Linda Lovelace (born Linda Susan Boreman; January 10, 1949 – April 22, 2002) was an American pornographic actress known for her performance in the 1972 hardcore film Deep Throat. Although the film was an enormous success at the time, Boreman later said that her abusive husband, Chuck Traynor, had threatened and coerced her into the performance. In her autobiography Ordeal, she described what went on behind the scenes. She later became a born again Christian and a spokeswoman for the anti-pornography movement.
An undated photo of Lovelace
Linda Susan Boreman
January 10, 1949
|Died||April 22, 2002 (aged 53)|
|Cause of death||Injuries sustained in a car accident|
|Other names||Linda Lovelace, Linda Marchiano|
|Occupation||Pornographic actress, memoirist|
(m. 1971; div. 1974)
(m. 1974; div. 1996)
Boreman was born in the Bronx, New York, into a working-class family. She described her upbringing in an unhappy family, as the daughter of John Boreman, a police officer who was seldom home, and Dorothy Boreman (née Tragney), a waitress who was harsh, unloving, and domineering. She attended private Catholic schools, including Saint John the Baptist (Yonkers, New York) and Maria Regina High School. Linda was nicknamed "Miss Holy Holy" in high school because she kept her dates at a safe distance to avoid sexual activity. When Boreman was 16 her family moved to Davie, Florida, after her father retired from the New York City Police Department.
At the age of 19 she gave birth to her first child, whom she gave up for adoption. Shortly afterwards, she returned to New York City to live and go to computer school. There, she was involved in an automobile accident, sustaining injuries that were serious enough to require her to undergo a blood transfusion. The transfused blood had not been properly screened for hepatitis contamination, which caused her to need a liver transplant 18 years later.
While recovering at the home of her parents, Boreman became involved with Chuck Traynor. According to Boreman, Traynor was charming and attentive at first, then became violent and abusive. She said he forced her to move to New York, where he became her manager, pimp, and husband.
Allegedly coerced by Traynor, Boreman was soon performing as Linda Lovelace in hardcore "loops", short 8 mm silent films made for peep shows. Boreman starred in a 1969 bestiality film titled Dogarama (also known as Dog Fucker). She later denied having appeared in the film until several of the original loops proved otherwise. In 2013, Larry Revene, the cameraman who actually shot the film, spoke about it for the first time, during which he asserted that Boreman was a willing participant and that no coercion took place. Porn star Eric Edwards, who was present for the shoot, has similarly claimed there was no obvious coercion going on and that Boreman appeared to be a cooperative performer.
In 1972, Boreman starred in Deep Throat, in which she famously performed deep-throating. The film achieved surprising and unprecedented popularity among mainstream audiences and even a review in The New York Times. It played several times daily for over ten years at theaters in the Pussycat Theater chain, where Boreman did promotions, including leaving her hand and footprints in the concrete sidewalk outside the Hollywood Pussycat. The movie later became one of the first, and highest-grossing, X-rated videotape releases.
Media career after Deep ThroatEdit
In December 1973, Boreman made her theater debut in Pajama Tops at the Locust Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The production suffered disappointing box office performance, which led it to close early, and Boreman's performance was panned.
In 1974, Boreman starred in the R-rated sequel, Deep Throat II, which was not as well received as the original had been; one critic, writing in Variety, described it as "the shoddiest of exploitation film traditions, a depressing fast buck attempt to milk a naïve public."
In 1975, Boreman left Traynor for David Winters, the producer of her 1976 film Linda Lovelace for President, which co-starred Micky Dolenz. The film showed her on the campaign trail following a cross-country bus route mapped out in the shape of a penis. However, her career as an actress failed to flourish, and her film appearances add up to five hours of screen time. In her 1980 autobiography Ordeal, Lovelace maintained that those films used leftover footage from Deep Throat; however, she frequently contradicted this statement. She also posed for Playboy, Bachelor, and Esquire between 1973 and 1974.
During the mid-1970s, she also took to smoking large quantities of marijuana combined with painkillers, and after her second marriage and the birth of her two children, she left the pornographic film business.
In 1974, she published two "pro-porn" autobiographies, Inside Linda Lovelace and The Intimate Diary of Linda Lovelace.
In 1976, she was chosen to play the title role in the erotic movie Forever Emmanuelle (also known as Laure). However, according to the producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, Lovelace was "very much on drugs" at the time. She had already signed for the part when she avowed that "God had changed [her] life", refused to do any nudity, and even objected to a statue of the Venus de Milo on the set because of its exposed breasts. She was replaced by French actress Annie Belle.
