Porn was a different beast in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Often times, actors, looking for their “big break,” would do adult films under assumed names to make rent while struggling to land legit roles. In the history of porn, only a small minority of stars, such as Jenna Jameson, Traci Lords and Ginger Lynn, were actually able to make the transition from “blue movies” to the “silver screen.”
The Rialto Report is an online historical archive of information related to “the golden age of porn” (mostly ‘70s and ‘80s) in New York. It’s an excellent, exhaustive source of interviews and articles related to the subject. If the topic holds any interest for you at all, you’ll want to check them out by following the previous link.
Prior to the shot-on-video, amateur quickies of today, it could be argued that porno flicks in the ‘70s—especially in New York—made some attempt at “real movie” production value. Indeed, many of the actors in these films were poor souls who had come to the Big Apple seeking fame, but were struggling in bit parts for little-to-no money. As Deep Throat star, Harry Reems, told Rialto Report:
In the beginning, I could get $150 for a few hours in a sex film – compared to next to nothing for appearing for weeks in an off-off-Broadway play. These X-rated films helped prolong my existence as a struggling actor, and therefore increased the chances that I’d eventually get a big break.
Rialto Report has tracked down several headshots of these struggling actors “before they were porn famous,” for a two-part series.
I have to admit some amount of ignorance when it comes to many of the actors featured there, as I’m no expert on ancient porn loops—but a few of them were instantly recognizable, even with my personally limited knowledge (basically limited to woods porn and 10th generation VHS dubs at teenage friends’ houses). Maybe it’s because the male actors “worked” more, but I recognized far more of the men than the women. If you ever watched any porn from the ‘70s or ‘80s ever, then you are bound to recognize some of these.
Here are the ones I found instantly recognizable:
Jamie Gillis. Real name, Jamey Gurman. Shown here as “Jamey King.” One of the most prolific male porn stars. His interview at Rialto Report can be found here. Gillis played “Burt The Enema Bandit” in the unbelievably sleazy 1977 film, Water Power.
Shelley Graham, better known as Georgina Spelvin, star of The Devil In Miss Jones. Her Rialto Report interview can be found here.
Joseph Nassivera, better known as Joey Silvera got his start in adult films in 1974. He currently is a leading director of transsexual pornographic films.
Sue Rowan, better known as Bree Anthony, who appeared in many adult films in the mid-1970s. As “Sue Richards,” she was also the editor of High Society magazine for a short time.
Taija Rae entered the adult film industry in 1983. According to Rialto Report, the first part of her stage name, came from an Asian cocktail waitress with whom she worked before porn. The last name, Rae, was a tribute to Fay Wray.
Ronald Hyatt, better known as Ron “the Hedgehog” Jeremy—for better or for worse, he is the most recognizable male porn star of all time. He has an unbelievable 1,405 (both porn and “legit”) film acting credits to his name.
Via Rialto Report