By now I am sure you have already heard that Marilyn Chambers, model, actress, and most notably former porn star was found dead in her home by her daughter. Cause of death has not yet been determined but appeared to be by natural causes. This article is not an obituary nor in any way is it a condescending editorial on her career. Rather it is a look back on Marilyn's impact in my life at a time when I was young and becoming curious about sex and how her arrival into the sexual revolution impacted my life.
When I first read about her death while checking the news on my Sprint Instinct, I didn't think much about it. However, as the day wore on, I realized that she was a part of the introduction of sexual curiosity in my life, and I began to feel sadness about her passing.
In 1972 I was fourteen, a young adolescent entering high school. This is when the film BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR a porn film was released that made headlines across the country because the star of the film was Marilyn Chambers, a young beautiful model that had also been the young model holding the baby (which later people falsely claimed was Brooke Shields) on the box of Ivory Snow laundry soap, a very popular detergent for baby clothes. Of course being young and having your testosterone levels churning in overdrive, the natural thing to do, being from a small town, was to search the Kroger aisle for this box, curious to see exactly what a porn actress looked like.
From there you could fuel your own imagination as to what she must look like, since the only kind of porn at that age would be the occasional Playboy that a friend would sneak from their Dad's collection and would make the rounds at school.
I remember the first time someone brought pictures from a Penthouse magazine to school and being awestruck at the first glance of a woman's pubic hairs. But I digress.
The thought of how someone that was a part of mainstream media (besides the Ivory Snow box, she had actually appeared in THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT in a small role alongside Barbra Streisand and George Segal) would move into the realm of the adult entertainment business fascinated me even then and I always wondered why it happened.
Of course now that I am older so much has been written on that type of topic that it all begins to sound like one big cliche. But then I always wondered. And that is why when Marilyn, her name becoming as well known in entertainment culture as other mainstream Hollywood stars, was given the chance to work her way back into a mainstream film, I rushed to go see it.
The year was 1977. The director was David Cronenberg. The film was RABID. At the time I was in the Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. I believe it was the first time I had actually seen Marilyn Chambers nude and I thought she was gorgeous, even though this was a horror film and as the film progressed, like nearly all Cronenberg films, the film and her appearance became graphic and gory. Since the blog-o-rama is a family blog I can't post any nude pictures of her here. If you are curious, just do a photo image search with safe search off for her.
The thing is, besides her beauty she seemed just like the girl next door, and it made me realize that you and I often hide who we really are and what goes on behind closed doors. I guess that is why I am more attracted to homespun girls than starlets who parade themselves in their high gloss makeup and latest fashion. To some extent I think Marilyn Chambers had some influence in that regard.
Thirty-six years after Behind The Green Door was released, I finally saw it at a blog where someone had posted it online. The film itself was not all that interesting, but I still thought of Marilyn Chambers as someone that anyone could easily meet and became friends with. She just had that sweet, regular girl kind of personality who also could be extremely exotic and do anything that a man would desire. In a way she truly was a cross between the Ivory Snow girl and the sexually voracious character she portrayed in Behind The Green Door.
Here is a partial list of her film career, both mainstream and adult:In Production 2000s 1990s 1980s 1970s Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie (2009) (post-production) (voice) .... Sadie Solitaire (2008/I) .... Cop Stash (2007/II) .... Mrs. Bookenlacher Nantucket Housewives (2006) (V) Naked Fairy Tales (2002) (TV) ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Naked Fairy Tales (USA: complete title) Little Shop of Erotica (2001) .... Marilyn ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Little Shop of Erotica Edge Play (2001) (V) Dark Chambers (2000) (V) Still Insatiable (1999) (V) .... Sandra Chase ... aka Marilyn Chambers Is Still Insatiable (UK) Sextrospective (1999) .... Marilyn ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Sextrospective (USA: complete title) Desire (1997) (V) .... Marilyn Martin ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Desire Incredible Edible Fantasies (1997) (V) Fantasies Vol. 1 (1995) (V) Lusty Busty Fantasies (1995) (V) .... Marilyn ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Lusty Busty Fantasies (USA: complete title) All My Best (1994) (V) .... Marilyn Bedtime Fantasies (1994) (V) ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Bedtime Fantasies New York Nights (1994) .... Barbara Lowery Breakfast in Bed (1990) .... Marilyn Valentine ... aka Private Screenings Presents Marilyn Chambers in Breakfast in Bed (USA: video box title) The Marilyn Diaries (1990) .... Marilyn Party Girls (1989) (V) .... Marilyn Saunders ... aka Party Inc. (USA) ... aka Party Incorporated Insatiable II (1984) .... Sandra Chase ... aka Hell on Heels (Europe: English title) My Therapist (1984) .... Kelly Carson ... aka Love Ya Florence Nightingale Private Fantasies 4 (1984) (V) ... aka Marilyn Chambers' Private Fantasies 4 (USA: complete title) Angel of H.E.A.T. (1983) .... Angel Harmony ... aka Angel from H.E.A.T. ... aka The Protectors, Book 1 Up 'n' Coming (1983) .... Cassie Harland ... aka Cassie (USA: cable TV title) Night on the Town (1982) Insatiable (1980) .... Sandra Chase Beyond De Sade (1979) Never a Tender Moment (1979) Rabid (1977) .... Rose ... aka Rage (USA) Resurrection of Eve (1973) .... Eve Goodman Paradise ... aka Mitchell Brothers' Resurrection of Eve (USA: video box title) Behind the Green Door (1972) .... Gloria Saunders Together (1971) (as Marilyn Briggs) ... aka Sensual Paradise (UK)
-this information obtained at IMDB.Com.