Charges against Chuck TraynorEdit
In her suit to divorce Traynor, she said that he forced her into pornography at gunpoint and that in Deep Throat bruises from his beatings can be seen on her legs. She said that her husband "would force her to do these things by pointing an M16 rifle at her head." Boreman said in her autobiography that her marriage had been plagued by violence, rape, forced prostitution, and private pornography. She wrote in Ordeal:
When in response to his suggestions I let him know I would not become involved in prostitution in any way and told him I intended to leave, [Traynor] beat me and the constant mental abuse began. I literally became a prisoner, I was not allowed out of his sight, not even to use the bathroom, where he watched me through a hole in the door. He slept on top of me at night, he listened to my telephone calls with a .45 automatic eight shot pointed at me. I suffered mental abuse each and every day thereafter. He undermined my ties with other people and forced me to marry him on advice from his lawyer.
My initiation into prostitution was a gang rape by five men, arranged by Mr. Traynor. It was the turning point in my life. He threatened to shoot me with the pistol if I didn't go through with it. I had never experienced anal sex before and it ripped me apart. They treated me like an inflatable plastic doll, picking me up and moving me here and there. They spread my legs this way and that, shoving their things at me and into me, they were playing musical chairs with parts of my body. I have never been so frightened and disgraced and humiliated in my life. I felt like garbage. I engaged in sex acts in pornography against my will to avoid being killed... The lives of my family were threatened.
Lovelace's accusations provoked mixed responses. Traynor admitted to striking Lovelace but said it was part of a voluntary sex game. In Legs McNeil's and Jennifer Osborne's 2005 book The Other Hollywood, several witnesses, including Deep Throat director Gerard Damiano, state that Traynor beat Boreman behind closed doors, but they also question her credibility. Eric Edwards, Boreman's co-star in the dog sex films and other loops that featured her urinating on her sex partners, similarly discounts her credibility. According to Edwards, Boreman was a sexual "super freak" who had no boundaries and was a pathological liar. Adult-film actress Gloria Leonard was quoted as saying, "This was a woman who never took responsibility for her own [...] choices made; but instead blamed everything that happened to her in her life on porn." Corroboration for Lovelace's claims came from Andrea True, Lovelace's co-star in Deep Throat 2, who, on a commentary DVD track of the documentary Inside Deep Throat, stated that Traynor was a sadist and was disliked by the Deep Throat 2 cast. Andrea Dworkin stated that the results of polygraph tests administered to Boreman support her assertions. Moreover, psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman notes that many details in Lovelace's memoir Ordeal are consistent with a diagnosis of Complex PTSD, such as Lovelace's description of a fragmented personality in the aftermath of alleged abuse. Because of the circumstances of her upbringing, however, it had ceased to be clear whether the abuse came from Traynor or from Boreman's parents.
Eric Danville, a journalist who covered the porn industry for nearly 20 years and wrote The Complete Linda Lovelace in 2001, said Boreman never changed her version of events that had occurred 30 years earlier with Traynor. When Danville told Boreman of his book proposal, he said she was overcome with emotion and saddened he had uncovered the bestiality film, which she had initially denied making and later maintained she had been forced to star in at gunpoint.
Boreman maintained that she received no money for Deep Throat and that the $1,250 payment for her appearance was taken by Traynor.
Marriage with MarchianoEdit
In 1976, Boreman married Larry Marchiano, a cable installer who later owned a drywall business. They had two children, Dominic (born 1977) and Lindsay (born 1980). They lived in Center Moriches, a small town on Long Island. Boreman was then going through the liver transplant that her injuries from the automobile accident had necessitated, owing to the poorly screened blood she received in the transfusions. For a while, marriage and particularly motherhood brought her some stability and happiness. However, Marchiano's business went bankrupt in 1990, and the family moved to Colorado.
In The Other Hollywood, Boreman painted a largely unflattering picture of Marchiano, claiming he drank to excess, verbally abused her children, and was occasionally violent with her. Their divorce in 1996 was civil, and the two remained in contact with each other for the remainder of her life.
With the publication of Ordeal in 1980, Boreman joined the anti-pornography movement. At a press conference announcing Ordeal, she leveled many of the above-noted accusations against Traynor in public for the first time. She was joined by supporters Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Gloria Steinem, and members of Women Against Pornography. Boreman spoke out against pornography, stating that she had been abused and coerced. She spoke before feminist groups, at colleges, and at government hearings on pornography.
In 1986, Boreman published Out of Bondage, a memoir focusing on her life after 1974. She testified before the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, also called the "Meese Commission", in New York City, stating, "When you see the movie Deep Throat, you are watching me being raped. It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time." Following Boreman's testimony for the Meese Commission, she gave lectures on college campuses, decrying what she described as callous and exploitative practices in the pornography industry.
