|Saturday, 21 August 2010 09:59|
Born: April 22, 1952, Providence, Rhode Island
Died: April 12, 2009, Santa Clarita, California
Cause of death: Aneurism, heart failure.
Notable because: Became a leading porn actress and helped bring porn into the mainstream with her success in the famous 'Behind the green door' and 'Insatiable.'
Marilyn Chambers was an American pornographic actress, exotic dancer, model, actress and vice-presidential candidate. She was best known for her 1972 hardcore film debut Behind the Green Door.
Born Marilyn Ann Briggs in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised in Westport, Connecticut in a middle-class household. It is often reported that she was born in Westport, however in a 2007 interview Chambers confirmed she was born in Providence but grew up in Westport. Her father was in advertising and her mother was a nurse. She was the youngest of three children, including a brother, Martin Briggs, and a sister, Jann Smith. Chambers attended Burr Farms Elementary School, Hillspoint Elementary School, Long Lots Junior High School, and Staples High School. Her father tried to discourage her from pursuing a modeling career, citing brutal competition. Chambers said in 2005, "When I was about 16 I learned how to write my mother’s name on notes to get out of school. And then I'd take the train into the city to go to auditions". This initiative while in high school landed her some modeling assignments and a small role in the film The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), which starred Barbra Streisand and in which Chambers was credited as Evelyn Lang.
She moved to Los Angeles, California for more work. She did not receive any roles except for a low-budget film, writer-director-producer Sean S. Cunningham's Together (1971), in which she appeared nude. She left Los Angeles for San Francisco, California, where she held several jobs that included topless model and a bottomless dancer. During her early career her most visible modeling job was as the "Ivory soap girl" on the Ivory Snow soap box, posing as a mother holding a baby under the tag line "99 & 44/100% pure".
Chambers saw an advertisement for a casting call and rushed to the audition, only to find it was for a pornographic film, Behind the Green Door. She was about to leave when producers Artie and Jim Mitchell noticed her resemblance to Cybill Shepherd and agreed a wholesome blond actress was needed for the film. After filming concluded, she informed them that she was "the Ivory Snow Girl"; the Mitchells capitalized on this by billing her as the "99 and 44/100% pure" girl. Although she said at the time that the film would help "sell a lot more soap", Procter & Gamble quickly dropped her after discovering her double life as an adult-film actress, and the advertising industry was scandalized. The fact that Chambers image was so well known from Ivory Snow boosted the films ticket sales, and led to several jokes on television talk shows. Nearly every adult film she made following this incident featured a cameo of her Ivory Snow box.
Unusually, Chambers does not have a single word of dialogue in the entire film. After engaging in lesbian sex with a group of women she has sex with the African-American boxer Johnny Keyes. This possibly makes BTGD the first U.S. feature-length hardcore film to include an interracial sex scene. The porn industry and viewing public were shocked by the then-taboo spectacle of a white woman having sex with a black man. Chambers was relatively unknown prior to BTGD, however the film made her a star. Critics have since debated whether she was really having orgasms in her scenes or just acting. She stated in one early interview that they were real, but denied it in an interview many years later.
In 1977, Chambers won the starring role in film director David Cronenberg's low-budget Canadian movie Rabid. In 1980 she starred in Insatiable, which was the top-selling adult video in the U.S. from 1980-1982. She still hoped to launch a successful mainstream acting career, however was unable to do so.
In a 2004 interview, Chambers said "My advice to somebody who wants to go into adult films is: Absolutely not! It's heart-breaking. It leaves you kind of empty. So have a day job and don't quit it".
Near the end of her career, Chambers appeared primarily in independent films, including her last role in Solitaire. Chambers claimed that the more laid-back pace of these roles suited her as "there's a lot less pressure on you to perform [and] you don't have to be young and skinny." Among these were Bikini Bistro, Angel of Heat (with Mary Woronov), Rated X, and Party Incorporated.[
Chambers had some chart success with the disco single "Benihana" in 1976, produced by Michael Zager on the Roulette Records label.
In the 2004 United States presidential election, Chambers ran for Vice President on the Personal Choice Party ticket, a quasi-libertarian party. She received a total of 946 votes. In the 2008 United States presidential election, she was again Charles Jay's running mate, this time as an alternate write-in candidate to his primary national Boston Tea Party running mate Thomas L. Knapp in the states of Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.On April 12, 2009, Chambers was found dead in her mobile home ,where she had been living for the past several months in Santa Clarita, California. Documents found with her body identified her as Marilyn Ann Taylor, presumably the name she assumed after a marriage. She was discovered by her 17-year-old daughter, McKenna Marie Taylor. The coroner's autopsy revealed that Chambers died of a cerebral hemorrhage and an aneurysm related to heart disease. Pain killer hydrocodone (Vicodin) and anti-depressant Citalopram were found in her blood stream but not enough to cause death. Upon her death the Associated Press reported that she was survived by a daughter, McKenna Marie Taylor; a sister, Jann Smith, and her brother, Bill Briggs.
In 2000, Tracy Hutson played Chambers in the cable television biographical film Rated X, about the Mitchell brothers' film and strip-club career.
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