Here is an interview with Marilyn Chambers filmed in 1977. This interview is from the NYC Public Access series, Midnight Blue that was Hosted and Produced by Al Goldstein. She talks about her year performing in Las Vegas.
By the way, I highly recommend the film Rabid if you like horror movies. The film will freak you out even today. BJ_Kuell wrote this synopsis of the film at IMDB.Com:
Rose (Marilyn Chambers) and her boyfriend Hart (Frank Moore) are taking a little spin in the Quebec countryside on Hart's motorcycle when they have an accident. A family in a camper van stops in the middle of the road to argue about directions, and Hart must swerve to avoid them, going off the road and crashing. A patient at the nearby Keloid Clinc for Plastic Surgery witnesses the accident and calls for an abulance. At the clinic, Murray Cypher (Joe Silver) pitches a promising franchising deal to Dr. Dan Keloid (Howard Ryshpan) and his wife Roxanne (Patricia Gage). Keloid is unconvinced, afraid that he'll become the "Colonel Sanders of plastic surgery". Just then, an ambulance containing Hart and Rose arrives. Hart has a broken hand, separated shoulder, and a concussion, but Rose, having been pinned under the motorcycle, is more severely injured. Dr. Keloid recognizes that Rose needs immediate surgery and decides to perform a radical procedure on her, one which uses morphogenetically neutral grafts of her own skin to patch the injured tissues in and on her chest and abdomen. The treated skin will be able to form new tissue of whatever type it is grafted to, but it also might lead to cancer.
A month or two passes. Hart has already gone home to Montreal, but Rose still remains in a coma at the Keolid Clinic. Then one night, one of the other patients, Lloyd Walsh (J. Roger Periad), hears Rose screaming and goes to her room. She has awakened and is pulling out her I.V. drip tube. In an attempt to warm her and calm her down, Lloyd holds her, and Rose causes some sort of vague injury to him as she holds him. When examined a few hours later, Lloyd can't remember anything afterwards, and the doctor doesn't know what caused his injuries. They know only that his blood isn't clotting and Lloyd's right side has no feeling. Dr. Keloid thinks that it might have been a stroke and transfers him to Montreal General.
Over the next few days, Rose leaves the clinic periodically to feed; her experimental procedures have caused a wild card mutation in her body, and now the only thing she can subsist on is human blood. To help her attain it, a bizarre new organ has developed in Rose's armpit; through a small sphincter opening, a large red phallic spike emerges to pierce her victims and draw blood like a syringe. First she feeds on a cow in the barn of a nearby farm, but she vomits up the blood, realizing that she needs only human blood, so she feeds instead on the drunken farmer who wanders into the barn. The next night, Rose attacks a young nurse in a hot tub, and then hides her unconcious body in a freezer.
The next day, Lloyd discharges himself from the clinic. He hails a taxi to take him to the airport. But during the trip, Lloyd, already looking deathly pale, transforms into a foaming, green-eye zombie-like person and attacks the driver, biting out part of his neck making the driver lose control of the car. The taxi breaks through a bridge gardrail and the car is totaled by an approaching truck, killing both the driver and the infected Lloyd.
At the clinic, Dr. Keloid is examining the unconscious Rose. He notices the strange opening under her arm, but Rose wakes up and the phallic syringe emerges and strikes him in the hand.
At a nearby diner, the farmer, infected the previous night by Rose, walks in, bleeing from his left eyeball where Rose's stuck the phallic thing, and after asking for chicken, he attacks and bites a waitress before he is subdued by the cook and a few patrons.
At the clinic, Rose phones Hart to come to her aid, for she feels that she's in trouble. Hart calls Murray Cypher to tag along with him. Later that day, Dr. Keolid goes into the O.R. to operate on a patient when he suddenly begins foaming at the mouth and also transforms into a green-eyed zombie who proceeds to hack off a nurse's finger with surgical scissors and drinks her blood. A few orderlies attack the vicious Dr. Keolid, as Rose takes advantage of the chaos and confusion to make her escape from the clinic. She hitches a ride to Montreal from a passing truck driver, who has food in the cab of his truck. After he offers some to the famished Rose, she eats it and it seems to satisfy her momentarily, but she then vomits it back up, eventually feeding on the driver as she has done to the others.
Hart and Murray pass the diner where the infected farmer attacked the waitress, and then arrive at the clinic to find more police cars and a rabid and vicious looking Dr. Keolid in the back of a police van, growling and foaming at the mouth. The police tell Murray and Hart that they think it's a new strain of rabies. Hart panics when he learns that a body was found in a freezer, but to his slight relief, it's the nurse that Rose killed in the hot tub.
