Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ann Perry-Rhine -- In Memoriam

Last week, the world lost one of the most beloved and iconic women of classic erotic films, Candida Royalle. On Friday September 11, one of the very first female directors, producers and entrepreneurs associated with classic adult pictures, Ann Perry-Rhine, died peacefully in Los Angeles. In recent years, Ann suffered from Alzheimers symptoms and was unable to participate directly when I approached her for an interview in 2010.  Fortunately, Ann's son, Greg Yedding, stepped up and was happy to provide accounts of his mother's fascinating life and history in the erotic movie industry for the book. Other interview material that appears in Perry's chapter is excerpted from Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes (1999), a documentary on John Holmes by Cass Paley.

   Virginia Ann Lindsay was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. Ann, who attended a private Catholic school, had set her sights on becoming a nun. While attending the convent, Perry met her first husband, Ron Myers, and soon abandoned a life of celibacy and devotion.
   In the 1960s along with sexploitation queen, Marsha Jordan, Ann began acting in moderately successful nudie cutie pictures for Don Davis, but had her eye on greater prizes Determined to compete in a male dominated business, Ann began appearing in softcore films, that eventually positioned her for more coveted roles as a writer, director, and ultimately, producer of hardcore movies under her own company Evolution Enterprises. Attracted to the illegal nature of the business and a strong proponent of free speech, Ann was arrested on morals charges on more than one occasion. As the very first woman president of the Adult Film Association of America (AFAA), Perry exercised her status to sway members of the media, and like her contemporary, Candida Royalle, strategized methods of bringing a better quality product to fans of adult material. Perry received accolades and positive notices for two of her best known films, Count the Ways (1976) and Sweet Savage (1978).
   Perry, who was married four times, has left behind two grown children and several step-children. During the filming of Sweet Savage, Ann married the love of her life, San Francisco attorney, Joseph Rhine, who represented such illustrious individuals as Timothy Leary, pornographers Artie and Jim Mitchell (who acted as "best men" at Ann's marriage to Rhine), and members of the Black Panther Party during the 1970s. Rhine was deceased in 2003 at the age of sixty-seven.
   In honour of Ann's life and work, below are excerted passages from my profile on Perry in Golden Goddesses titled "First Lady."

Ann Perry: "When I started in the film business, I worked for [late exploitation producer] Bob Cresse a lot and various other guys that were shooting. I worked my way up through all the transitions in the business to a little more explicit, as far as being an actress.
   In the films, in the beginning, oftentimes, you'd be jumping on trampolines or in a swimming pool. Most of it was bare breasts and you couldn't show pubic hair. That was forbidden -- very no, no to show pubic hair. There were certain rules that you had to follow. You couldn't touch a man by the hand. Then things eventually progressed. I had a mail order company and I actually got arrested by the FBI for selling film and shipping it across state lines. It was a brochure showing a man and a woman sitting on a bed holding hands, and underneath the picture it said, 'What do two people do when they fall in love?' Nowadays, it would probably be on the Disney channel.
   Once I started directing and producing the thirty-five millimeter films, I really didn't often work as an actor anymore. Although there were some people in the business who were friends of mine like Walt Davis [David Stephans] that I did work for when I wasn't doing work for anybody else, just because I liked him. I didn't do any hardcore scenes -- whether they added them in later or not, I could care less. There was a time when I cared but I didn't care later.
   I worked my way through one film called Teenage Sex Kitten (1975) that starred Rene Bond. As I'd mentioned, people started adding hardcore to films that had initially been shot that weren't hardcore. You would shoot your soft version and then use inserts. That was commonly done."
    I think that the first thirty-five millimeter film that I made was Count the Ways. It was a romance story and women liked it, which was great, as far as I was concerned. There was a little poetry in there and it was handled delicately. It did very well. I kept taking the money that I would make on one film and roll it into the next film.

