan Club Bio form for her manager Nancy Pera. In answer to the question: "Maybe some info on yourself (growing up, relationships, whatever)", Savannah scrawled "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!! f--- you. Unlike all the major "Bullshit" publicity I received when I first got in the business (1990-1991) I am not willing to tell about my current or past relationships or anything not pertaining to "Savannah"."

To the question "What do you look for in a relationship?" Savannah wrote "SEX, ROCK-N-ROLL/MONEY/HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE, FUN, FUN, FUN."

"She was a professional party doll," says smut scribe Marc Verlaine. "She loved sex with rock stars. She loved the rock scene. She was a supergroupie. In porn, she was a big fish in a small pond."

"She wanted to be somebody special," says Savannah's manager Nancy Pera. "Even though she acted like a rebel, she wanted everyone to like her. And when they didn't, she'd act more wild."

"She was a scared and insecure little girl who needed unconditional love all the time," says veteran porn actress Jeanna Fine. "Savannah tested people. She pushed them to the limit to see how they would react. Although she feared rejection, she'd on purpose make people dislike her. So she could avoid the possibility of someone rejecting her, she'd reject them first."

Mike and Pamela Wilsey married as teenagers. Their only child together was Shannon. The Wilsey's relationship splintered with anger two years later. Shannon didn't see her father for ten years.

"Her mother and I had problems," said Mike in 1994. For years the 45-year old plumber didn't believe that Shannon was his child. "I feel remorse that I used my anger against Shannon. A man should love a child no matter what." (GQ)

A childhood fantasy that stayed with Savannah all her life was to date rock stars. In her five years in porn, she conquered Slash, Greg Allman, Billy Idol, Vince Neil, Marky Mark, Axl Rose, David Lee Roth and Pauly Shore. The only one who remained her friend was Pauly - the son of veteran comedian Sammy Shore and Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore who didn't like their nice Jewish boy going out with a porn star.

At age 19, Shannon worked in a boutique on Main Street in the San Fernando Valley, went to the beach every day and studied for her high school diploma. She'd spent the previous two years touring the country with rocker Greg Allman who was old enough to be her father. "Initially she was sweet and regular," says Kirk West, Allman's assistant tour manager. "She went out a snotty little shit." (GQ)

One evening, Shannon met bass player Billy Sheehan. She became his girlfriend and took him to see her first movie The Invisible Maniac. "The youthful actresses bare their bosoms about every five minutes... The morbid, puritanical effect, axiomatic in schlock exploitation fare, is that sex, represented by all that bared flesh, just has to trigger a wretched excess of violence." (LA Times)

Shannon wanted the fame and fortune of a star actress but she wouldn't work for it the conventional way.

While leafing through Chic magazine one day, Sheehan saw his girlfriend naked. He felt shocked. Savannah cried that she needed the money. Billy made her promise not to do it again.

A couple of months later, Sheehan walked by a newsstand in New York and saw on the cover of $16 Squeeze magazine, his baby wearing a tiny black dress he'd bought her. In her mouth she had a guy's prick. (GQ)

Savannah drifted into the sex business. First she did lingerie modeling, then nude modeling, then softcore bondage and fetish work under her first stage name Silver Kane. Sharon did her first explicit work for VCA - a girl-girl scene in 1990's No Boys Allowed.

Sheehan confronted Sharon and found out that she had signed with a low end porn distributor Video Exclusives to do 25 pictures a year at $250 per scene, plus an extra $250 if she featured on the box cover.

"We take sevens and turn them into tens," says Mark Carriere who ships his women off to a plastic surgeon in Utah. V.E. paid for Savannah in 1990 to have 435 ccs of saline solution pumped into her breasts to make them bigger.

GQ writer Mike Sager: "Savannah enjoyed acting. She learned her lines and suggested nuances. But her sex performances were mediocre. She had the self-absorbed exhibitionism of a high-fashion model. Once the sex started, she seemed to excuse herself from her body. Editors dubbed in moans and groans.

"Most women in the industry say they enjoy the sex and that you have to like it or you'd go nuts. You show up for work and you let yourself get carried away; you fall in love with your scene partner for as long as it takes to get the film shot. Then go home. It's like getting paid for a one-day affair." (GQ 11/94)

Savannah didn't even try. One story had her on all fours on a bed, taking it from behind. Out of the frame, she fingered the leaves of a potted plant on the night table.

"Come on Savannah," said director Paul Thomas, "Say 'f--- me' or something."

Savannah looked over her shoulder at the actor inside her. "f--- me or something," she said, then went back to playing with the plant.

Despite her uninspired performances, men loved her sweet innocent face and she covered dozens of boxes of X-rated tapes.

