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


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