Ann Perry-Rhine with son Greg
A couple of major magazines contacted me and we did interviews, very extensive interviews. I did a big interview for Playboy magazine; the Japanese version came out and they took photographs of me and they had a big spead [in the Japanese Playboy magazine]. So all countries were getting interested in what was happening in the United States -- X-rated-wise. I called up reviewers that reviewed general release films for Variety and I actually got them to come and review my films. I would get screening rooms and serve little goodies. It was done professionally, just like the major people were doing, and so it started to be accepted like that. There was always a lot of interest and I think they saw money. Of course, we always had two or three versions of our films."

Greg Yedding: "You know, it's a big stepping stone for women to make a name for themselves in the the adult entertainment industry. I adore and know these women, and I respect everything they've done and gone through in their lives. I think my mother is very proud of what she did, and what she achieved in the industry. She started something and then the girls went farther with it. She never regretted it a single day in her life."
~Excerpted from Chapter 1., "First Lady," Spotlight on Ann Perry-Rhine, Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985. © 2012 Jill C. Nelson


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remembering Candida Royalle: 1950-2015

"When I made my choice to start into production, it was a great way to embrace my name and everything I had done and just say, 'You know what? I'm not going to run for it. I'm going to take my fame and do something I'm proud of.'" `Candida Royalle, 2012

Last evening, I read the sad news that Goddess Candida Royalle passed away from cancer related causes.  Starting in 2007, I had the opportunity to speak with Candida on several occasions as she had agreed to share memories, personal experiences, and select parts of her life story for A Life Measured in Inches and Golden Goddesses. Intelligent, articulate, insightful, sincere, gracious and thorough, I was greatly appreciative of her time.
   In 2012, while visiting New York City, Candida invited me and a couple of friends to join Candida, Gloria Leonard, and some old friends at the West 79th St. marina in Manhattan for a few sun drenched hours. It was a spectacular afternoon, one in which I will never forget.
   In compiling Golden Goddesses, interview sessions with Candida stand out as some of the most fascinating and informative, as Royalle spoke with reverence and sensitivity with respect to her her childhood, teen years, feminism, her foray into adult films and eventual transition to directing with a focus on couples, eroticism and romance when she launched her own company Femme Productions in 1984. Royalle was an integral part of Club 90, a small group of women and friends who connected through their mutual experiences as adult performers and have retained their unique friendship over the years.
   Diligent and industrious, the last couple of years, Candida was busy developing a documentary film titled While You Were Gone, The Untold Story of Candida Royalle.
   One of the true giants of the erotic and feminist movements, Candida's Royalle's legacy will burn eternal through her stellar work, her gutsy actions, and the power of her own words. R.I.P.
   The following quotes are excerpted from Golden Goddesses.

"I think that pornography itself is a reflection of how we have perverted our sexuality and for the most part, what would be described as 'male' pornography makes sex look rather dirty, and mechanical and loveless. I think it's a reflection of what we've done to our sexuality through positioning it was something dangerous and bad, needing to be controlled and suppressed. I spent all of those years looking into my soul and trying to look objectively at having been in movies, and whether or not this was good or bad -- was this bad for society? I had to flesh it out for myself and I couldn't live with this burning question in my mind. 'Oh, my god, did I take part in something horrible?' I don't think it was, but I don't think we'll see in our lifetime a society that doesn't condemn it even while millions of people consume it."

"I had gone into therapy to understand why I did what I did. After much reading and exploring, and looking at it through a historical perspective as well as my own personal perspective, I decided there was nothing wrong with performing sexually with others for others to view, and enjoy, and learn from. I felt that the pornography that existed reflected a society that had great conflict about sexuality and that there was no woman's voice. We were not getting a whole lot out of these films ther than easy jerk-off material. Of course, that got me to thinking that it would be interesting to create movies that had a woman's voice that actually had good information, and that people could actually learn something. I knew there would be people who would love movies that are more intelligent with more craft and artistry. At the same time, women were starting to become more curious because of the feminist movement. We had received permission to explore our sexuality and quite significant: home video and cable television were introduced in to the culture. This really gave people a place to view and explore these movies and their fantasies at home. I saw all that come together and I thought it was a viable market that the industry was ignoring."