When her one-year contract finished in the fall of 1991, Savannah moved on to Vivid Video. It signs about half-a-dozen beautiful women a year, making about eight movies with each one, and spending big money on advertising. Owner Steve Hirsch hired mainstream art directors and fashion photographers for the box covers, spent more than $50,000 per film and used several days to shoot some scripts.

Those who worked with Savannah hated her. They called her "Ice Queen," "Cold Bitch" and "Evil Cunt."

When she made it to the set, Savannah was either animated or detached, depending on how long it had been since her last fix.

Savannah wouldn't give her father her phone number. His born-again Christianity made her feel guilty about her lifestyle. He wrote long letters in printing similar to hers. "Dear Shannon, my daughter. I love you. Too much time has gone by since we talked on the phone - I'm glad you could be honest with me about your situation. Please don't think I don't care, I do, very much. I hope you can talk to me more."

In a vitriolic two-page reply, Savannah wrote: "You do not care about me and you never have. If you're "there for me", where were you 23 years ago? Where were you when I bounced from "relative" to "relative" because NO ONE WANTED ME? Where were you when I was 17, going out with Greg, a 42 year old man (looking for the father I never had)... You are so fake and I will NEVER FORGIVE YOU. YOU THINK "God" has - but if there is a god he sees the torture and pain I have been through since I was born and couldn't possibly forgive you! You will die knowing that YOUR 1ST BORN CHILD HOPES YOU ROT IN HELL WITH ALL THE PAIN I HAVE - INSIDE OF YOU."

Shannon never mailed the letter. After his daughter's suicide, Mike found it among her stuff, folded neatly and placed, along with torn-up pieces of another of his letters, inside an envelope that she had addressed and stamped, but never mailed.

Mike prayed about hiring a private detective. Her mom acted indifferent though Savannah showered her with presents and money. When Savannah returned home to Justin, Texas and revealed her heroin addiction, her mother dismissed it as a phase. (GQ)

Vivid eventually fired Savannah for her erratic ways and she returned to Video Exclusives, a step down.

Desperate to revive her career, Savannah did an eight-man gangbang for seven-and-a-half hours, the longest time she ever spent on a set. "She's an active slut hound in this tape," writes AVN, "taking on eight guys at once, sucking dick as thought there were a penis famine in the Ladies' House of Corrections, allowing her body to be doused in champagne, then immolated with the searing heat of jizz. And you thought Savannah was a boring f---."

Savannah put a bullet through her head early Monday morning, July 11th, 1994. At 11AM, Savannah's father requested that the life support system be shut off. It was the first time that he'd seen his daughter in four years.

An odd assortment of 40 persons gathered for Savannah's funeral. Some only knew Savannah by her real name of Sharon Wilsey, others only knew her as Savannah. Some knew her as both.

"People ask me if pornography is wrong," says Savannah's father Mike Wilsey. "I say you can judge a tree by its fruit."

Savannah's peers disagreed. "I don't blame the industry for mistreating her," says Danyel Cheeks. "If anything, they spoiled her rotten. They put us on such a high pedestal. The limos are sent out. Anything I want is pretty much done for me. Sometimes it makes the real world hard to deal with."

After Mike Wilsey cleaned out Savannah's place, he left this note written on the back of a manila envelope, addressed to her soul:

"Dear Shannon:

"I'm sorry for not being there - I'm here now and I will always be there. See you in heaven! I love you and now I hope you know.

"Love. Dad."

Screw headlined the news of Savannah's suicide "DING DONG THE BITCH IS DEAD".

"Everyone knew that she was an airhead, and now she's got the hole in her head to prove it," read the text. At the bottom of the page ran a picture of Savannah with X's drawn over her eyes. The picture was inside a coupon to clip and mail. "I'm not brain dead! I'll subscribe!"

A young man wrote to HEVG editor Michael Louis Albo. "I went to the local newsstand to look for your new issue which, by the way, wasn't present yet. Well, I looked at another brand X, totally lame magazine [Adult Video News] and was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Savannah. She was only 23. She once danced near where I live. Maybe there is something you or I can do, like start a foundation in her name to help our troubled youth. It was so sad to read her father's farewell notes in yet another lame, aimed-at-the-mentally-impaired magazine. I believe that some of these adult stars need our help and our prayers."

"The thing I dislike most about pornography," says Christian Shapiro of Hustler magazine, "is that I am going to die… During that limited span of eternity while I am watching a video-pop of semen slop, I do not live."

