X-rated star Marilyn Chambers dies at 56
By JOHN ROGERS – 1 hour ago
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marilyn Chambers, the pretty Ivory Snow girl who helped bring hard-core adult films into the mainstream consciousness when she starred in the explicit 1972 movie "Behind the Green Door," has died at 56.
The cause of death was not immediately known. A family friend, Peggy McGinn, said Chambers' 17-year-old daughter found the actress' body Sunday night at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Canyon Country. Chambers was pronounced dead at the scene, the county coroner's office said Monday.
Chambers and fellow actresses Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin shot to fame at a time in the early 1970s when both American social mores and the quality of hard-core sex films were changing.
For the first time, films like "Behind the Green Door" and "Deep Throat" (also released in 1972 and starring Lovelace) had decent acting and legitimate if fairly thin plots. As the audiences for them grew to include couples, they also began to take on higher production values and to be seen in places other than sleazy theaters.
But "Behind the Green Door" brought something more in Chambers, an attractive young woman who had begun her career as a legitimate actress and model.
While the film was still in theaters, the public learned that its star was the same young blonde smiling and holding a freshly diapered baby on boxes of Ivory Snow laundry soap (which the company touted as "99 and 44/100 percent pure"). The manufacturer quickly replaced her, but it was later discovered that she also had a small role in the 1970 Barbra Streisand film "The Owl and the Pussycat."
"She was the first crossover adult star. She was the Ivory Snow girl and when she decided to make an adult movie that was big news," Steven Hirsch, co-CEO of adult filmmaker Vivid Entertainment Group, told The Associated Press on Monday.
"It was the first adult movie that was more than just a bunch of sex scenes," Hirsch said of her breakthrough film. "She was an actress and she brought that ability to the set of 'Behind the Green Door.' That's part of what made that movie so successful."