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Marilyn Chambers

Deceased: Apr 22nd, 1952 - Apr 12th, 2009
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hair color: Blonde



BIOGRAPHY

Often mentioned in the same breath as Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers was a true pioneer of modern adult film, and one whose merits stand on their own.

Unlike her contemporaries or successors, during the 1980s and early '90s, Marilyn bounced between the X-rated and mainstream world with relative ease, making hers the most recognized name associated with adult film. While many starlets are lucky to enjoy half a decade of success, Marilyn's career continued to impress fans after more than a quarter of a century. Her ceaseless popularity can be attributed to her gorgeous but natural appearance, topped off by a vibrant personality and an unparalleled passion for her work.

Marilyn's story begins back in 1952. Born to a conservative family in Rhode Island, Marilyn Briggs had grandiose visions of stardom early on in childhood. However, her ambitions were never met with the same enthusiasm by her restrictive parents. Against their wishes, Marilyn began modeling in her early teens and at the age of 17, she left home to pursue a full-time modeling career in New York. While there, she landed several jobs and appeared in numerous print ads as well as a few television commercials.

After only a year of modeling, Marilyn was cast in the movie The Owl and the Pussycat. Although her role was very limited, starring with celebrities like Barbara Streisand and George Segal only intensified her appetite for stardom. Like any aspiring actress, Marilyn packed her bags and headed for Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Unwilling to subject herself to the casting couch politics of Hollywood, Marilyn moved to the bohemian atmosphere of San Francisco in 1971 hoping to continue her modeling and acting career. Fate was fulfilled when Marilyn answered an ad for the casting call of a "major motion picture."

Upon arriving at the O'Farrell (a conspicuous theater in the Tenderloin district) she realized she'd made a big mistake; the parts had nothing to do with "bowling" as she'd first thought, but instead "balling." Marilyn refused to have sex on film until the film's directors spotted her and introduced themselves as Jim and Artie Mitchell. The Mitchell brothers were taken aback by her wholesome beauty and immediately knew she was perfect for the lead role.

Marilyn wasn't completely sold on the idea but eventually agreed to do the film as long as the brothers conceded to a few of her demands; most notably, 10% of the movie's total gross. Up until this point Marilyn was still using her last name, Briggs. But the marketing savvy Mitchell's needed a name that would tie in more with the film and thus dropped Marilyn's surname and replaced it with Chambers.

Unbeknownst to everyone involved, Marilyn Chambers was a name that millions would come to recognize in the next few months. The film was called Behind the Green Door, and Marilyn played Gloria Saunders, an unsuspecting young woman much like herself.

The film's story centers around a mysterious sex club where the kidnapped Gloria is taken and "ravished" by several women and men in front of an audience dressed in formal wear and masks. As the action on stage heats up, the audience breaks with conventional societal mores and erupts into a giant orgy. Although the film was fairly light on plot, the Mitchell's spared no expense in bringing their vision to the big screen.

Prior to production, Marilyn refused to read the script, believing her performance would look more natural if she didn't know what was going to happen to her; Jim and Artie couldn't argue with that. Gloria's ravishing is broken into four stages. After being kidnapped, a woman calms her down back stage and gently rubs her body. What follows is an on-stage lesbian encounter with six robed women who kiss and caress every part of her body.

Next, Johnnie Keyes enters through the green door and performs cunnilingus on Gloria and then proceeds to have intercourse with her as the two eventually climax simultaneously. In the principal sequence, Gloria sits in a swing-like harness and services several men (manually and orally) suspended from trapezes while getting vaginally penetrated by another from below. The scene's climax is composed of several slow motion psychedelic optical effects depicting the men ejaculating on Gloria.

In the confusion of the orgy, George McDonald "rescues" Gloria and escapes through the green door, only to have his way with her in private. Despite social criticism over the film's lackadaisical treatment of topics such as abduction and rape, Behind the Green Door was a runaway hit, making Marilyn and the Mitchell Brothers instant celebrities. The film's success was further enhanced when a link was made between the film and the shot of Marilyn which appeared on a recent release of a new box design for Proctor and Gamble's Ivory Snow detergent.

Although this box was originally shot during Marilyn's modeling days, the company quickly ceased production when they realized that their model had since appeared in an X-rated film, making the box an immediate collector's item. The Mitchell Brothers used this scandal as a marketing opportunity, referring to Marilyn as the "99 and 44/100% pure girl," and the film's notoriety slowly permeated into the mainstream. Marilyn seized her new-found fame to further her acting career.

After performing in an equally popular Mitchell brothers film, The Resurrection of Eve, she spent several years acting on stage in Las Vegas and even released a disco tune in the '70s. In 1977 she landed a role in David Cronenberg's mainstream horror film, Rabid. The film relied heavily on Marilyn's prior "baggage" as she channeled a subtle sexuality through her character's affliction. Unfortunately, the film's limited success did little to strengthen her career.

By 1980, Marilyn returned to X-rated film in the enormously popular Insatiable. Sporting huge production values including location shoots and helicopter shots, Insatiable's biggest draw was Marilyn. After seven years away from the industry, fans were eager for her return and didn't seem to care if the movie had no real plot or story.

With the exception of a few exterior shots in London, most of the film was shot on location at a mansion in central California. In the movie, Marilyn plays a model/actress named Sandra Chase who inherited her wealth when her parents were killed in an accident. From the opening scene it becomes overwhelmingly apparent that Sandra has some sort of sexual fixation as she fantasizes and masturbates wildly on her bed.