What particularly slays Christian is the dishonesty and the idiocy that run rampant in the racket. "The porn biz is a sanctuary for ego-inflated incompetents and low-rent scam artists... In fatal blends of megalomania, mendacity and moronic impulses, these nothing-for-something entrepreneurs and creatively void auteurs churn out pathetic visions of eviscerated primal drives. Their product is poison, produced in factories of carnal banality, and it slays me. These killers should know who they are, but they are unable to admit their true deathly nature... They are either too stupid or too self-deceptive to see through their own delusions, just like the sincere Nazis who thought they were making the world a better place by bayoneting babies." (HEVG)

Savannah's death and heartfelt pleas like the above failed to dim the tide of persons eager to perform in porn. Across the hall from Shapiro's office at Larry Flynt Publications, Albo received this note.

"Please read this letter and give it to a successful producer or casting director. I don't have an address, so help me out. I am an attractive male in my 40s and I have 25 years of anal sex experience with my wife and my collection of huge sex toys. Over the years, I have developed a fine set of anal lips… I am just as good as any woman... And if I didn't do it with actors, maybe I'd just use my toys. And if not that, maybe a trained, restrained orangutan or donkey..."

It was a dark and rainy night as a haggard Randy Potes, known to the porn world as Cal Jammer, drove like a maniac through Hollywood Hills in his leased 1994 white Ford Ranger. He was a man on a mission and that mission was death. (N.Smith)

In a 10-30-95 New Yorker article as wise as Cal, Susan Faludi became the first major writer to sketch the problems of the sensitive new-age male porn star.

"The man is a paradox in this business because even the most unpalatable man is still a hero to most people," says Bill Margold, "while even the most palatable woman is still held to be a whore.

"Because the man lives by his dick, he dies by his dick.

"Cal was the Sean Penn of porn out of Ridgemont High. He was the dumbest person I've ever met in this business. He had the personality of a sheep dog - always wanting to be petted.

"I saw him come out of Jim South's office his last afternoon. He was upset and I waved to him to talk to me. He kept walking. Who knows whether I could've helped him?"

Ernest Greene: "Though the female performers elicit sympathy for their situation, the male performers' circumstances are probably more trying. They probably need the sympathy more and get it less. Someone always wants to help, save, support, and otherwise come to the aid of damsels in distress in this industry. But the distress of the men is private and does not inspire much sympathy. In fact, it inspires resentment from other men. Other men look at these pictures and say, "Those lucky sons of bitches. They get to f--- all these great-looking girls. I wish I could be one of them." But when I watch them work, the impression is not of men having a good time. It is the impression of men doing a grim piece of work."

Dr. Stoller: "Pounding rocks on the chain gang."

Ernest Greene: "Absolutely. And under tremendous pressure, with the knowledge that one or two failures and they're out. There's no mercy. The way the male performers are treated on the set if they fail to perform is chilling. It's as if they've suddenly come down with some terrible communicable disease [when they are impotent]. It's a lot of pressure, just knowing that if it happens on three consecutive pictures, you'll probably never work again.

"The adult industry functions as an asylum for people who refuse to let go of their adolescence, a hideout for arrested development cases. That's why people are trapped, despite what other talents they might have; despite formidable physical energies... There is no place else they can still be called boys and girls until they're 40.

"It's a hideout from the terrible demands of adulthood. It lets them remain forever in a state of overheated adolescent sexuality, the very place their personalities were formed, stuck where they discovered sex." (Coming Attractions)

Women inside and outside of porn usually feel more free to express their negative feelings, but Susan Faludi concentrates on men and extracts their frustrations. Her previous writings such as the 1994 book Backlash testify to her skill at portraying heterosexual men as dolts. In this New Yorker article, every leading male character, except the gay one, comes off as a buffoon.

Faludi's porn essay repeats the theme of Backlash - that men are threatened by emancipated women and are trying to undo the gains of feminism.

"I began to get a glimmer of what the young men of modern porn are struggling to traverse: a treacherous terrain that has more to do with work than sex, more to do with gender identity than genital excitement.

"The young men's how-I-got-here stories are of a piece. They have all bailed out of sinking occupational worlds that used to confer upon working men a measure of dignity and a masculine mantle but now offer only uncertainty."

Lauding porn as "the backstage door to the current American dream and an emergency escape hatch for a capsizing economy," Faludi blames American society for reneging on its promise to such studs as John Wayne Bobbitt, Cal Jammer, Nick East and T.T. Boy. The poor lads faced a brutal choice: "Perform degrading sex acts with people named Tyffany Million, or starve." (Joe Queenan)

Writing in the 11/19/95 Washington Post, commentator Joe Queenan admits he initially felt skeptical of Faludi's thesis that otherwise nice young men poured into porn because good careers in conventional occupations such as the auto industry and aerospace no longer exist. When Queenan investigated, however, he found out Faludi was right. But she missed the main reason for America's degradation of its finest young men: the absurdly high tax on capital gains.