"I've sacrificed pieces of my life. I have very little relationship with the Italian side of my family any longer, a whole piece of my fmaily that was a major part of my life when I was growing up. While i sometimes makes me sad to think about the huge family I lost, I accept it as an unadvoidable consequence of choosing to break that rules and live according to my own beliefs."

"I worry about all of the young women coming into the adult industry now, and not having the wherewithal to go into therapy. I'm sorry, you can't do something that's this controversial and taboo without having some conflict about it, and in some way, it stays with people for the rest of your life. Even through we know that there's nothing wrong with what we did, a lot of people are going to judge you for it. If I had the wherewithal and the inclination, I would start some kind of place for women to come and get counseling because they're going to need it. It's not as if I'd be telling them, 'You're a sick person' or ' you're a bad person.' Just talk about it and make sure you're OK with it because it's the only way to stand up to people's judgements. You've got to have self-respect, self-love and self-understanding."
~ Excerpted from Chapter 7., "Femme," Spotlight on Candida Royalle, Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema, 1968-1985. © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Golden Age Appreciation Fund Thanks You

A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who made a contribution to our beautiful, beloved Goddess and friend, Kay Parker, through The Golden Age Appreciation Fund these past three weeks. Almost $3000.00 was raised! That's a lot of love!
    For full details, and to read Kay's letter of acknowledgment and gratitude sent to Ashley West of Rialto Report and TGAAF, please visit
    We'd also like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who helped to promote this fundraiser, and TGAAF, in general. This is the first of many future projects.
    A personal thanks to Mark Murray and Ashley West for getting the ball rolling, and for inviting me to come along for the ride. You guys are the best.
   Sending luck and love your way, Kay!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Golden Age Appreciation Fund launch -- First recipient: Kay Parker


Photo by Kenji
A few weeks ago, I was invited by Rialto Report's Ashley West to join him and veteran cult/adult researcher Mark Murray in establishing an ongoing fundraising initiative for classic adult film legends in financial crisis.  It is no secret that vintage erotic film luminaries were grossly underpaid during the years when the adult film industry was breaking new ground in every conceivable way, generating millions of dollars for the industry while negating to adequately renumerate those who put their names and faces on the line -- in front or behind the camera and on box covers. Today, many legendary fan favourites and stars of the blue screen are in a financial bind, struggling to achieve a quality of life as they continue to age.  Most recently, Ashley West spoke with Kay Parker and was astonished to learn she has found herself homeless and struggling to collect the downpayment and last month's rent, plus a security deposit for a place of her own.  Earlier this year, Rialto Report featured Kay in a full length podcast; it remains one of the most popular RR episodes.    It was decided that we would reach out to try to assist Kay during the holiday season, and hopefully raise money to assist with her new housing.
   To do this, we have set up The Golden Age Appreciation Fund (TGAAF), an ongoing initiative that will assist retired adult folks throughout the year. To launch our campaign, we are highlighting Kay's immediate need, and also making it easy for anyone who wishes to make a donation to her. Together we can help Kay get back into a place of her own.
   Kay is a sweet friend and a wonderful soul. Though she works part-time as a spiritual counselor, her work does not generate enough income to come up with the necessary funds to move.
   We are asking that you consider making a donation at the following link. This is a non-profit initiative and every penny donated to Kay will go directly to her.

   We intend to keep this fund drive open over the entire holiday season and it will run until Friday 9th January 2015. Please give anything you can - no donation is too small - and feel free to also leave your message to Kay with the donation. We will ensure that it is all passed on to her.

Thanks so much, and have a very Happy and safe Holiday Season. ☮

Monday, December 1, 2014

2014 Rialto Report Holiday Contest & Bright Lights, Lonely Nights Hollywood launch!

Greetings everyone! With the holiday season now upon us, I'd like to invite you to participate in an exciting competition opportunity hosted by our good friends, Ashley and April at Rialto Report!
   Prizes include 5 volumes of loops from Synapse Films, BearManor Media books signed by Serena, Seka, Richard Pacheco and yours truly, and a selection of Rialto Report goodies.
   To enter, all you need to do is correctly name any song used in Seka, Serena or Richard Pacheco's Rialto Report interview by Friday December 12th. Two winners will be selected at random to receive the Rialto Report package of prizes sent directly to their doorstep.
   For more details, and to enter the contest, please visit the following link: Rialto Report Holiday Competition 

