Profession: Model, Porn Star, Movie Director
Born: Marilyn Ann Briggs
Birth Date: April 22, 1952(1952-04-22)
Birth Place: Providence, Rhode Island
Died: April 12, 2009(2009-04-12) (aged 56) Santa Clarita, California
Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg; 10 st)
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blonde
Marilyn Chambers (April 22, 1952 – April 12, 2009) 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 (keyboardist for 1960s Boston Band, The Remains), 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 film's 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, but 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, Party Incorporated, and Breakfast in Bed.
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 home near 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. Chambers was ten days away from her 57th birthday. Painkiller hydrocodone (Vicodin) and anti-depressant Citalopram were found in her bloodstream but not enough to cause death. Upon her death the Associated Press reported that she was survived by her daughter, sister, and brother.
In 2000, Tracy Hutson played Chambers in the cable television biographical film Rated X, about the Mitchell brothers' film and strip-club career.
XRCO Hall of Fame
1985 XRCO Award – Best Kinky Scene -Insatiable II (with Jamie Gillis)
2005 FOXE Award – Lifetime Achievement
2008 XBIZ Award – Lifetime Achievement for a Female Performer
Marilyn Chambers was born Marilyn Ann Briggs in Providence, Rhode Island during April of 1952. Raised in Westport, Connecticut she was the last of three siblings in a middle-class family. Marilyn always dreamed of becoming a movie actress. In pursuit of her goals, at 18 Marilyn tried modeling and notoriously landed the role of the Ivory Snow Girl, featured directly on the well known Ivory Soap detergent box with the tag line “99 & 44/100% Pure.” It was a major national advertising campaign and one that would eventually be yanked out from under her when the company Proctor & Gamble found out she was making porn movies.
In 1970, at age 18, Marilyn had a small part in the mainstream movie 'The Owl and The Pussycat' which starred Barbra Streisand. However, Marilyn soon discovered there were little acting work available in her part of the country, so she promptly moved to Los Angeles looking for work. In 1971 she appeared nude on camera for the first time in the low budget film ‘Together’ but sadly she didn't experience the acting success and celebrity she had hoped for.
In 1972, depressed from the lack of movie roles she’d managed to secure, Marilyn saw an advertisement for a casting call and applied, swiftly landing an audition only to discover the movie was actually a pornographic film. Disheartened, Marilyn went to leave the audition but was asked to remain since the directors, the Mitchell brothers had apparently noticed her resemblance to famous Hollywood celebrity Cybill Shepherd who has wildly popular at the time. Her girl-next-door blonde look was definitely needed to make the film a success.
Marilyn was less than eager to star in the movie, but after negotiating a $25,000 salary and a percentage of all gross sales, something unheard of at that time in porn history, she decided to give it a try, saying in a later interview: “...I was thinking that something like 'Behind the Green Door' had never been done before and the way our sexual revolution was traveling I really thought it was going to be a stepping stone which would further my acting career..."
Sadly Marilyn was proven wrong and after the much-publicized Behind The Green Door was released, the evidence of her being branded in a different category altogether was sorely provided when Ivory Snow recalled all boxes of their product that featured her smiling face on the packaging. Perhaps as a form of passive revenge, nearly every single adult film Marilyn Chambers has performed in since starring in Behind the Green Door has featured a cameo of the Ivory Soap Box in the background of one of the scenes adorned with her beautiful face.
Behind The Green Door was the first hardcore pornographic movie widely released in the United States. The hype surrounding Marilyn’s Ivory Soap debacle simply added to the movies appeal and though it only cost $60,000 to make, Behind The Green Door has reportedly earned over $30 million dollars since it's release. The movie still sells even today, more than 30 years after its release and is one of the highest grossing porn films of all time thanks in large part to the amazing performance of Marilyn Chambers in the lead role.
During the shoot for Behind The Green Door, Marilyn had a controversial scene with African-American actor Johnny Keyes that lasted 45 minutes and apparently Marilyn fainted at the end of the scene from the intensity of the experience. Interracial sex was a very taboo subject at the time, and seeing a pretty white woman like Marilyn Chambers getting her holes pounded savagely by a muscular black man on film definitely fueled the fiery debate. While Marilyn was also open-minded about sex and racial equality, allegedly her decision to have sex with a black man on camera resulted in Chambers’ parents refusing to talk to her for several years after the movie was released.
A year after Behind The Green Door had exploded into movie theaters (keep in mind this was before the VHS home porn movie revolution and fans had to go to 'adult cinemas' just to see the film) and captured the imagination of the viewing public, Marilyn Chambers starred in Resurrection of Eve, and two years later was highlighted in ‘Inside Marilyn Chambers’, both Mitchell Brothers productions and big box-office hits as well.