"Confiscatory levels of capital gains taxes drove me into the business," Wade Pierce told Queenan as he prepared to shoot a big scene with Trixie Canyon in the direct-to-video film Gang-Bang Cross-Dressed Biker Nannies. "If the Republican party had been able to push through its program to index capital gains for inflation, I could have liquidated some of my portfolio and paid my bills with the proceeds. Absent the opportunity to unload stocks that have had a healthy run-up in the last 18 months - out of fear that taxes will swallow up most of my profits - I've been forced to freeze most of my portfolio and take a job in porn."

After talking to such stars as Studs McKenzie, Lance Corporal and Rock Hardy, Queenan came away with renewed respect for Faludi. He'd always assumed that men who entered porn were "revolting, low-life, exhibitionist scum bunnies who didn't mind being paid to degrade dozens of women in front of a camera."

As Wade Pierce put it: "If capital gains were indexed for inflation, and you were allowed to deduct capital losses without any limit whatsoever, there's no way I would be appearing in Caged Nurses Meet French Transsexuals in Heat."

Cal Jammer (Randy Potes) appeared happiest when working with his hands - repairing or building sound stages for porn studios, building or remodeling homes for friends, etc... When he could no longer make a living at this, he moved into porn. When he could no longer make a living at this, he blamed women for his problems. Faludi says that "blaming women" is the habit of male porn stars.

Bill Margold "We're the last bastion of masculinity. The one thing a woman cannot do is ejaculate in the face of her partner. We have that power."

Margold fears that the industry, with the rise of cable-ready stylized filmmaking, is falling prey to "the feminization of Hollywood.

"Even this business is losing its masculine fiber. We're being absorbed into the mainstream, which terrifies me."

Nick East: "The definition of a man is gone... I know I'm nothing. Though most of the world has seen my face, I'm nothing because I didn't do anything."

Porn is one of the few industries where females make more money than males. With the advent of video, the boxcover sells the movie, giving greater power to beautiful women. "In the porno chain of command," actor and director Jonathan Morgan told Faludi, the contract girl "can choose who she wants to f---, where she wants to f---, the script that she wants to f--- in, what day they are going to f---."

Faludi: "Unlike top female performers of the '70s, such as Georgina Spelvin and Marilyn Chambers who styled themselves as sexual adventurers, today's contract girls are undressed-for-success career women, making a calculated professional move that will get them into and out of the porn-film industry as quickly as possible and inflate their long-term salaries as exotic dancers. With the explosive growth of table- and lap-dancing stripper clubs, large numbers of dancers have realized that they can quadruple their income by appearing on a few porn box covers. They then become "feature dancers" who return to the circuit to make as much as ten thousand dollars a week."

In 1989, Cal Jammer bought a condo in Orange County and had his new girlfriend Cameo and her baby move in. Cal wanted her to quit porn and stay at home. He even opposed Cameo going to college. Cal wanted a traditional family but he couldn't make enough money to support one. Cameo found Jammer too stifling and ran back into porn.

In 1991, Tyffany Million introduced Jill Kelly to Cal. They married a month after they met at the CES convention in Las Vegas. In a High Society interview with Cal in the August 1993 issue, he called Kelly his "soulmate. I know that love is stronger than anything you can describe. Making love is better than having sex."

Adrianne Moore AKA Jill Kelly: "We were so much in love. I called him my Poo Poo and he called me Bambi. It was true love."

Prior to Cal, Kelly considered herself a total lesbian. "I would have sex with men, but I could only have a real relationship, and real sexual satisfaction with a woman. Randy was the first man I was ever happy with on all levels."

Jammer told Kelly he'd quit performing but he lied. "He was the first man I ever trusted," says Jill. "And he lied to me. That's when our marriage started to fall apart."

Jill worked as a stripper and made far more money than Cal. She bought the groceries and paid most of the bills, including half of Cal's mortgage.

Against Cal's will, Jill got into porn and her career took off as Cal's went limp. Threatened by her success, Jammer frequently couldn't jam on set. Jill recalls that Cal obsessed over his non-performing member, and blamed her entrance into porn for figuratively castrating him.

So I Married A Lesbian appeared in 1993. "Frustrated newlywed Cal Jammer seeks help from his buddies because his beautiful wife, Danyel Cheeks, will only have sex with girlfriend Nina Suave. Cal lets beefy brunette Sydney Dance suck his cock before he f---s her in all positions including anal and comes on her plump tummy. Nina Suave slurps on Danyel's slit until Cal interrupts the fun. T.T. Boy and workout client Debi Diamond do it on the Soloflex. Jonathan Morgan eats Kim Chambers before doing her doggie on his desk. Nasty-mouthed Nina has a three-way with Rick Masters and Michael J. Cox that climaxes to a DP. T.T. Boy determines to make Danyel into a cock-lover as he seduces her on the living room floor. Cal Jammer finally makes amends with Danyel and consummates their marriage in the regular way." (AFW 97)

Ron Jeremy interviewed Jammer in a Paul Norman video and asked him what he would do if his cock stopped working on camera. Cal replied, "I'd kill myself."