   In other news, for those living in the L.A. area, be sure to mark this Saturday December 6th on your calendars to meet the beautiful and magnificent Serena Czarnecki up close and personal at the infamous  Larry Edmunds Bookshop in the heart of Hollywood! Serena will meet and greet fans as she debuts her amazing new memoir, Bright Lights, Lonely Nights.  The party starts at 7:30pm sharp.
   Good luck, have fun, and all the best to you and yours this Holiday season!  Be safe.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Spotlight on Francesca "Kitten" Natividad


Courtesy of

It's been quite some time since I last updated this blog.  For the last fifteen months, I've been busy writing a memoir inspired by a six month teenage hitchhiking and youth hostelling trip I made with a friend across the west coast of Canada, down into Oregon, and California. The book, 1976: Tapes from California, slated for a 2015 release, will recreate characters and experiences encountered along our journey. 
     My goal is to begin work on a second edition of Golden Goddesses later this year. I hope to include a few new mini-profiles and photos in the updated version of the book.
     Today I am delighted to feature new excerpts from "Golden Goddesses" highlighting Kitten(Francesca) Natividad.  The excerpts are from chapter twelve titled "Sex 'Kitten' Natividad."
     From the very beginning of this project, Kitten has been supportive and enthusiastic, and since the book's release, Francesca's support and love have continued.
      In November 2012, I was honoured to meet Kitten for the first time when she made a special appearance at our book launch at the Hustler store in Hollywood.  It was almost two years after I had first interviewed her over the telephone.  Kitten was also a special guest the following evening at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, and was a part of our reunion evening last October when six of the ladies gathered together at Larry Edmunds for an unforgettable Q&A (covered by Peter Cook). 
     Strong, open, honest, brash and fun-loving, Francesca is a remarkable woman and human being.  She will always remain close to my heart.

Please enjoy the following excerpts from "Sex 'Kitten' Natividad":

Born in Mexico in 1948 to a teenage bride, Francesca Isabelle Natividad was three years old when her parents divorced.  Before the age of ten, Francesca and her mother immigrated to El Paso, Texas where they settled in with her new stepfather. While engaged in secondary school studies, a relative hooked the young teenager up to keep house for actor Stella Stevens (in Hollywood) for summer work where Natividad flourished. After graduating from grade twelve, Francesca was hired as a key punch operator, but quickly became unfulfilled by the monotony of her work. Later, at the advice of friend, she decided to auditon as a Go-Go dancer, and ultimately, became an exotic dancer, a profession she found to be gratifying ad profitable. During her early years as a stripper, Natividad adopted the stage name "Kitten."

"It was a normal childhood. My mother started working at the same time my father worked and went to college.  I came home from school, did homework and made the dinner -- there were no hobbies. I did like to put on the radio and dance around the house doing housework. 
     My childhood was definitely not the life that kids have today.  I was very responsible as a child.  I can't say anything terrible about my childhood.  I don't feel bad about my childhood because it taught me one thing: I didn't want any children when I grew up.  I remember those two a.m. feedings.
I am from the era of baby boomers and we are different from other generations.  We started doing things differently and we behaved differently."

"A friend of mine who lived across from where I lived had a sister who was a dancer.  She told me how much money she made, and I thought. 'Oh, my god, I've got to get that job!' and I did.  When I first started dancing I was single, and eventually, I gave it up because I got married.  When I met him, I was around nineteen and he was around sixty-four.  He told me if I went back to dancing it was over.  After nine months, we annulled it.  That was fine with me.

"My reason for getting into stripping and adult entertainment is that I really enjoyed the attention.  It was my decision to get into it, and into the dancing.  It was also for the money.  I have to tell you that money is at the top of my list -- and the men. You do meet a lot of guys, of course.  My heart, my everything belonged to dancing and stripping.  I was a stripper first.  The reason I intially got into porn is because it would reach out to more men.  I did the layouts to make a name for myself."

