Bambi Woods is a former pornographic actress and exotic dancer best known for her appearance as the title character in the 1978 film Debbie Does Dallas. Her meteoric success in the Golden Age of Porn, and disappearance intrigued adult industry writers and caused interest in her whereabouts, and a myth about her having met a sordid fate several years after her heyday began to be accepted as fact.
Bambi Woods in Debbie Does Dallas
|Born||July 12, 1955|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||115 lb (52 kg)|
Woods was known for her first role as the eponymous character of "Debbie" in the 1978 feature adult film Debbie Does Dallas. She received top billing, and a photo of her in a bogus uniform was prominently advertised on theater marquees where she was falsely described as a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Woods had previously tried out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in real life, but was cut during auditions. The partners with whom she had unsimulated sexual intercourse in the film included Robert Kerman, and others drawn from the small group of veteran performers who appeared in most US hard-core pornography made in the US during that era. Woods said her involvement in adult films was arranged by a female friend to whom she owed money. The producer/director, Jim Clark, said he created the stage name 'Bambi Woods' in an allusion to the Disney character: "I named her Bambi Woods. There wasn't any real reason behind it. Bambi ... a deer. In the woods. Do you want to get deeper?" One reviewer in a TV documentary about the film expressed the opinion that Woods's demeanor during sex scenes was in keeping with her pseudonym, being reminiscent of a deer caught in car headlights.
Woods's adult-entertainment career occurred towards the end of the Golden Age of Porn, when the filmmakers operated in a legal gray area, making them vulnerable to extortion by organised criminals who controlled distribution. At the time, there were no laws requiring mandatory verification and record keeping of participants’ true identities, and the real names of even the most prolific actors remained unknown outside their profession until decades later when the identities of almost all famous performers were circulated on the Internet. Despite the huge profits being made, female performers’ fees rarely exceeded the low hundreds of dollars. Although Woods ostensibly performed in Debbie Does Dallas as a one-off to clear a debt, she spent all her earnings, so the still-owed friend arranged for her to become an exotic dancer. An interviewer, told about the background to Woods’s career, remarked of the creditor that she had "a heart of gold".
The film became a huge success. According to one account, and interviews she gave, Woods was feted in New York clubs, including Studio 54 and Plato's Retreat, and mixed with celebrities. However, she was distraught when a level of publicity she had not anticipated led to her family's discovery of her career in pornography. She also became increasingly disillusioned with approbation as a porn star, and disconcerted by being sought by those bringing a civil suit.
Two years after her pornographic debut, she had not made another film. She did not have sex on camera for any production she is credited with subsequent to 1981; these may be for clips used years after they were filmed. Woods disappeared completely by the mid 1980s.
A 2005 article in The Age stated that Woods had died in 1986 of a drug overdose under lurid circumstances. In a 2005 Channel 4 documentary, Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered, Clark said the real name of Woods (which he declined to specify on camera) was used to trace her family in the mid 1990s, and a private investigator had been informed through indirect communications that she was living an ordinary life in the Des Moines area and wished to have no involvement with nor publicity concerning her former career.
- "The Dark Side of Porn - Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered". Channel 4. An episode of a British documentary television series on the pornography industry. YouTube.
- Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 0-7407-5118-2.
- "Television interview with Bambi Woods in NYC". YouTube. 1979.
- "The Bambi Woods Interview". YesButNoButYes.com.
- "Porn to Be Mild". The Age. 2005-02-06. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-14.