Jill Kelly: "Randy was a little boy trying to be a man. I couldn't satisfy him, no woman could. We'd get in a fight and I'd say I was going to leave. He would say he was going to kill himself. He had talked about killing me or himself for two years, so I couldn't take him seriously."

Randy was randy. "He was a sex addict." Jill describes their marriage as one long conversation about sex. "I love sex, and Randy loved pussy. So on that level we got along great."

Addicted to sex before he entered porn, Potes allowed his impulses to control his life. After Randy's death, a search of his condo turned up hundreds of girls' names and phone numbers, scribbled on business cards, cocktail napkins, scraps of paper and notebooks, often with graphic observations attached "Susan - Big Tits", "Old friend Kim - f---ed her already."

Three days before Cal killed himself, Jill called from San Francisco where she was shooting a porno, to tell him their relationship was completely over. Kelly said she was dating someone else - a woman. Cal proposed an open marriage. That didn't work. Then he asked, "Can I still f--- you?"

The next day he called Jill to say that he was HIV positive. A lie. "He was just saying anything he could think of to get me back, to make me go to him," says Kelly. "We always talked before about how if either of us got AIDS we would stay married and die together."

In the last week of his life, Jammer told a neighbor that he "couldn't go on" without his wife.

"Randy was very emotional," remembers Shelby Stevens who worked in the same video as Jammer the day before his death. "Things affected him more than a lot of guys in the business, who are just cold. Randy was never cold. When he got hurt he took it more deeply."

On January 25, 1995, Cal appeared out of control. Jim South remembers him stopping by World Modeling around 5PM. "He seemed sad, almost teary eyed. I asked him if he was okay. He said in a shaky voice, 'Jim, she's costing me a lot of work.'" A few minutes later, Jammer got up and strode out of the office. South called to him several times but he kept walking. Steering with one hand and dialing his cellular phone with the other, a sobbing Jammer made call after call to Jill, crying "What the f--- are you doing to me?" As his abuse worsened, Kelly hung up on him.

Cal called his own home answering machine, leaving a goodbye message. He drove madly, ignoring speed limits and traffic signs.

Just a block away from Jill's home in Laurel Canyon, Jammer spoke to Buck Adams: "Why don't you tell me why I shouldn't do anything to my old lady? What I'm thinking is to hurt her and then hurt myself."

Buck: "Cal, get this through your thick head. You don't have a right to go over and shoot your girlfriend. You don't have a right to go over and beat her up. You don't have a right to hurt anybody. I mean, if you are so desperate to hurt somebody, go out in the street and hurt yourself."

Putting Cal on hold, Buck phoned Jill and told her to drop the phone and run away. Then Buck clicked back to Cal, who said, "Thanks a lot, Buck. I really appreciate the advice."

Cal hung up.

Jill heard Cal's car pull up outside. She grabbed the remote phone and ran upstairs and hid in the bathtub. Jill heard her phone downstairs ring many times but the cordless phone she had brought with her wasn't charged. After five minutes, she heard a loud pop, as though a window had broken. Jill ran downstairs, looked around, went outside and down the driveway to the steps. She saw Cal lying in the gutter at the bottom of the stairs. Jill was sure it was a joke, just the thing Cal would do to get attention.

"Cal, get up," she said with a nervous laugh. "Come on Cal."

Then she saw the blood and screamed for help.

"I saw his brains. It looked like chewed up hot dogs coming out of the top of his head. His left eye was filling with blood. I dropped my purse and ran to him and felt his pulse. I lifted up his shirt to see if he was breathing and he wasn't."

She dialed 911. "My husband just shot himself in the f---ing head. Please hurry! Please hurry!"

Kelly ran back to her brain-dead husband, yelling for help. A group of neighbors gathered around as she knelt by Cal's side. When, at her request, a blanket was placed over Cal to "keep him warm", she lay down in the street next to him in a growing puddle of blood and mud, pulling her coat over him, her arms around him, crying "Randy, Randy, why did you do this? Please don't die."

Police found two more bullets on Randy Potes AKA Cal Jammer and a suicide note in his front left pocket. The message was scrawled on the back of a sealed First Interstate Bank envelope which contained five one hundred dollar bills. It read in Randy's childlike writing and spelling:

Happy Birthday Big 24

I Allway Love You

I sorry we didn't work out


At Cal's funeral, the minister gave a generic sermon. He obviously knew nothing about the Jammer. He didn't realize that Randy was a victim of Anerica's deliberate waging of economic violence against its finest citizens.

Most of the men in the audience cried beneath their sunglasses. They understood the consequences of absurdly high rates of capital gains.