Meanwhile, Rose hitches a ride with another car driver, leaving behind the unconcious truck driver whom is also infected. He is woken up by a highway patrolman and goes on his way. The trucker returns that night to a depot where he transforms and attacks his colleagues at the place, infecting some of them.
At the police station, the chief of police, Claude LePointe, meets with Hart, Murray and a few public health officials who talk of an epidemic. Just then, as Hart and Murray watch a TV broadcast of various other reports of attacks, an officer, who was apparently bitten by the infected Dr. Keolid at the clinic, appears growling and foaming at the mouth. The infected officer attacks Hart only to be shot dead by the other officers. To stop the disease from progressing, everyone at the scene, including Hart and Murray, are to be held at the police station for 48 hours. Hart calls Mindy Kent (Susan Roman) who is Rose's best friend, and is pleased to hear that Rose has been in touch with her. Over the phone, Hart tells Mindy to keep Rose at her apartment until he can get there.
Meanwhile, Rose arrives in Montreal, meets with Mindy, and asks to stay with her in her apartment for a few days, but refuses to explain why. Mindy watches another TV broadcast detailing a new strain of lethal rabies that is now reporting all over Montreal. That night, Rose goes out to the local red-light district and visits a sex cinema. A leering patron sits next to her to fondle her, only to become a victim himself.
The next day, Claude LePointe is riding in a limo with a local health official to inform the mayor that the situation is getting out of control. Just then, the limo is blocked at a construction sight, and two infected crewman, attack, putting a jackhammer through the limo door and dragging the shocked driver out to feed on him, while the official and LePointe barely escape by driving away in reverse. On a nearby subway train, Mindy is riding on one when an infected woman attacks a passenger causing panic forcing Mindy and the rest of the passengers to flee when the train arrives at the station.
On a TV, Dr. Royce Gentry talks about the dozens of rabies cases popping up all over the city, and advises a "shoot-to-kill" policy to prevent the infected from infecting others. Rose goes out to a local shopping mall filled with Christmas shoppers. Another leering man approaches her to make small talk, and to try to pick her up. As Rose agrees to walk with him, he asks her for a light, but she tells him that she doesn't smoke. The man asks another man standing nearby for a light, and the man turns around... an infected zombie who proceeds to bit eand infect the man Rose is with. Panic breaks out as two armed security guards appear and shoot the infected man dead, as well as an unfortunate man dressed as Santa. The guards shoot the wounded man who tried to pick up Rose as well since he is now infected.
When Mindy arrives home, Rose hides in her room, in blood-hunger. She tells Mindy not to come into her room for she is not feeling well. Meanwhile, extreme martial law is declared in Montreal and all the surrounding areas. Dr. Royce Gentry makes another TV appearance to announce that the current rabies shots don't appear to be working. But he and his men have developed a vaccine to administer to those not infected with the virus, but to those already infected, they must be killed to prevent the epidemic from spreading any further.
At a National Guard road block to check for people infected, Hart and Murray view a long convoy of soldiers in NBC suits and riding on garbage trucks heading into the city to assist the local authorities with the body disposal. Hart then takes Murray home and drives off to look for Rose. When Murray walks in his house, he is attacked and killed by his wife, now infected. As Hart drives through the deserted city, a infected maniac jumps on his car, but is shot dead by a militia marksman. Soldiers in bio-warfare suites remove the infected man to dump it in the nearby garbage truck and spray disinfectant on Hart's car windshield and permit him to carry on his way.
At Mindy's apartment, she watches a news report about a possible "carrier" of this lethal disease which has now been traced back to the Keloid Clinic, who is possibly immune. Rose walks into the room. A little later, Hart arrives to find Rose feasting on Mindy's body. Hart finally realizes that Rose is the carrier of the virus and tries to reason with her to seek treatment, but Rose refuses to believe him. She is in denial that she is feasting on blood and the one responsible for the city-wide epidemic that has now claimed thousands of people. She tries to run, but he chases after her. In a struggle, Hart falls down a fire escape ladder and is knocked out. Rose runs into the apartment building lobby, where she picks up another man in the lobby and has him take her back to his apartment.
To see if Hart's accusations are true, Rose bites the guy and then locks herself in the man's apartment and intends to stay there until she can see whether or not he becomes sick. Rose dials Mindy's phone number, and Hart stumbles back into the apartment to answer it. Rose tells Hart what she is doing, but he knows what will happen and frantically tells her to get out of the man's apartment. Hart sits helplessly at the receiver as the infected man in his apartment wakes up, growling and foaming at the mouth, and approaches Rose....
The next morning, Montreal is nearly deserted. The streets are quiet except for distant gunfire and the sound of police and ambulance sirens. Soldiers in bio-ware suits find Rose's stiff, open-eyed body, laying next to some garbage cans in an alley. The body collectors pick up her body, toss it in the back of a garbage truck, and drive away, not realizing that she is the carrier of the virus.... and possibly the solution and antidote to the mayhem that continues to plague the city.