Since there have been movies, there have been adult movies. But the industry reached a kind of Golden Age in the 1970's. In spite of renewed censorship efforts, those years produced such "classics" as Debbie Does Dallas and saw the advent of huge (literally) male stars John Holmes and Ron Jeremy, together with female stars like kinky Linda Lovelace and wannabee cheerleader, Bambi Woods.
The 1980's weren't so good, producing an AID's panic that shook the industry to its core, causing many stars to leave the industry for a time. But, on the positive side, it was the decade that brought you sultry Traci Lords, iconic Nina Hartley and fiery Kay Parker.
And the 1990's? The decade that produced stars like sultry Tera Patrick and downright seductive Jenna Jameson, saw a resurgence of the industry and launched stars that are still with us today. Here are some of the hottest, most successful adult entertainment stars from the Golden Age of the 1970's to the 1990's. Sometimes their stories have happy endings. Sometimes they end tragically. And sometimes, what became of them is simply a mystery.
15 Bambi Woods
It seems her real name is shrouded in mystery. Whether or not she is still alive is uncertain. What is known about her is that she made two or three movies between 1978 and 1981 (including the iconic Debbie Does Dallas) and then disappeared. Some say she died of a drug overdose. Others claim that she walked away from adult entertainment and is living incognito in a suburb somewhere. Maybe a going on 60 grandmother by this time. Once or twice, women who could have been an ageing Bambi have emerged and granted "interviews". So, who knows. There are still sightings of Elvis. So, why not Bambi?
14 Lisa Anne
She was a big adult star in the 1990's who quit due to an AID's scare. She returned and hit it big playing "Serra Paylin", in 2008. In between leaving and coming back, she worked as an agent in the adult industry. (Imagine negotiating the filming of sex scenes). She has also hosted her own Sirius/XM radio show, dabbled in the sex toy biz, and (as so many adult stars do) banged on about freedom of speech. Or freedom of sex. And in 2014, rumor had it that the 40-something, now retired, adult star was dating an 18-year old Notre Dame football player. We say go for it Lisa Ann. Let the cougar roar.
13 Ron Jeremy
Imagine, just for the moment, you are a male adult star. Lights, camera, action. Now do it. "Hedgehog" Jeremy is legendary for the size and reliability of his . . . equipment. Jeremy has gone from smoldering, dark and hairy in the 1980's, to portly, comedic and quirky these days. The 60-something year old even sends himself up. But he has endured and his films are numbered in the thousands, and he (like the Energizer Bunny) just keeps on keeping. He's an icon, a legend.
12 Kay Parker
This very British now 60-something did the notorious Taboo series of films in the 1980's. Keeping it in the family, so to speak. Kay goes back to the 1970's Golden Era of adult films, doing her first real sex scene in 1977. Her movie thing was the Lisa Ann thing - you know, older woman and younger man. Her last film was in 1998. And these days? If you check out her website, you will see an attractive, red-haired, glamorous cougar offering spiritual counseling to help you heal your "inner disruptive energies". Whatever that is. She occasionally pops up on YouTube. No, not that kind of video. Interviews with sexologists and the like.
She was adult film royalty. 80's rockers Aerosmith, were said to have been shocked by her videos. She even wore a "slippery when wet" tee for a photo shoot with Bon Jovi. Beginning in the late 1970's, she made over 200 adult films. A few years back, she put out a memoir. It was launched at the Museum of Sex in New York City. Her view of adult films these days? She and other good old days stars bemoan the advent of plotless adult films. Does anybody really care?
10 Vanessa del Rio
Beginning in 1974, the "Latin from Manhattan" made over 100 adult films, over some 25 years. It all started in the early 1970's, when del Rio left a boring office job. She was a go-go dancer, before taking the leap into adult films. Some reports say she worked for a time as a call girl. These days, her website offers live web cams of "beautiful" women. A kind of sextrepreneur, del Rio sells her memorabilia from her eBay store (kinky pictures and the like). But some of the stuff is "Adult Only" and hidden from sight pending age verification. Who would have thought it, eBay? Plans by a Los Angeles film company to make a movie about her life appear to have stalled. Which we think is a pity.
9 Veronica Hart
These days, the still glamorous red head attends adult conventions, mingles with fans and signs autographs. She was a huge star in the 1980's. Well, it was the "greed is good" 1980's after all. Later, she got into directing adult films and set up her own film production company, which she sold to Hustler, in 2003. For a time, she worked as a tour guide in the aptly named Erotic Heritage Museum in (where else?) Las Vegas. It's a fancy way of saying sex museum. These days? Believe it or not, she's a sex educator in China. Reportedly, she is bisexual.