There was an open coffin, a gruesome sight considering the way Cal died, but everyone knew Cal would've wanted it that way.

Wanting to distract themselves from the warnings of supply-siders Jude Wanniski and Phil Gram, the pornographers talked outside about men broken by women. They agreed that Jill Kelly was responsible for Cal's death.

"That Jill Kelly should be boycotted," someone said and almost everyone agreed. Faludi notes that they conveniently forgot their own responsibility for Cal's death, for the times they had mercilessly teased Cal for inability to perform.

Ron Jeremy worked the crowd, telling everyone about his coming HBO special. "It's a big thing," he repeated, "with O.J.'s girlfriend."

Faludi talked to Cameo a couple of weeks after the funeral. She said Cal's suicide shocked her. Like Savannah, he seemed so self-absorbed that he'd never hurt himself.

Cameo's eyes widened. She remembered how much publicity Savannah received when she killed herself. Did Cal think he'd also get a lot of attention if he shot himself? If so, he was wrong.

Cameo watched the TV show A Current Affair for weeks after Cal's death but there was nothing on Cal. The mainstream media ignored his suicide.

"Do I feel degraded by appearing in movies like Martian Bimbos in Bondage, where I have to take off all my clothes and perform perverted sexual acts on helpless, supplicant females," asked Rock Hardy rhetorically. "Of course I do. But do I blame myself? No sir. I blame the federal government for its confiscatory levels of capital gains taxes. If there was any way I could out of my DEC and IBM without having to turn everything over to the Feds, there's no way I'd ever go near the set of a porn flick." (Washington Post 11/19/95)

Faludi: "Soon after Cal's death, Jill Kelly was offered money for a photo layout to accompany an article about Cal in a porn magazine. Jill was going to do the job and then turn the check over to Cal's family to help with funeral expenses. But then, she said, she thought better of it. "It wouldn't look right." And besides, she was booked solid for the next month with work. She didn't need the job." (New Yorker, 10/30/95)

A few months before Alex Jordan hung herself, Cinema Blue headlined an interview with her, "Alex Jordan's... f---ing her brains out on screen and loving every minute of it!"

Alex described herself as a true romantic. "While I'm into kinky sex, I like it to be done in romantic surroundings. I may give my husband an underwater blow job, but it'll be done in our own pretty pink bathroom with two glasses of champagne resting on the tub."

Alex married Justin Case on video in Las Vegas. Both performed "like gangbusters.

"It's one thing to share your wedding night with your husband. But it's a total turn-on knowing that every nasty thing we did was being captured on videotape.

"My folks knew that someone was taping our wedding and they asked us for a copy. Naturally they didn't know that the last bit on the tape features Justin and I f---ing our brains out. We had to get a specially edited version made up for them - with the tail end, so to speak, edited out!"

In 1992, Alex answered an ad for a nude model. "I've always been a fitness freak and I'm proud of my body. One thing led to another and the person suggested that I'd be perfect for film work. My boyfriend and I did some amateur videos after that, and then we turned pro.

"Justin knows that business is business and separate from our personal life... If anything, our sex life has improved since we got into the business... We've learned... different positions. And we've gotten into doing things we might not have known about if we were just a straight couple. For one thing, Justin is into three-ways with another woman. That's a turn-on for him. I enjoy it too." (Cinema Blue)

Behind these happy words lay the screwed life of another pathetic porn princess. Alex entered the biz in her mid-20s, the age most porn "actresses" retire. She and her husband thought it'd be a good way to finance a comfortable middle class future.

Alex always had her down times. In the mid-80s in Arizona, she slit her wrists, trying to kill herself. Despite being a health freak, she regularly took drugs.

In The Gangbang Girl 16, her final performance, Jordan played a woman skydiver who accidentally lands in the middle of an escaped chain gang. AFW: "...She was such a magnificent sexual animal! She is so desperately horny, so needful of being f---ed, so exposed, so free that... during the production she reached...ultimate psychic release, that all that dick and sexual aggression drove her to the promised land."

Alex felt herself aging quickly in the fast lane of porn. In June, 1995, she became lonely when her husband went to Colorado to set up a ski shop so they could leave porn. Jordan's best friend was her parrot, and when it died, she went crazy. Speaking on the telephone to her husband, she accused him of not caring about her by acting insensitively to her feelings about her bird's death. She wrote a note describing her depression over the loss of her bird, and on the 27th of June, Alex hung herself in her closet.

On July 2nd, Alex's friend Summer Knight, a fellow porn performer, made a call to the police saying that Alex was missing. They broke into Alex's Marina Del Rey apartment. The first person to open Alex's closet was Summer, who smelled something funny. She saw her friend's decomposing body hanging there.