What follows are several sexual encounters with nearly everyone she meets. Highlights include her incredible "siphoning" job on a lucky stranded motorist (Richard Pacheco) and the renowned pool table scene featuring her virginal encounter with the gardener (David Morris).

In the film's fantasy finale, Marilyn encounters her legendary male counterpart for the first time: John Holmes. Mr. Holmes starts off with some light kissing and cunnilingus before feeding her his 12" snake. Whipping her head from side to side as the scene becomes more intense, her performance reaches epic proportions when she manages to take his cock anally. While nearly every Marilyn Chambers scene is a classic, her coupling with Holmes is truly an artifact for the history books.

Critically and commercially, Insatiable was definitely the centerpiece of Marilyn's career. Out of all of her films, it was her personal favorite, mainly because of the pool table scene and her anal feat with John Holmes. Attentive fans will be rewarded with a subtle inside joke when Sandra opens a closet to reveal the notorious Ivory Snow box sitting on a shelf. In addition to playing the lead role, the increasingly talented Marilyn even performed the film's theme song, "Shame on You."

A few years later, Marilyn had another opportunity to showcase her acting and singing talent in the 1983 film Up `n Coming. Directed by "Godfrey Daniels" (of Insatiable fame), Up `n Coming is about the challenges faced by a young country singer trying to make it big. Marilyn plays the lead role of Cassie Harland who faces stiff competition from established performer Althea Anderson, played brilliantly by Lisa De Leeuw.

Along her path to stardom, Cassie impresses agents and fans with more than her vocal ability. Her scenes with Herschel Savage and John Holmes are definite highlights, but the film's story is also exceptional, featuring a depth which was missing in her prior films. The developed storyline allows all players to display their acting abilities in addition to their carnal duties.

While Up `n Coming may not be her best film, it's definitely one of the best made films she's appeared in. Marilyn's comeback in the early 80's peaked with the sequel to Insatiable before she faded from the Bay Area hardcore scene. But her name still attracted dollars, and she hooked up with production company Miracle Films which kept  her busy throughout most of the '80s with her Marilyn Chambers' Private Fantasies series. In 1983, she also starred in the comedic spy thriller Angel of H.E.A.T..

After her retirement from XXX films in 1986, she returned to the O'Farrell in San Francisco to help out Jim and Artie by performing live sex shows. By the time the '90s rolled around, Marilyn lent her name to (and appeared in) several softcore B-movies that mainly played on late night cable. Around this time Marilyn realized the mainstream breakthrough she had been waiting for was never going to happen; her X-rated past had definitely limited her options in Hollywood.

After nearly 14 years away, in 1998 Marilyn jumped back into the adult industry with the lead role in Veronica Hart's Still Insatiable. In the movie she plays Senator Andrea Ballworth, an opportunistic politician using pornography as a whipping post to broaden her support among women's groups. However, unlike her real-life alter egos, Andrea eventually realizes the hypocrisy of her position and does a complete 180 by the end of the movie.

Between the script's unsubtle political statements are several great sex scenes featuring the good Senator reaching out to her staff and constituents. Altogether, Marilyn has three great scenes. In the first she seduces her bodyguard (Julian) after a long day of campaigning. As insatiable as ever, she later gets caught in the middle of an interracial three-way with Mr. Marcus and Julian St. Jox, which involves a DP.

In the movie's finale, she gets it on with her whole staff (Julian, Kylie Ireland, and Juli Ashton) in a hot little orgy. Supported by VCA's top stars, Still Insatiable is a great title, even for those unfamiliar with its historical significance.

Following the success of her comeback movie, Marilyn teamed up with Veronica Hart again in 2000 for Dark Chambers. Starting out as a film noir-inspired narrative, the story never fully develops and quickly gets bogged down in clichés. However, the sex scenes are all well shot and performed as Marilyn is reunited with several former co-stars. Most noteworthy is the scene with Marilyn's former protégé, Erica Boyer.

According to Hart, Erica was encouraged by Marilyn's comeback and really wanted to work with her again. The two first met when Erica was a dancer at the O'Farrell in the late '70s. Marilyn was so impressed that she convinced Erica to appear in the (since withdrawn) film, Beyond De Sade, which subsequently launched her career.

Herschel Savage also gets a stab at Marilyn for the first time in several years as the two get it on in an alley and in the movie's orgy finale. Although the story is a rather complex mess, the choppiness is somewhat accounted for in the movie's twist ending.

Marilyn appeared in one final film for VCA, Edge Play , again directed by Hart. Marilyn plays a bored executive-type who gets introduced to a sex game invented by Tyce Buné and Brooke Hunter where people get to play out their sexual fantasies in real life.

Marilyn's last adult work included several "educational" movies for Devil's Films on anal sex, masturbation and oral sex, the last of which was released in 2007.

Marilyn was found dead April 12, 2009 in the mobile home where she had been living for the past several months. She was 56, but would have celebrated her next birthday on April 22. Chambers was found by her daughter, McKenna. No cause of death is yet known, and an autopsy will be performed.

No information has yet been given out about the actual cause of her death, nor what funeral.arrangements have been made.

More information about her death can be read here: Marilyn Chambers, Legendary Adult Actress, Dead at 56.

Photos: Marilyn Chambers Photo Gallery

 

Biography written by Dr. Mabuse, amendment by Mark Kernes.


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Comments

Posted 04/19/2009 by modohranch
Thanks, Dr. Mabuse, amendment by Mark Kernes, for this excellent bio
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