A leading brunette beauty of 1980s porn, Hyapatia Lee resides near the East Coast with her new husband and two boys. Her third child was due in March, 1998.
After a childhood and first marriage stained by abuse, the dark Cherokee beauty exudes a sense of peace with her lot combined with a desire to do her part towards creating a more caring, natural and less judgmental society.
Born 11/11/62 to a 15-year old unready for her, Hyapatia grew up with her grandmother, a full-blooded Cherokee. 'Hyapatia' is an English bastardization of a Cherokee name for cat-like.
At age nine, Hyapatia moved in with her mother and stepfather Don who proceeded to molest and rape her. Lee returned to her grandmother at age 14, after graduating eighth grade.
Hyapatia gave her first voluntary blowjob to secure the love of an older boyfriend. "I worried about keeping his affection, so I figured, I better do this. I looked at some magazines my mom had around the house and read The Happy Hooker.
"This guy and I did dinner theater together. I was 15 and he was about 28. We had been having sex regularly, and one of the times I just went down on him and surprised him. I was anxious at first, and too quick. He helped me. I expected a bad taste but it was clean and nice." (Hustler)
Hyapatia enjoys older men. "When I was 16, I was running around with an older crowd, and I played a game with myself to see how old a guy I could f---. I thought older guys could teach me more about sex - and I still feel that way. I hope I always keep learning! There's an old Indian philosophy that when you know it all, you're ready to die. I'm not ready." (Hustler)
While 15 and 16 years of age, Hyapatia dated a man 13 years older. "The guys I'd been with before hadn't explained how they liked their cocks sucked, but he told me the specifics.
"Older guys aren't so excited about having pussy that they explode instantaneously. I like the slower, laid-back thing - taking time and having fun with oral sex, positions, acting out different roles." (Hustler)
Upon turning 18, Hyapatia moved into her own apartment. One morning she awoke to find a black man holding scissors, standing over her. He raped her.
For years afterwards Hyapatia closed off her sexuality, and partly due to the trauma of that rape, she never performed sex on screen with a black. Hating men, she underwent years of therapy and anti-depressant medications.
In 1980 Lee competed in a Miss Nude World contest where she met her future husband Bud Bennett. They married soon after and in 1983 entered porn. She signed an exclusive contract with Harry Mohney's Caribbean Films, and in her first three productions only performed with Bud.
"The business gave me self-esteem and self-confidence. It allowed me to explore my own sexuality. I was like a rose bud that had opened too early. I had to shut down for a while. Then with Bud, I opened up again."
Bud directed one of Hyapatia's favorite movies, perhaps the highest budgeted porno of all time, The Ribald Tales of Canterbury. Lee also respects The Masseuse which she did for Vivid's Paul Thomas. It contains only one sex scene.
"During the Golden Age we made real movies that just happened to have sex in them. The business changed dramatically during the late '80s…" Hyapatia refused to change with it, insisting on only performing in quality productions with appropriate scripts. After three years with Caribbean, she moved to Essex for a year, then signed with Vivid until retiring in 1991 because of the AIDS scare.
During 1990, Hyapatia teamed up with pornographer Ira Levine (Ernest Greene) to promote awareness of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS among the adult industry. She met with company owners, directors and producers, asking for mandatory condom use. Many people laughed in her face. "They said that our [performers'] lives weren't important enough to take a few minutes to use protection… My life was threatened if I went to the media about the AIDS problem… I remember listening to the president of the World Health Organization's Taskforce on AIDS say in 1991 that it was inevitable that the disease would spread throughout the industry. That's when I quit.
"I thought people in the business would be more responsible. I was shocked when I heard one woman who had just given birth say that it did not matter if we died because none of us had families…
"Budgets plunged in the late '80s. Producers no longer sort to make movies… I remember one night we were working overtime… While lying on the bed, I looked up and saw lights exploding. I dove away just in time. I could've been badly burned…
"Everything became wall-to-wall… double anal… circus acts… I never did any anal, or DPs or S-M. I never did anything that made me feel uncomfortable.
"Survivors of incest and rape need to feel in control. For our violations were not primarily sexual, but matters of power.