"The decedent was fully clothed," said the coroner's report, "cold to the touch and in early maroon and green mottled decomposition. She was fully suspended by a rope ligature about her neck which was tied neatly about a clothing hanger bar."

Police found a variety of drugs in Alex's apartment and a suicide note that said Jordan, distraught over the death of her bird, wanted the world to know that she was leaving everything to her husband.

"Savannah and Megan Lee were actual suicides," says Ron Jeremy. "They say Alex Jordan was an accident. She was into S&M. She was doing this hanging thing in a closet with handcuffs… asphyxiation.

" If you get into the business with your head screwed up, you're gonna leave with your head screwed up. To get into the business with a clear head on your shoulders, you'll have a very good, successful life. They make a big issue of the suicides but they don't make a big issue of people like Seka, Leslie Bovey, Annette Haven, Vanessa Del Rio, Samantha Fox. I can go on and on about girls who are happy. Annette went to computer school, married a rich guy. Vanessa Del Rio was a competitive body builder. Samantha Fox teaches Phys Ed in New York. Seka has a radio station in Chicago. Now she's doing a big mail order in Chicago. I mean, most of the girls in porn go on to very happy, healthy, productive, money-making lives. Hundreds! But then you hear about the four suicides and all of a sudden we're a big suicide industry. As everyone said, including the smart newsman, that if these four girls had been in any other industry and committed suicide, they wouldn't have made the press."

In the video Phantom Pain, released by B&D Pleasures shortly after Jordan's death, Alex materializes out of thin air control P.J. Sparxx and Amanda Morrison in a dungeon. Was Jordan alive when she made this, wonders Scott Mallory.

As she whips her slaves, Alex asks them if they want to feel her pain for the rest of eternity.

The juxtaposition of Jordan's suicide and the movie's plot about kinky ghosts played with the cocaine-addled mind of the smut scribe. The sight of Alex in dominant persona was too much for Scott to resist, so he stroked his cock until he spurted.

He thought about how Alex would've liked that, but it was an empty feeling. Scott didn't like getting off on a woman who'd just offed herself. He felt a strange chill while cleaning himself for it felt like he was washing away Alex's essence. (HEVG 3/96)

No matter how hard he tried, Mallory couldn't get her off his mind. Shortly before her demise, Scott planned to write a fan letter to Ms. Jordan. He composed it in his head, telling her how exciting and beautiful she was, and how he looked forward to her future projects. In the letter he never wrote, Scott told Alex how much pleasure she'd given him, and how much insight into his own masculinity.

Tormented that he never put a stamp to that letter, Scott can't shake the feeling that if he had sent that letter to Alex, she wouldn't have killed herself.

Mallory met many of porn's boys and girls who killed themselves - Megan Leigh, Shauna Grant and Savannah. He even worked with Cal Jammer in a couple of Anabolic gangbangs. But Alex Jordan was the first one with whom he had a friendship. Alex Jordan turned him on. "I loved her body, so firm you could bounce a quarter off any part of it - or a load of cum."

Mallory hears anti-porn activists shouting that the business killed another innocent, but he says that if Alex's time in entertainment contributed to her suicide, it had more to do with "prudish American society's hypocritical, fearful and archaic attitude toward sex than anything else. Alex wanted to be accepted for who she was, but a society that openly shunned and secretly embraced her career wouldn't allow her to be." (HEVG 3/96 p. 87)

A truly sensitive soul like his boss Christian Shapiro, Mallory gave up reviewing fetish porn after Jordan moved on to the true world. His Mistress Margo got so upset at him for "squirting out creamy devotion for my beloved bitch queens last month, that she made me choose between being her asshole-sucking panty boy or being a jerk-off movie reviewer. It was an easy choice...since now I'm living the kind of tormented sexual life I could only see in the movies." (HEVG 3/96)

To thinkers like Dr. Robert Stoller, porn seems more the result of our changing society than a cause of change. "...Pornography does little good and little harm... If we are to ban pornography because it can harm, then we must also ban alcohol, automobiles, non-X-rated movies, law, politics, vitamins, high heeled shoes, computers, money, skiing, animal experimentation, someone else's religion and sunshine.

"Should porn be banned because someone says it harms the performers? So far, there is nothing but anecdotal evidence that the performers are at higher psychic or social risk or more unhappy than if they had gone into another trade, such as Olympic volleyball or politics.

"Pornography is a fine place to study sin that consists in willfully harming oneself... Bill [Margold] and Happy [porn performers]...were into self-destructiveness as a way of life, as a way of salvaging a life. They may not choose to forego that salvation no matter how hard you thrash them.