"[Russ Meyer] hired me as a narrator and that's how it started.  After that, he kept asking me out and I said, 'I can't go to dinner, I'm married,' and then finally, I don't know how it happen, it just happened. We started dating each other.  I eventually had to make a decison go leave my second husband, but I didn't have any regrets because he was too much of a control freak.  He has passed away already.  It's all very complicated."

"When I started with Russ -- those were not pornographic movies.  He was not a pornographer.  It was T&A, baby.  They were nude films, period.  Russ Meyer did not do porn films. 
     I love him to death.  He's dead now, but I have to come to his defense.  Later, I did some Triple-X films, but Russ would be rolling in his grave because he could not compete with porn."

"He's the one I should have married. We had our own residences, but Russ paid my rent and he lived with me at my place.  In other words, he had his own place but I wouldn't live there because it looked like a factory.  He worked out of there.  I didn't want to sleep there so we lived and ate at my house, an then he'd go to work at his house. 
     His work was tunnel vision.  He lived, breathed it, and slept it."

"When I went into porn I was in bad shape.  I was a lush by that time.  When I quit, I didn't miss it at all, and now, I don't drink either.  I went through a phase and now it's over.  When I stopped drinking, my life got back on track and I'm doing okay.  Sometimes my friends will ask me to have a drink and I think why should I get started again?  One might lead to two, and that might lead to more.  I don't want that.  I do go to AA to remind myself not to drink."

"I've always believed to be the best that you can, and be clever with your costumes and music and movement.  Enjoy, and you'll go far.  It shows when you're enjoying yourself, and if you're up on stage, everyone will enjoy your show.  When I was stripping, I could tell if someone wanted to be there or not."

 "I've enjoyed my life whether it was bad or good.  Sometimes, I didn't know it was bad!"

 Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema,1968-1985 © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Remembering Marilyn Chambers

Marilyn Chambers - Photo by Kenji
Marilyn Chambers passed away suddenly five years ago today. She is missed and remembered fondly not only by her fans, but by all of those who knew her well. In the summer of 2007, I interviewed Marilyn over the telephone for our biography, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches. Marilyn's memories of Holmes were overwhelmingly positive -- she understood him. A year after "Inches" was published and Marilyn sadly passed away, I reread our interview and realized there was enough material that could hopefully serve as the foundation for a Chambers profile/chapter in Golden Goddesses. Though the book was still in its infancy stages, my conversation with Marilyn Chambers is what became the impetus to highlight twenty-five women from Marilyn's era. 
     When we spoke, Marilyn's honesty, her spirit, her introspection and her love for her daughter, McKenna, were the factors that came through, and I wanted to honour those elements when I began to piece together Marilyn's profile. Thanks to McKenna, and to documentarian Valerie Gobos, because of their input, I was able to finish the chapter.
     One of the most touching aspects of launching Golden Goddesses in Hollywood in November 2012, was having the opportunity to meet Marilyn's long time best friend, Peggy, and her husband Darcy. Peggy and Darcy are wonderful, salt of the earth people. I am happy and pleased that Marilyn and Peggy were able to share in one another's lives for as long as they did, and I greatly appreciate their support of the book, in addition to McKenna and Val.
     The following excerpts are condensed from chapter four, "Marilyn Chambers: Girl Next Door Goes Behind the Green Door." I'd like to thank Valerie Gobos for suggesting the chapter's title. It's what Marilyn would have wanted.

    Of all of the female stars to resonate with aficianados of the golden era of Adult, Marilyn Chambers towers above the rest. Legendary for her unbridled, sexual  eccentricities onscreen, Chambers' early years  offer a glimpse into her potential as a maven in her field.
     Born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1952, Marilyn Ann Briggs came from good stock. Chambers was actively involved in gymnastics and trained as a junior Olympic diver as a young teenage girl. At seventeen Marilyn travelled to New York and enlisted with the Wilhelmina Talent Agency where she was promptly sent on auditions for commercial and film work. Chambers won a small role as Robert Klein's girlfriend in The Owl and the Pussycat, a Barbara Streisand that also co-starred reputable actor George Segal. During this period, Marilyn was photographed for the now infamous Ivory Snow soapbox advertisement that surfaced just as her career as an adult actress emerged after she agreed to appear in Behind the Green Door (1972) for brothers Artie and Jim Mitchell. When the pair made her an offer to star in their production and engage in real sex on camera, Chambers flatly turned them down, but reconsidered when they agreed to pay her an impressive sum of money for her efforts. She never imagined that the filmmakers would meet her demands and terms.

