By Michelle Clifford
Linda Boreman was a postwar baby. She grew up in the depressed, lower middle class existence of American repression. Her toddler life was spent in the Bronx and on the wrong side of the tracks in suburban Westchester. Linda never talked too much about her parents except to mention that fact that her father was a cop. Linda’s family largely ignored her.
Linda moved to Florida at an early age. Florida, in the late 60’s-early70’s was a peon to undeveloped swampland, endless roads, twenty mile drives to a grocery store. The heat and humidity is unbearable. All there is to do for a girl to do is sit on the lounge chair, and God help you if weren’t cute. An environment and era that bred females to be cocktail waitresses and nurses. Or maybe be a housewife.
Linda’s parents quickly soured and moved back to Westchester County, but Linda stayed. She found work as a topless dancer. That gave her the window of opportunity. At this time there were no such things as gentlemen’s bars. They were low down strip bars in bad parts of town, sporting clientele the likes of mechanics. Little money for the amount of abuse you’re going to put up with. Red lights in a dark room with a tiny stage, cheap drinks, the owner nothing more than a rug joint dupe. The police get their graft. Otherwise the place would have been closed down in a heartbeat. Florida regulates its pornography; it’s very obvious who it lets operate, mundanely so.
Linda met Chuck Traynor at work. She admired his brutish charms. He was a doer, not a bullshit talker. Chuck ran the club. He flew cropdusters. He was a proud sadist, an ex-Marine who studied Oriental fellatial trickery while in the service. He was a risk taker. He knew how to size up a sexual situation and squeeze it for all it was worth financially. Chuck positioned Linda on the local vice scene. Quickly, she appeared in Bunny Yeager photos, where she’s cute but nothing special with long straight dark hair, Florida sunburn, looking healthy, young and groovin’. Her game is about to begin. You only live once.
Chuck had Linda auditioning and available for pornographers, like Joe Sarno. A pornographer on the make. Sarno was buddies with Chuck in the Marines during World War II. Today, Sarno gleefully recounts his early days with Chuck and Linda to impress male porn groupies who like to sniff sheets. “They’d come over and party,” he’d boast out of his twisted mouth, damaged from a war injury. “Linda would put on all these demonstrations for me,”
Florida law had an ordinance that there was to be no pubic hair shown at dance clubs. But if Chuck could have a bottomless club, he’d make more money. Linda’s pubes were shaved. It was a loophole that didn’t last. Fleeing obscenity charges, they headed to Jersey City, New Jersey. Chuck became more hostile on the ride to Jersey. He was gambling to make a name for himself through the sexual skills he’d taught his prime bitch. Psychological terrorization, things Linda would have time to meditate on as she rode along. There was a threat of a donkey show, but nothing came of that. Mostly these scenes consisted of flashing gas station attendants, getting free goods from stores in exchange for some head, or sometimes driving along and apropos to nothing, having Chuck stuff Red Hots candies up her pussy. He turned her out in Holiday Inns to businessmen, easy marks with money to spend on cheap sex.
At any point she could have called her father the cop. She didn’t. She chose up and she chose Chuck. In symbiotic relationships like this, it is all about how much you will do for the other person: murder, prostitution, dealing, how well you can hold your nerves is paramount. The least drugs used are a lower expenditure and to keep the earner from getting too sloppy to work. Chuck was accused later of brainwashing. Actually, he’d got her into hypnosis to naturally cool her out and dictate to her. Her trained her like a slave. She didn’t complain. Leather faggots train like this every day; to the leather set this isn’t a criminal act. To echo a thought many Manson followers noted, Chuck wasn’t a cunt constantly. There were fun times too. Otherwise there would be no functioning reward system and Linda’s training wouldn’t take. But, one rule. No getting friendly. No talk, no chitchat, just take the money and go, assuring Linda’s isolation by not letting her fraternize. Hell, then someone else more savvy than him could snap her up.