"I suspect that...everyone at work on a porn production - from the gentlest (such as Kay Parker) to the noisiest (such as Bill [Margold] and Jim [Holliday]) - is, with different degrees of visibility, thumbing his or her nose at society. For at...porn's bottom is anger: rebellion against mores, institutions, laws, parents, females, males." (Porn)

John Stagliano's girlfriend Kristi Lynn died in a car crash in December, 1995. The Penthouse Pet starred in flicks such as Icewoman and Sensual Exposure.

"People get wrapped up in the drugs and make decisions that they wouldn't make if they were sober. People go on the road and spend all their money. How many stories have you heard about porn girls making $90,000 a year dancing and now have nothing? That's the result of drugs.

"I never ask for equal rights for women in porn. I just ask for us to get respect. I'm a businesswoman. I've managed myself since the day I stepped into this business. I have no agents. Guys like Jim South and Reb are the pimps of this business. Many men in the biz feel they can get away with things. Some of the women give in to that. I hear about these girls who do six anals for $300.

"We're going in the wrong direction in porn. When I go to a porn store, I'd rather buy something from 15 years back. We should cut out all this glamour crap and get back to sex." (AVN)

Lynn's real name was Shawna Krysti Yager. Near the end of 1995, while driving John Stagliano's 1993 Acura Legend at 100 mph, she missed a curve and flew 50 feet in the air before plunging into a ravine. The car toppled a foot-diameter tree, then rolled about 150 feet down a ravine.

"She died as she lived, at 100 f---ing miles an hour," wrote John Stagliano in the 2/96 AVN. "She "was the best that ever was." I remember saying that to Tommy Lasorda [a big porn fan] when I introduced her to him at a Dodger game in the summer of '94... She was the best, the most of everything, the best ass, the best smile, the most sexy and the most alive.

"I became a man because I knew her. Everything about her was a test. Could you love her good enough? Could you hate her good enough? I didn't want so much conflict with her, but you couldn't avoid it.

"Our physical relationship as lovers ended about ten months ago [January, '93]. I wanted out. I couldn't give her what she wanted. She was very jealous and I couldn't cut off my sexuality. My whole life, my fortune, had been built on me exploring my sexuality. I dreamt of some kind of open relationship that would allow me to pursue my sexual whims, taking advantage of my place in the world. And she dreamt of being married and having children...

"Ideally, I would have liked her to simply move out of my house, but she took the break very hard. She started to drink, we argued very loudly. And she cried... She drank every day...

"I'm sure she was happy in those last few moments, those last few completely exhilarating moments, streaking down an open stretch of canyon road at 100 miles an hour." (AVN 2/96)

Shortly afterwards, Stagliano embarked on his own version of suicide, receiving anal sex from a Brazilian male hooker. During early 1997, while starring in the 2-10 US News and World Report, Buttman tested HIV positive.

Shortly afterward, Nena Cherry, Jordan McKnight and Tricia Devereaux tested HIV positive. Nena claims she has completely recovered from the virus she never had.

Plasmatics lead singer Wendy O'Williams appeared in several pornos including Candy Goes to Hollywood, where she shoots eggs out of her vagina, and 800 Fantasy Lane. Both films were released in 1979. A few years later, Wendy appeared in Reform School Girls.

At age 48, on April 8, 1998, she shot herself in the head outside her home in Connecticut.

In the fall of 1998, JD Ram and Trinity Loren died of drug overdoses. In early 1999, Kim Kataine, after much drug abuse, died. She drowned in the shower after suffering a seizure.

From William Rotsler's 1973 book, Contemporary Erotic Cinema: "I told Joe about one actress who had been given a chance at two parts in major Hollywood productions but when they found out she had made porno movies they withdrew their offers and she killed herself." (p. 54)

Kristine Heller

Paul Thomas told the 8/20/99 about his new movie called Pure which he says is the best thing he's done since The Masseuse. Inari Vachs plays a character based on a girlfriend Paul Thomas had in the 70's.

PT: "Remember a porno actress named Kristine Heller? Remember the movie [Alex deRenzy's] Baby Face? The girl in the swing? That was Kristine Heller. She was my girlfriend in the 70's. She had a big problem between her Catholic upbringing, and her thing in porno. She had some problems and left the business. Ever hear of the Elizabeth Claire Prophet group? She joined a cult in southern California. I went down and followed her. She quit the cult then went back dancing for the Mitchell Brothers just for the money. But she would study her religion at night. I hadn't talked to her for years and found out she committed suicide about ten years ago."

Bobby Vitale plays Thomas in the film.

PT: "It's a cautionary tale. Beware that deciding to go into pornography is a serious decision in your life, made usually by people who aren't the slighest bit capable of making serious decisions and understanding that what they're about to do may have an impact on their life. I don't want to get to heavy, but it's the most emotionally true movie I've ever done." (From )

Critic Pat Riley describes Heller: "Distinctive face, small tits, a little womanly, allegedly Australian. A real nut crusher."

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