Marilyn Chambers: "I did that because I didn't want to do the film. I thought, 'Okay, I'm really going to give them something they're going to say no to.' I said 'I'm from New York, Don't you know who I am? I'm not going to do that!' They were cool guus and and they were very foxy, very sly, you know? They had their shit together for a short period.
      I loved the Mitchell brothers. I loved Artie and Jim and still do today. They're like brothers. Tey gave me an opportunity to do something and I thought 'Okay, I'll do a couple of films for them and then I'll get out of it, and I'll be able to do stuff in Hollywood.' I agreed [to do the film] and I got a percentage [of the film's gross] for approximately ten years, and then it was over. That part of the contract I forgot to look at."

 "It's an interesting thing. For a very long time I've been obsessed about wanting to write a book or  doing a documentary about why people go into the porn business and is there a type of person. Whey did they do it? What was their childhood like? If you were getting your master's in psychology, this would be a great thesis. I have a lot of questions about my own life, but I had a great childhood. Something interjected in there though, to propel me in that direction whether it was outside forces or inner stuff. It would be an interesting topic to explore."

 "In Insatiable, I did the last scene with John [Holmes], and I remember Stu Segall, the director -- we were shooting this film in San Francisco. Stu days, 'We're going to pick John up at the airport.'
     I said, 'Okay, great.' I'm not sure if another person was there, but we got into the car and we drove to the airport, and we picked up John Holmes. I was so totally nervous. I'd heard so much about him. I was no afraid, but just totally shy like, 'Oh my god.' [John] and I were sitting in the back seat and we were talking, and I was just kind of looking at him in awe, going, 'God, this guy is really smart. He really is reasonably articulate.' He said that he was just kind of a country boy and that he was doing all of this so that he could live a normal life. He was so not the John Holmes that I thought he was going to be. He didn't come marching up going 'Hey! Move over bitch!' He was a meek, kind of  a gentle man. I thought, 'Oh, okay, is he going to be able to take control here in the scene?'"

"Insatiable is my favourite film. I looked the best. I felt the best. I felt the sexiest. It was like the prime of my life right there. That was a time when you saw me being totally sexual, everything was great. Everything was going my way and I just felt sexy, and I felt happy. I wasn't into drugs and alcohol. We partied, but that wasn't my life. I love that film, but the problem with the film industry is that they got so into 'Let's make it a story for women, so women will watch.' They they went overboard and the fims had too much story and too much talking, and these people can't act. Then it evolved into vignettes. There's a beginning -- a middle and an end. There's not this big, long story that you have to sit through. The filmmakers went from stag films to loops, to Behind the Green Door, which was very experiemental to an Insatiable type thing. -- back to almost loops, which were sort of life vignetters [as in] Marilyn Chambers' Private Fantasies, five fantasies in one film."

"When VHS came out that was a huge turning point. Because then people started shooting on video. You could be the straightest, staunchest person in the world, but this is a person’s human nature. They are curious about sex. Everybody has sexual fantasies. And the older I get, I believe you don’t want those fantasies. That’s a private thing that you do in your own home, or behind closed doors, unless you’re a swinger. Everybody doesn’t have to know what your sexual fantasies are. We are different people in this world. We are different people when we go to work. In a straight job, around the water cooler, you can’t say, ‘Oh yeah, we did this and that’ because it’s going to haunt you. Our generation, we just wanted to be free and live the way we wanted to, but that’s not how life works."

"The best thing that’s ever happened to me is my daughter. To be a Mom is the best thing in the world. You know, that’s all I ever really wanted to do after I had finished doing films."
Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema,1968-1985 © 2012 Jill C. Nelson