"I do not feel I was taken advantage of by the business per se in any way shape or form. When I was pregnant and still wanted to work, albeit non-sexually, they would fly me to Europe, Australia and New Zealand to appear at video stores and sign autographs. I think where the negative connotation comes from in my mind, is when I go back out into society and society has all kinds of nice little boxes they want to put me in, because what I might have done in the past. They have the idea and preconceived notions that they want to put you in and that's while you're in the business.
"Once you get out of the business, it's as if the entire world will never give you a chance to be anything else, even though you've been retired from the business for X amount of years. They assume that if they were to give you a chance to be something and put their company name behind you, it's an endorsement on what you did in the past. It's so ridiculous, they don't give you a chance to grow. I think it's because of society's attitude towards people who have been in this business, that have caused people in this work so much strife, and pain, and has been the major contributing factor to the suicides that we've had." (Mentertainment magazine)
Hyapatia says that the stories regarding her swinging life were just that, stories. "I have been monogamous most of my life outside of my movie work. I never participated in the lifestyle. It was just a job. I never spent more than four months a year in Los Angeles."
In late 1983, Hyapatia and Bud began ingesting cocaine, before giving up the drug 18 months later. "It was taking over our lives… One day we looked at each other and said 'this is stupid. We are spending money on something that, by weight, is more expensive than gold. ' And we quit. Anyone with self-respect can do it. There are lots of organizations that will help."
Hyapatia gave birth to two boys while married to Bud, the first in 1987. "When my first child was born, it took about nine months to adjust," she told Hustler Erotic Video Guide. "The hardest part was to adjust to what other people's views of mothers and motherhood is, because it's a sacred space, as compared to other people's stereotypical views of what a porno star is."
"Our sons will grow up with an un-neurotic attitude toward sex and nudity," claimed Hyapatia. "There is nothing to be ashamed of in what I do. I'm more concerned with other influences, such as society's moral judgements and violence on TV, which is the true pornography."
A traditional leftist, Lee's biggest concern is outside forces - TV, society, economics, capitalism, Christianity, judgementalism, sexism, patriarchy, etc.
"I'm concerned about their friends from school, teachers... Kids can be vicious to each other. What path my sons decide to take in their adult lives is entirely their business. I wouldn't recommend nor disallow porn involvement. If they decided that is what they want to do, I would sit them down and give them some advice. Who better, right? I would tell them not to do anything they don't want to do, which is true for any profession." (HEVG 7/93)
Through 1996, Lee home-schooled her boys.
Hyapatia's success strained her first marriage. She earned far more money than Bud. "When I met him, he was a secretary-treasurer for a finance group. Then we got into the business. He adjusted to my schedule. This business glamorizes women, and pays them more than men.
"Our society is sexist. It expects men to be the major wage earner. And when he realizes that she makes more, it damages his self-esteem. People say to him, 'how you can let her do this [kind of work]?' As though she was his slave. He feels looked down upon…emasculated. The natural response is to get angry. He cannot beat up society, he can only get out his frustrations on something physical within his reach…"
Bud first beat Hyapatia in 1987, and over the next few years thrashed her half-a-dozen times, as he would his next wife, Asia Carrera. Once in a hotel room in Canada, Bud strangled Hyapatia until she passed out. After twelve years of marriage, most of them good, the couple divorced in 1992. Their two boys spend almost all their time with their mother. Hyapatia says Bud displays no interest in them and he owes them almost $50,000 in child support.
"Society causes such men to beat up their partners," says Hyapatia. "Society makes them feel belittled." She blames the Judeo-Christian tradition for establishing many of the standards that supposedly screw up people. "Native American society is usually matrilineal. Both property and the last name are passed down through the woman. When Bud married me, he took on my last name - Lee. The standards we have now were not here before Columbus… Until a few years ago, the Cherokee tribe was headed by a woman Wilma Mankiller."
Hyapatia appeared in about 40 X-rated movies. Vivid released Bud Lee's Snakedance in 1993. "Hyapatia seems like a cross between an enviro-freak and a ball busting female that, judging by some of her other performances these days, she probably is in real life," writes critic Pat Riley. "As to her laudatory remarks about Indian "culture", if this was so great how come most Indians live in poverty on grotty reservations?" (X-Rated Videotape Guide 4, p. 523)
In The Red Garter, director Anthony Spinelli helped Hyapatia create one of her best roles, as Stacy, the owner of a topless bar. Her best sex scene comes last. After a girl/girl scene at the beginning, Hyapatia goes through the whole show trying to cope with the antics of her wild strippers. At closing time, her lawyer (Richard Pacheco) arrives to talk business.