Chuck settled Linda in bombed out Jersey City. Jersey City was a known quantity for it’s ghastly greedy mob owned officials as well as its long history of quietly manufacturing high frequency porn. Jersey City itself was just minutes from Manhattan and had a bunch of porno nests like apartments rented exclusively to shoot hardcore loops, and, most infamously, the anonymous printer’s building that housed Irving Klaw, svengali to Bettie Page, and his Nutrix booklets of severe fetish bondage. This was around the Journal Square area, a location not known for its tight knit community feeling. It’s a grim city. Once he got Linda settled in Jersey, they’d drive into Manhattan to break into the loop circuit there. .
Chuck and Linda met Bob Wolfe, at the time New York’s major director of loops. Actor Jamie Gillis, who was there starting out at this same time describes Wolfe as “Ponytail, heavy, overalls. But not a hippy. He was easy to work with.” While Bob’s bread and butter was straight fuck filming, Bob’s willingness to explore the taboo side of the sexual psyche made him a profitable sideline. He’d film midgets in orgies, girls doing stretched labia lip tricks, male bisexuality, Hard S/M heterosexual fisting and bestiality. Bob shot a huge amount of films with regular sex involving Linda, but he also used her in the notorious loops that would haunt her with the cryptic titles D-1 and D-2, loops of Linda being fucked by a German Shephard. This film was a huge success on the Times Square 8mm scene in Manhattan, so more were ordered up quickly: Piss Orgy, The Foot.
Linda’s bizarre loop work attracted the notice of Gerry Damiano, always on the lookout for new talent. Chuck brought Linda to Damiano and had her give a deep throat demonstration at a swing party. In an epiphany, Damiano had a vision of the plot Deep Throat on his way home to Queens over the 59th Street Bridge. He hired sometime crew member and stunt cock Herbert Streicher, Damiano, for this film renaming Harry his creation Harry Reems.
Gerry transported the crew to Ft Lauderdale, where he made the most pimpy and velour American film ever. In a bout of jealousy, Chuck beat Linda unmercifully in the hotel room during the making of the film. He kicked and beat her while the cast was partying in the next room. The party came to a halt, but nobody came to break it up. Chuck was psychotic and violent. Nobody was in a position there to call the police. They were all in the midst of committing a crime. Linda needed extra make up the next day to cover the bruises. But it didn’t work; it’s visible in the film. Damiano had Traynor steered away from the set, in case of any further problems, to the relief of Harry, who sweet guy he is, tried his best to cheer Linda up. Harry was a hardcore junkie. He knew Linda was stuck in a bad scene. He felt terrible she was hit for being merely genial to him on set. That infuriated Chuck. Seeing Linda smile and laugh with Harry. To let her enjoy anything not dictated by him. Not set up to humiliate her. It was a shitty experience for all with Chuck there. Ruining an otherwise good natured, easy 3 day shoot and turning it into an abuse issue not invited by the cast or crew.
When Deep Throat opened in theaters, it was an immediate smash sensation. It’s phenomenon created the phrase “porno chic.” There was mainstream audience interest mixed with critical and audience popularity on the adult circuit. Everyone wanted to say they were hip enough to have seen it. Blowing up pop culturally to the level where the term Deep Throat was used in the Watergate proceedings as an aka for a participant informant against then President Nixon.. The film Deep Throat has earned millions worldwide. Chuck was paid about $1,200 for his woman’s performance.
Suddenly Linda becomes sought out for response to her work. Interviews with her run in everything from SCREW to MS to PLAYBOY. Hugh Hefner is a complete sexual collector. When Hefner learned Linda existed, he wanted to collect her. Chuck delivered her to him. Now Hefner could have more than the 8mm loop. Now he’d make his own video loop involving her. He planned an evening to see the dog act, but the dog didn’t perform. Hefner lives in a fortress of his own design. It was an achievement for Chuck and his thoroughbred they had made it to the top of the porno pyramid. They’re both unattractive white trash. They had the blessing of mainstream naughtiness. It pulled them from the gutter to the Mansion, but strictly as a party favor.
Sammy Davis liked to party hearty with Chuck and Linda after his Vegas concerts. Sammy was good to Linda, someone allowed within his inner circle. Linda put on some Vegas plays that go nowhere. People weren’t too interested in her with her clothe on. She made two R rated drive in films. Linda Lovelace For President, and Joe Sarno’s Deep Throat 2. The audience in both cases felt cheated. Both films are incoherent messes. She became used up, unmarketable and a walking National joke. Linda found a nervy fag to help her escape from the overbearing Chuck. Stuffing herself with coke and nerve, she ran off, hiding out from Chuck who wanted his meal ticket back. NOW.
