Yesterday afternoon, I had the luxury of watching the movie Boogie Nights for the first time. Critically acclaimed and a popular movie, it's probably lame that I hadn't seen it before. My friend, Jennifer, was shocked and appalled at the idea. I made sure to tape it the next time it came on cable and finally got around to watching it. Apparently I missed all of the hoopla and the hype.
Mark Wahlberg's character, loosely based on cult porn star John Holmes, was one of the most lovable and entertaining characters of the movie. Followed by Buck and Rollergirl in my opinion. Heather Graham was not only a bombshell in this movie but did a great job with her role as Rollergirl. Julianne Moore and Nicole Ari Parker are also stunning sexy bombshells that steal scenes and essentially do their thing in the film.
I thought it was a great movie. Very entertaining. Good acting. A little long, but a good plot that kept the party moving. It gives us a good look at the disco and porno chic eras and makes no apologies or excuses for its decadence and debauchery. And it made me think...
It made me think about the former porn stars and wanna-be stars of that period. What becomes of a former porn star of the 70s and 80s? That is, if they escaped a tragic ending of AIDS and drugs...
It especially made me wonder about the former black porn stars. Most black porn stars are rarely as famous and as successful (and as rich) as their white counterparts. Yes, there are exceptions----as there always are. But, in general we are more likely to remember Vanessa Del Rio than we are to remember the "Black Vanessa" that also reigned 80's porn. (Whatever happened to her by the way?)
My point is simply that as glamorous as the porn industry likes to portray itself and aside from the tragic endings that oftentimes occur, we rarely hear about the ones that made it out alive and well. That could be in part because those that did would like to forget about their days in front of the camera and are attempting to live a normal life. It could also be because there are so many former starlets, and new, that it's hard to keep track of them of all.
I would venture that they haven't been forgotten, even if we've lost track of them and may have forgotten their names. The porno industry is still booming (it's a billion dollar industry) and the re-issuing of old videos on DVD keeps their memories alive. Fans and new viewers alike are still watching "old porn." (Which also makes me wonder if the former stars are getting any of the new money.)
So what becomes of a porno star after their "career" is over? Without a directory that keeps track of every star, it's likely that we'll never know. But I still wonder...
May they never be forgotten.
*Originally Written in October 2005.