8 Jessie St. James
The blonde and willowy California born actress got into adult films late, and as a 30- and 40- something, was playing mature housewives or supposedly prim school teachers, in the adult films of the 1970's and 1980's. You know, characters who start as goody-goody and end up "falling from grace". She worked with the likes of Seka and Vanessa del Rio. Reportedly, she is into needlepoint. Well, it's a great way to pass the time in between sex scenes, isn't it? She occasionally pops up on YouTube in tribute videos or interviews. Presumably with her clothes on.
7 Gail Force
And you thought adult films were just full of the obvious. Well, they are, but there are genres of adult films. No, really there are. One important development in that realm was the "gonzo" film, in which the director seeks to shoot and stage a scene in a way that puts the viewer into the scene itself. Now, would that be fun? Bombshell blonde Gail Force (spot the 80's hair) got into adult films in the mid-1980's, when she was in her late teens. By the 1990's, she was married to adult film director Jim Powers and had begun to direct her own "gonzo" adult films. She is considered a "pioneer" of the genre. She retired from the biz in 1999. Hubby, it seems, is still churning out the adult films.
6 Linda Lovelace
Some have said she was coerced into making her 1972 adult film, by an abusive husband. As far as the film is concerned, we think it's best to leave the plot to your imagination. The film was a phenomenon and even got a review in The New York Times. The rest of her 10 or so adult films are largely forgettable. She divorced the so-called abusive husband, remarried, and had two children. She died in 2002, following a horrific car accident. No less than Amanda Seyfried, played her in the 2013 movie, Lovelace.
5 Asia Carrera
Asia had a 10 year career in adult films that began in 1993, spanning some 400 films and videos. And she's smart. Reportedly, the Japanese/German Asia has an IQ of 156 and is a member of Mensa. Now retired and widowed, she lives in conservative St. George, Utah with her children. And her website? Dominatrix overtones and "do as I say" messages abound. So beware. She is a card carrying atheist who wore a colander on her head when she posed for her Utah driver's license, to honor the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Who? Well, apparently he/she/it is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
4 Kobe Tai
Petite (standing all of 5'3") and built, Kobe is a Japanese/Taiwanese force of nature. She and Asia Carrera are two of the most popular Asian adult stars. And we can certainly see why. She last appeared with adult super-star Jenna Jameson, in 2010's Kobe Loves Jenna. Kobe, who made over 100 films during her adult career, broke into adult films in the mid-1990's. She was adopted and brought to the States from Taiwan, by her American adoptive parents. Like a lot of retired adult stars, she has endorsed sex toys and has a mostly members only website. Well, a girl's got to pay her bills.
3 Jenna Jameson
Once one of the richest of the rich adult stars, Jenna Jameson started her meteoric adult career in the mid-90's. Back then, she was everybody's favorite starlet and the industry fell over itself giving her awards. She "retired" in 2008. Marriage, motherhood, followed by divorce and apparent financial difficulties, have led to a come back of sorts for Jenna. She has endorsed sex toys, made videos with Kobe Tai and others, starred as herself in one or two schlock/horror movies, and done an episode of Sons of Anarchy. Questions of her sobriety were raised by an awkward appearance on Good Day New York, and her ex-husband, former UFC champ Tito Ortiz, has gone public in saying he hoped she would get help.
2 John Holmes
Another legend from the 1970's and 1980's, John Holmes' films and loops number over 2,000. He was a busy, busy boy. His looks were nothing to write home about, but that wasn't the point. So, what is the point? Well, if he and Ron Jeremy had gone head to head (sorry) in the best equipment stakes, Holmes would have won, hands down. But, his life was pretty much a mess. He was involved in the investigation of the drug house, "Wonderland Murders " in 1981. He was arrested, tried, but acquitted of involvement in the multiple murders that many said were mob related. Tragically, he died of AID's in 1988, at the age of 43.
1 Brittany Andrews
Blonde bombshell Brittany Andrews is a veteran of nearly 250 adult and B-feature films. She broke into the adult film industry in the mid-1990's. The statuesque (5'9") Andrews has also appeared on Playboy TV and started up her own mainstream film production company. She makes regular appearances in exotic Las Vegas shows, has a popular blog, and Tweets and Tweets. You can joint the nearly 190,000 who have already Liked her on Facebook and get regular updates (if you are interested). But even if you aren't, the pictures make it worthwhile.