|Thursday, 26 February 2009 12:44|
Born: November 30, 1945 Kenton, Middlesex
Died: August 19, 1979 Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England
Cause of death: Suicide by pill overdose following depression.
Notable because: Pioneering entrepreneur and campaigner for womens rights and a trial blazing British porn star. Her prominent campaign for the relaxation of Britain's strict anti-pornography laws led to police harassment and several trials leading up to her death at 33.
Mary Millington was the stage name of one of Britain's most successful porn stars of the 1970s.
Born Mary Ruth Quilter in Kenton, Middlesex, England, Millington was known as Britain's version of Linda Lovelace, she began her career in the 8mm hardcore loops of John Jesnor Lindsay, the first- and most famous- being Miss Bohrloch which won the Golden Phallus Award at the Wet Dream Festival held in November 1970 in Amsterdam. Millington starred in around a dozen short hardcore films for John Lindsay, although only four (Miss Bohrloch, Oral Connection, Betrayed and Oh Nurse) have so far resurfaced. These were followed by soft core shorts by Russell Gay (Response, 1974) and Harrison Marks (Sex is My Business, circa 1974) and top shelf magazine modeling.
Sex is My Business was shot late on a Saturday night at a sex shop, located on London’s Coventry Street. The storyline concerns a powerful aphrodisiac being dropped by a customer, whose potency renders the shop's staff and customers sex crazy. Millington, dressed in a short see-through dress, is the film's main focus of attention, playing a member of staff who drags a customer into the back room for some multi-position sex, thoughtfully turning on the shop's CCTV camera so others can watch. Sex is My Business was considered something of a lost film until a Super 8 mm film print of the film was located and privately transferred to DVD in 2008. The film subsequently made its internet debut on the 26 July 2008 at the site ZDD Visual Explosion.
Millington became well-known thanks to her appearances in millionaire David Sullivan's porn magazines and films, having been introduced to him by her Sex is My Business co-star Maureen O’Malley in February 1975. She gained further notoriety for her starring role in Sullivan's 1977 sex comedy Come Play with Me. This was followed by roles in The Playbirds (1978), in which she was ironically cast as a policewoman, as well as Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979) and Queen of the Blues (1979). She also appeared in other sex movies such as Eskimo Nell (1975), Intimate Games (1976) and Derek Ford's What's Up Superdoc! (1978). Millington's final appearance was in the Sex Pistols film Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle directed by Julien Temple, which was released theatrically in March 1980. However, neither she nor her punk rock co-star Sid Vicious lived to see the completion of the movie.
In 1978 she was attached to appear in a hardcore porn film called Love is Beautiful, to have been directed by Gerard Damiano. However, despite Millington and Damiano being pictured together at that year's Cannes Film Festival, the movie (meant to have been produced by David Grant’s Oppidan Films) never materialized. Potential co-stars may have included Harry Reems, Gloria Brittain, and Lisa Taylor.
One of Millington's most outrageous moments was being photographed topless outside 10 Downing Street. In which Millington, while posing for an innocuous picture with a policeman outside Number Ten, decided to unzip her top, exposing her breasts for the photograph, much to the surprise of those also present which included fellow Come Play With Me actress Suzy Mandel, Whitehouse photographer George Richardson (who took the picture anyway) and the policeman in question (who tried to confiscate the reel of film). According to Simon Sheridan’s biography of Millington “For this stunt Mary was conditionally discharged and bound over to keep the peace” . Millington's film Come Play With Me still stands as one of the longest-running films in British movie history, and ran continuously at the Moulin Cinema in London's West End from 1977 to 1981. In a publicity stunt for the second year anniversary of the film’s opening, both Suzy Mandel and Millington posed in lingerie on the Moulin cinema’s marquee.
Millington committed suicide at age 33, using a deliberate overdose at her home in Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey. Her life had begun a downward spiral into drug use and depression following continual police raids on her sex shops. She left a suicide note which was found near her body.
She was buried at the St Mary Magdalene Church, Betchetts Green Road in the village of South Holmwood, Surrey. Her grey granite tombstone is situated at the side of the churchyard and bears the surname "Maxted" – her married name. She is buried in the same grave as her mother, Joan Quilter, who died in 1976.
A posthumous exploitation film about her life was released in London in October 1980, entitled Mary Millington's True Blue Confessions. In 1996 Channel Four television screened a tribute to her entitled Sex and Fame: The Mary Millington Story featuring an interview with David Sullivan.
Twenty years after her death, the author and film historian Simon Sheridan put Millington's life into context in his critically acclaimed biography Come Play with Me: The Life and Films of Mary Millington. Further information about her career can be found in Sheridan's follow-up book Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema, the third edition of which was published in April 2007.
In 2004 Millington’s historic importance was recognized by her inclusion into the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Colin Matthew and Brian Harrison. Her entry was written by Richard Davenport-Hines.
2008 saw a London exhibition of the work of the late glamour photographer Fred Grierson, which included several little-seen pictures of Mary taken by Grierson at June Palmers’ Strobe Studios in the early 1970s.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2009 12:55|