Over drinks in Stacy's office, he confides that he'd love to see her dance. She jumps up on the runway of the empty club, bumping and grinding and tossing off her clothes. Pacheco joins her for a prolonged bout of varied sex.
In Body Girls, Hyapatia operates a body-building gym. Her big scene comes when she strips and shows herself to two musclemen. Off come the guys' clothes, and all three go to the mat for a vigorous workout.
Lee plays a writer in Sweet Dreams who goes with her husband Bud to their mountain cabin to write a movie script about her erotic longings. As soon as Hyapatia fantasizes, the action jumps. (AFW 3/87 p. 16, 17)
Bob Chinn directed Let's Get Physical. Hyapatia Lee and husband Paul Thomas watch their ballet school grow while their marriage sinks into a sea of guilt and broken dreams. Thomas plays a promising ballet dancer who is injured in a fiery auto accident after being caught in a marital indiscretion by his furious wife. He's left crippled and impotent while she grows horny.(AVN 97)
Aside from being a wife and mother, Lee now sings with the rock group Vision Quest. She dresses modestly so as to not distract from the music.
Her time in porn has not come back to haunt her. "It was in the past… If someone wants to hate me, they can always find something, but few people give me any trouble over my films. It does not affect my kids." Yet Lee asked me to not publish the state she lives in. "I have innocent children to protect, besides my husband and self, and we have had numerous experiences with stalkers."
Hyapatia looks back on the porn industry as "scummy… It's changed for the worst since the Golden Age."
In early 1997, Lee remarried. Her husband is part American Indian. "Native Americans do not see sex as dirty or nasty," says Hyapatia. "We see it as a part of nature, and therefore good. Repression of sex results in a pressure cooker that causes rape. Through my movies, I was trying to better society through a creating a more open view of human sexuality."
Hyapatia remains in touch with only one person from the sex industry - Porsche Lynn. They share an American Indian Medicine Man in Arizona, Swift Deer.
Hyapatia Lee writes Luke: You make absolutely no sense. (Does that mean that you are senseless?) You keep confusing the distant past with the near past and present. Why do you insist on hating me so? I was warned not to talk to you, that you would only find lies or confusing statements, and yet I gave YOU the benifit of the doubt. I even paid for the long distance phone call.
If one follows your way of thinking, I would have to refuse to do business with you because you are Jewish!!!!! Why do you insist on bringing out the worst in people, and promoting things that have happened over 15 years ago as the current way the world is???????
Regardless of what kind of crap you read and believe. Please remember, I am not a SEX WORKER, PC or otherwise. I have never refered to myself as a 'leftist'. I do not promote sex, interracial or otherwise. I have left that business …. The s--- you print about me only libels you, it does not hurt me as much as you wish it did because I am not XXXXX anymore! I do not enjoy or view sex films or read the trades and I do not have any associations in the sex industry anymore at all. Go f--- yourself, (I think that is the only person you will find who would be willing to) From now on, I will not honor any of your e-mails with a reply, You are pittifully narrow-minded and I wish you wouldn't blame it on your religion as I know many nice Jewish people (and many nice black people). You need a therapist, obviously you have much anger at women and those who work in the sex industry. I get the feeling that you are such an evil person, you would enjoy innocent children being hurt.
In your sick, twisted
little mind, you probably justify babies being raped by what their parents
have or have not done. I wish for you the death of your way of thinking.
Death equals growth and rebirth in my culture. You should be in a roomful
of mirrors, so that whatever energy you put out comes back to haunt you
and no one else. Why don't you live your own life instead of picking on
everyone elses? Is your life that terrible that you can't stand to look
at it and prefer to delve into everyone elses? What a pitiful existence
you must lead. Oh yes, remember, my lawyer is watching your page like
Hyapatia Lee Fakes Her Own Death
George writes on RAME: I found this in alt.showbiz.gossip I just received the following note from the official fan club for the Native American adult film actress Hyapatia Lee:
"Hyapatia Lee has relapsed into a childhood disease (diabetes) and passed away. This news has upset many beloved fans and friends around the world. When Hyapatia learned of her inevitable demise she had a last request. In her personal words--'Please set up a fund raising sale in my behalf for my medical and burial expenses. I have no medical insurance and my family can't even afford the doctor bills not to mention the cost of a burial. I have a lot of fan club merchandise left that can be sold and I will give a list of personal one of a kind items that are sentimental to me. These items are truely [sic] part of me and my history of being a legend of erotica.