In 1976, a year after marrying Chuck Traynor, the ex-husband of DeepThroat star Linda Lovelace; Marilyn tried to become a disco singer. Her single, ‘Benihana’ was met with a mixed response but that didn’t stop Marilyn from thoroughly enjoying the art of promoting her single at night clubs country wide, and she also managed to reach the Billboard Top 100 at the time. Then in 1977 Marilyn finally landed a mainstream role, scoring the lead in David Cronenberg’s low-budget horror flick Rabid - but societal views at the time made regular Hollywood movie makers nervous and many chose not to cast the enthusiastic actress for fear of repercussions from her previous line of work.
Marilyn has performed in 34 movies, most of them adult, and perhaps the most successful of all was the movie she made after Rabid, the box office smash hit, Insatiable. It was during Insatiable that Marilyn became the first porn star to shave her pussy hair, she shaved it into the shape of a heart and started a trend that reverberated throughout the world as women everywhere began grooming their pubes more diligently than they had ever before. In later interviews Marilyn seemed thrilled that she initiated the move from unshaven to shaven pussy and was quite proud of the fact that she was the first one on film to have it done.
Although never truly successful as a Hollywood film actress, Marilyn did manage to find another outlet for her creativity when she discovered the joy of working in Live theater. She performed in many theater productions, including Neil Simon’s ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ in Las Vegas; ‘Sex Surrogate’ also in Vegas; ‘Le Bellybutton’, an Off-Broadway production; ‘Sex Confessions’ which received rave reviews in London, and perhaps her coup de grace, running at 52 weeks making it the longest-running play in the history of Las Vegas, Marilyn starred in ‘Mind With the Dirty Man’.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Marilyn has also contributed to several adult magazines over the years, penning a sex advice column for Club magazine over the course of 18 years and she also wrote a sex column for Genesis Magazine for a 5 year period. Marilyn has been featured on several magazine covers, she completed a ten-page special celebrity layout for Playboy, and Adult Video News ranks her as one of the top ten adult film stars of all-time. Obviously attuned to writing, Marilyn has written two books, ‘Marilyn Chambers: My Story’ and ‘Xaviera Meets Marilyn Chambers’ which was co-authored by the notorious Xaviera Hollander. Both books were published by Warner Communications.
In 1999 Marilyn made a comeback starring in ‘Still Insatiable’, ‘Dark Chambers’ and ‘Edge Play’. Her comeback was limited though and after completing those three films Marilyn once again retired from performing in adult movies.
On July 28, 1999 Marilyn returned to the O’Farrell Theater in San Francisco and the town mayor at the time declared the day to be ‘Marilyn Chambers Day’ throughout the whole town. Marilyn was also given keys to the city for Las Vegas and San Francisco in honor of her iconic status. In 2000, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez played the Mitchell Brothers in the movie, Rated X, which told the story of The Mitchell Brothers rise and fall in the porn world and also starred Tracy Hutson taking on the role of Marilyn.
In the early 2000’s Marilyn starred in R-Rated specials that regularly aired on HBO, Showtime and Cinemax where she would recount and reenact stories in softcore porn films which extended her fame to a whole new generation of porn followers.
In 2004 she Marilyn Chambers entered politics and accepted the nomination of Vice Presidential candidate, running with Charles Jay as part of the Personal Choice Party. Sadly they did not succeed and George W. Bush began his second and final term that year. During 2008, Marilyn’s name was once again on the ticket, but unfortunately she was once more unsuccessful in her quest to join the political elite.
Marilyn was awarded the FOXE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 which she accepted in Inglewood California after being subjected to the FOXE version of a ‘comedy roast.’ Surprisingly her only other award prior to that was in 1985 when she won Best Kinky Scene from XRCO for her performance in Insatiable II with Jamie Gillis.
Marilyn Chambers captivated the hearts and fantasies of several generations of men and women throughout her life. Sadly, on April 14, 2009 just 10 days before her 57th birthday Marilyn was found dead in her home in Santa Clara, California. Marilyn’s was found by her daughter McKenna and no foul-play was suspected according to early police reports.
1985 XRCO Award for Best Kinky Scene - Insatiable II (with Jamie Gillis)
2005 FOXE Lifetime Achievement Award
There is little doubt that Marilyn Chambers will one day earn the title of Hall Of Fame Pornstar, and news of her recent passing has definitely renewed the enthusiasm of her loyal fans who believe that after all Marilyn has done for the world of adult cinema, she deserves to be inducted as soon as possible.