Since my 1st “06880” story in March 2009, I’ve written nearly 3,000 blog posts.
None has been viewed more than one from my 2nd month. It began:
Marilyn Chambers died today.
Tomorrow the newspapers will call her a “former porn star.” They will mention the scandal that erupted when Marilyn — the “99 and 44/100% pure” model holding a baby on the Ivory soap box — moved into hard-core films. They may say that some of her movies were produced by the infamous Mitchell brothers, or that she worked with legendary male porn star Johnny Wadd.
They might even mention that she grew up in Westport, Connecticut, the daughter of an advertising executive father and a nurse mother. The obituary writers will describe Marilyn Chambers, but they will focus only on her titillating past. That’s natural; they didn’t know her.
And as a Westporter a grade behind Marilyn Briggs at Long Lots Junior High School and Staples High, with plenty of friends in common, I knew her when it counted — when we were young. She was a field hockey player and cheerleader. She was cute — very cute — and outgoing. And though she was way ahead of most of us even then, and was already modeling in New York, she was still just “Marilyn.”
The reason that story received so many views — and still does — is not because it’s on “06880.” It turns out that every porn site in the universe linked to it. Who knew they run text, as well as photos and videos?
Now — 4 years later — Marilyn Chambers is back in the news.
Her 1975 autobiography (My Life) will be re-released in October. A remake of her most famous film (Behind the Green Door) may also come out this fall.
According to The Daily Beast, there’s even talk of naming a street in Providence, Rhode Island — where she was born — for her.
The Daily Beast story runs more than 2500 words. It details her too-short life in great detail.
Marilyn died “in relative anonymity in a trailer park, surviving on porn residuals, Comic-Con appearances, and a job at a car dealership.” But, a close friend told the Daily Beast, “She was a classy lady.” She planted gardens for her neighbors.
“I do know that the thing she was most proud of was being a mother to her daughter” (McKenna Taylor, from her 3rd marriage), Daryl Coates Manning — a longtime Westport friend — said. Marilyn was cremated the same day McKenna went to her senior prom.
McKenna is a driving force behind the reissue of her mother’s autobiography. She says Marilyn was proud of being “part of the sexual revolution. She didn’t regret anything she did. It wasn’t just porn. It was way more than that. People didn’t have the right to talk about their sexuality freely back then.”
This fall — in an era when talk about sexuality is as common as porn on the internet — Marilyn Chambers will be back in the news.
And those of us who knew her as Marilyn Briggs will remember her once again.