Before, during and after the successes and subsequent troubles with Chuck she sold half a dozen dirty paperback bestsellers. One had the dedication ‘To Chuck Traynor, the Creator”. She’d write books indicting Chuck yet retelling salacious stories of her debasement. Other times she’d say Chuck wrote the books. The stories she’d tell were always conflicting
By the mid-1970s, the starring Deep Throat performers were sucked into a vortex of local obscenity trials given national attention. Harry Reems and Linda Lovelace merely took their clothes off and they were treated worse than the Manson gang. If they were truly judged by “jury of their peers” they’d be found innocent with prejudice against the prosecution. On each end police and Mob threatened Linda, who had literally nowhere to turn. She divorced Chuck – incredibly, the court allowed the pimp to keep all the money. The only reason Chuck married her was there was no such thing as rape between man and wife.
Linda next married a construction worker who wound up on Lithium. He could not stand hearing about her neurosis and post traumatic outbursts any more. People at his job would find out and there was a string of lost jobs, stalkers, badmouthing neighbors out to persecute. Linda ended up on welfare with two newborns. She took the only hand offered to her as she was drowning in the form of female sadism: the feminists. The hardcover books she did with them like Ordeal are nothing more than a I Was a White Slave piece of exploitation. The feminists molded Linda like a gumby doll into their most worthy of victimization. The ceaselessly pounded the poor pitiful bitch angle and how these vicious men had gotten over on her.
By making her renounce everything about her past, they only inspired an irate Al Goldstein to print the ugliest loop photos. He made available the dog loops of Linda and made sure all media outlets were provided with picture proof that Linda was a pig who enjoyed bestiality. Proof that nobody had forced her into anything. Proof she was a masochist, and if a gun was used as a threat, it only turned crazy Linda on and made her hotter. The worse the better. Linda was a severe bottom. She could take it all. She could out fuck anyone on the planet. Goldstein was insulted she would call the sex industry sick, if so she was the sickest of all. The feminists didn’t empower her; they made her suicidal.
Linda eventually saw the damage the feminists did to her, only making her more of a public target, using her as a raison d’etre for right wing censorship laws during the Reagan years. A thankless job that got her nothing but further public debasement.
If America in general and feminists bouncing her around like a puppet left her alone, she would have blended in enough. It wouldn’t have followed her so relentlessly. But Linda couldn’t leave it alone. She was mad. What the public at large did was mean and Scalett Letterish to her. She felt owed something like reparations due a slave. The feminists played her to that disempowered end. Broken in body with a double masectomy and numerous internal damage from a life dipped in prostitution she wound up on dialysis machines and a diabetic. Her children were her life force.
With the passage of time, Linda divorced though remained friendly with her second husband, moved to Utah, managed to find a job as a clerical at a law firm, the best she could do. She reveled in her children and grandchildren, whom she loved. Then the film Boogie Nights reared its ugly head reducing people to puppets in a comic strip with little relation to reality. During the passage of years, Linda had mellowed. There was talk of Ron (Opie) Howard bringing her book of sufferage Ordeal to the big screen. Why not? It’s like any other exploitation story packed with sex. She was brought back out and interviewed to drum up interest in the film project. At this time, anyone who’d spent any considerable time in porn all thought they deserved to tell their own unique story. Marilyn Chambers, Ron Jeremy -they all had books or documentaries in the works Even the dead John Holmes. Linda thought she could make some money off the name she had made so famous. She was ill and needed the money. She posed nude again as a mature woman. She was practically tarred and feathered just for showing up after all those long ago anti porn statements she made.
Then she died in a car crash.
Grateful for not calling her mother a full out whore – which shows you what she’s used to – Linda’s daughter Lindsay wrote a polite note to Howard Stern mentioning her mother died penniless.
LL was a broken cultural icon. In the beginning she was a slave from Fla via NY lookin’ for a strong Daddy and got her ass busted for it
Linda Lovelace changed film and film changed Linda Boreman.
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE MAIN PAGE