Marilyn Chambers: The Sequel

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.

Marilyn Chambers was barely out of high school when she modeled for the Ivory Snow package. At the same time, she was beginning her career in porn.

Marilyn Chambers was barely out of high school when she modeled for the Ivory Snow package. At the same time, she was beginning her career in porn.

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.

I did.

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.

Marilyn Chambers, in her heyday.

Marilyn Chambers, in her heyday.

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.

Marilyn Chambers in 2004 (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

Marilyn Chambers in 2004 (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

“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.

16 responses to “Marilyn Chambers: The Sequel

  1. Was she Billy Brigg’s sister?

  2. Thanks Dan!!
    We, who knew Marilyn for all of those years growing up will always remember her as Marilyn.
    A friend, a class mate, someone that cared deeply about her friends.
    Our 1970 reunions were always made special when she attended, And to my knowledge she never missed one of them.
    Thanks for remembering her, she was a special person, that made our class at Staples HS a very special class, because she was one of our class mates.

    Tom Wall
    Staples HS
    Class of 1970

  3. Eric William Buchroeder

    Whatever the “outside world” may have thought about her celebrity and where it came from, Marilyn definitely was (and is) one of us and we knew her in a special way that only childhood friends can claim. I doubt that Marilyn ever forgot that her best friends were made in her childhood at Westport.

  4. I didn’t know her well back in the day but I got a chance to chat with her in LA in August 2006 when we were out there for the filming of the documentary on The Remains. Marilyn was delighted to run into someone from her hometown and to talk about the old days at Staples and Westport. She was very down to earth, and it was clear she had fond memories of Westport.

    And she was very proud of her big brother’s musical talent and was so glad to see that the documentary was being made. In certain respects, she was still the little sister looking up to her big brother.

  5. I remember Marilyn very well. We went to Camp Mohawk together. She sang a song in the talent show, “I’m Gonna Knock on Your Door” and was adorable. I can still hear her singing it.

    I also remember The Remains. I loved their music and still do.

    Marilyn was a little younger than I but from the same era. She was sweet and always seemed vulnerable but brave. She was beautiful.

  6. I remember the first time I met Marilyn was when I was working my first AVN convention in 05. I walked up to her and immediately the Westport bond attached us. We had dinner and drinks and talked about what the town and school were like back in the 70’s. She wished me good luck in my career. Such a wonderful woman.

  7. I will always remember the Marilyn from Long Lots JHS… What a beauty and the first time I had ever seen anyone do a multiple backflip! She was great at all our reunions and a pleasure to have as a friend.

    Bruce Fernie
    Staples 1970

  8. That’s a touching piece Dan. Nicely done.

  9. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Marilyn was beautiful inside and out. She was a terrific athlete and was great at any sport. We in Westport who knew her and called her a friend, will always remember her with fondness and how we interacted with her. Thanks Dan, for reminding us of her, four years after her passing.

  10. Marcy Anson Fralick

    With a last name of Anson, Marilyn Briggs was often only a couple of chairs away from me in homeroom at Long Lots. We became friends, but when we got to Staples, drifted apart. I saw her again in Denver, in 1978 or 1979 when she was in town promoting a film. I called the radio station where she was doing her interview, and she readily agreed to meet me. I had my 3 and 6 year old daughters with me, and as soon as she saw them, I might as well have been invisible. She was amazing with the girls. And they were drawn to her instantly. To this day, at ages 37 and 40, they still remember her. She just had such a warm, loving, giving, and joyful presence. We met her again in 1980 at our 10 year reunion, the girls were so hoping to see her again, but she was busy and we just could connect. She tried really hard to see them, and ended up calling them at the hotel. She became the girls’ idol. She was an incredibly amazing, warm, loving, loyal person who never forgot her roots.

  11. I first met Marilyn at the Patterson Club as both our parents were members.We were just kids.We dated on and off through High School.We were really just friends.Most importantly, I remember Marilyn taking some dirty,smelly bus up into the Berkshires to be my Senior prom date at an all boy’s Prep school.Certainly she didn’t have to,but she did, because she was just a nice girl.She was a friend.
    Jim McCarthy

  12. Linda Gramatky Smith

    Happy memories of a beautiful little girl (I was much older). They didn’t tear down her house at 4 Marc Lane but they added on to it substantially. I still think of that corner as “the Briggs’ home” when I drive by on Roseville. Wonderful that her daughter McKenna is watching over her mom’s legacy.

  13. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I also remember her from Camp Mohawk. She was a really good swimmer and diver.

  14. Charlie Taylor

    Many thanks for the lovely article on Marilyn Briggs. My sis Fran went to
    Staples with Marilyn, knew her well. Marilyn hung out at our lifeguard shack
    at Compo with several friends in the summer of 1965. I have know her brother
    Bill ( Remains) since high school Downshifters days. I knew Marilyn as a
    perky 13 year old, an All American teenager. A young colt. I keep that
    memory precious and close to my heart.

  15. I have a fond memory of Marilyn driving me to Scott Rose’s sister’s wedding in a VW bug. (I think she she was Scott’s brother’s date.) She was wearing a black-and-white polka dot dress. Anyway, she was beautiful inside and out–warm and generous-hearted. That whole day she treated me like a little sister, even though she’d never met me before. I’ve never forgotten her.