"I really appreciate all of the love and support from my friends and I'm sure the Great Spirit will reunite us all one day. I will autograph as many items as I can. Remember, if you buy ANY merchandise from the fan club, it is mine personally. You will not only help a friend in dire need, but also help my spirit to live on with you.
"Please help if you can." Hyapatia Lee 1961-1998."
According to the note, those who are already members of her fan club have the first opportunity to buy her remaining autographed photos, magazines, videotapes, etc., before they go up for sale over the Internet on February 1. The news of her passing has not yet been announced on her official website (www.hyapatialee.com). It truly is a shame. Despite her occupation, she always came across as an intelligent, spiritual, and charming young woman. She will be missed.
Luke F-rd writes on RAME: Around May 1998, Hyapatia Lee said she'd relapsed into a serious childhood illness. Several internet reports this week say she's dead while others suspect Lee is just fine but poor and looking for ways to unload merchandise. Place Luke F-rd among the skeptics.
I received this from a well-placed source: "Hyapatia and her husband are roughly 35 and 28, respectively, and although they're both in perfectly good health, they've managed to qualify for monthly disability and welfare checks from uncle sam. But this is nothing new for Hyapatia - she was collecting food stamps and pleading poverty for government handouts even while dancing on the road for $5-6000 a week. Hyapatia and her husband make a comfortable living off the federal dole, which includes $300 a month from the state for each kid as well - add in the ex's child support payments, and royalties from Hyapatia's fan club, website, and movie royalties, and they're making about $4,000 every month for doing absolutely nothing. They are extremely proud of themselves for having achieved this state of paid inertia, which is also fueled by Hyapatia's belief that "the world owes her a living."
"Several months ago, Hyapatia came up with another plan to make more 'money for nothing' - and it involved faking her own death. She engaged the help of a few people to start spreading the word that she was gravely ill, by telling them secretly that she was having problems with a stalker, and by faking her own death she would hopefully be able to live her life in safe anonymity. And so a 'goodbye' message to fans was put on her website, and all website sales were discontinued (at this time Hyapatia was also filing for personal bankruptcy, which coincidentally necessitated quickly covering any apparant sources of income & material assets, like fan club merchandise and inventory...)
"After a few months passed, Hyapatia decided it was time to roll over and play dead, and had someone begin spreading the word on the net that 'Hyapatia Lee has passed away'... And this is where the clincher of her plan comes in - attached to the sad obituary note is a brilliant sales pitch, pleading for fans to pity her poor family that has no money to pay her doctor bills or burial expenses, followed with a "special offering" of "exclusive fan club merchandise" from beyond the grave.... Wow - so she got to file for bankruptcy, while keeping all her inventory AND hiding it from Uncle Sam, AND she got to jack up the prices while boosting sales with a tearstained plea that no loyal fan could resist.
"Well, now she can pat herself on the back until her arm falls off, reminding herself how clever she is for beating the system again and again, and for pulling off her coup de' tat, a swan song that swept those scummy porno fans along for one last glorious ride. She planned this out deliberately as her last dealing with adult industry, before closing the door on that unhappy part of her past, and moving in a new direction. I wonder if she's in newsgroups right now, reading through the sad obituary postings by her loyal and trusting fans... and calculating how much money each one is gonna send her..."
Brad Williams writes on RAME: I had heard this too. I guess we're now supposed to feel "guilty" about why a person like Hyapatia Lee would decide to pursue this series of actions that is beneath even the most sleaziest in society.
On 1/11/00, Denver talent agent JR Wolfe writes on RAME: I asked bud lee about this during CES. he said he is getting tired of hearing about the tall tales. bud said Hyapatia is out of the business, raising their boys,in a rural area.she is a bit of a recluse,she disbanded her band, is no longer making music,let alone dancing or doing videos.Bummer she stopped making music, i have a cassette demo of her last band, and she was onto something musically.