In The Other Hollywood, Boreman said she felt "used" by the anti-pornography movement. "Between Andrea Dworkin and Kitty MacKinnon, they've written so many books, and they mention my name and all that, but financially they've never helped me out. When I showed up with them for speaking engagements, I'd always get five hundred dollars or so. But I know they made a few bucks off me, just like everybody else." Thus Tom Leonard, writing for the London Daily Mail on March 26, 2012, alleged that both the porn industry and the anti-pornography movement had taken advantage of her.
Last years and deathEdit
Boreman had contracted hepatitis from the blood transfusion she received after her 1970 car accident and underwent a liver transplant in 1987. In 2001, she was featured on E! True Hollywood Story. The following year she did a lingerie pictorial as Linda Lovelace for the magazine Leg Show. She said she did not object to the magazine shoot because "there's nothing wrong with looking sexy as long as it's done with taste."
On April 3, 2002, Boreman was involved in another automobile accident. This was more serious than the 1970 accident that had injured her. She suffered massive trauma and internal injuries. On April 22, 2002, she was taken off life support and died in Denver, Colorado, at the age of 53. Marchiano and their two children were present when she died. Boreman was interred at Parker Cemetery in Parker, Colorado.
The computer processing coordination system Linda was named after Linda Lovelace. This name choice was inspired by the programming language Ada, which was named after computer pioneer Ada Lovelace.
Boreman's participation in Deep Throat was among the topics explored in the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat.
The country songwriter and singer David Allan Coe wrote a song called "Linda Lovelace" which is featured on his 1978 album Nothing Sacred. The same song appears on his 1990 album 18 X-Rated Hits under the title "I Made Linda Lovelace Gag".
In 2008, Lovelace: A Rock Musical, based on two of Boreman's four autobiographies, debuted at the Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. The score and libretto were written by Anna Waronker of the 1990s rock group That Dog, and Charlotte Caffey of the 1980s group the Go-Go's.
Lovelace is one of the main characters of the 2010 stage play The Deep Throat Sex Scandal by David Bertolino. The play follows the life and early career of Harry Reems as he enters the pornography industry, eventually filming Deep Throat and its resultant infamy and obscenity trial in Memphis, Tennessee, and Lovelace is a central figure. In July 2013, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to make a film version of the play raised over $25,000.
As of 2011, two biographical films on Boreman were scheduled to begin production. One, titled Lovelace, went into general release on August 9, 2013, with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman directing, Amanda Seyfried as Lovelace, and Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Traynor. Lovelace received a limited release in 2013, but ultimately, despite drawing many positive reviews, it was a box-office failure. The other, titled Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, starring Malin Åkerman, was to be directed by Matthew Wilder and produced by Chris Hanley and was scheduled to begin filming in early 2011. Due to a lack of financing it never went into production.
Boreman has been the subject of five biographies, four written or co-written by her:
- Inside Linda Lovelace (1974), Linda Lovelace, ISBN 0-902826-11-5
- The Intimate Diary of Linda Lovelace (1974), Linda Lovelace, ISBN 0-523-00394-3
- Ordeal (1980), Linda Lovelace and Mike McGrady, ISBN 0-517-42791-5
- Out of Bondage (1986), Linda Lovelace and Mike McGrady, ISBN 0-425-10650-0
- The Complete Linda Lovelace (2001), Eric Danville, ISBN 0-9705502-0-0
- Jack Stevenson (ed): Fleshpot: Cinema's Sexual Myth Makers & Taboo Breakers (Headpress, England 2000). This features an interview with her.
- Briggs, Joe. "Linda Lovelace dies in car crash - UPI.com". United Press International. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
By 1980 she had become a mother of two, a born-again Christian, and a feminist -- and was living on welfare as her husband tried to make ends meet as a cable installer on Long Island. She had already become the feminist poster child for the demeaning effects of pornography, turning up in Andrea Dworkin's 1979 book "Pornography: Men Possessing Women."
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- Pussycat Theaters - a Comprehensive History by Jay Allen Sanford, published 6-30-10
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- Linda Lovelace (1949–2002) @Arlindo-Correia.org– Collection of Linda Lovelace obituaries and other articles.
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- 'Larry Revene: Loops and Organized Crime', The Rialto Report An interview with the cameraman on one of Linda Lovelace's loops.
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- Deep Throat: Damiano, Lovelace.. and “Lovelace” at The Rialto Report, 8 September 2013