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Birthdate: January 10, 1949
Birth location: The Bronx, New York, USA
Birth name: Linda Susan Boreman
Date of death: April 22, 2002
Linda Susan Boreman, better known by her stage name Linda Lovelace (January 10, 1949 - April 22, 2002), was a pornographic actress in the 1972 film Deep Throat, who went on to leave the pornography industry and became a spokeswoman for the anti-pornography movement.
Deep Throat was notable for beginning a brief fad of porn chic; it was also the inspiration for Bob Woodward's name of his secret Watergate source, W. Mark Felt. Boreman later stated that she regretted her pornographic career and had been violently coerced into pornography by her then-husband, Chuck Traynor; she also repudiated her stage name and reverted to using her real name in public. The popularity of the film, however, made her a cultural icon against her will, appearing in archive footage in many other films.
Although she later became an advocate against pornography, Boreman is still famous for her depictions of deep throat fellatio. While she continued to use the Lovelace name for commercial purposes, the first sentence of Boreman's book, Ordeal, and a statement she repeated for the rest of her life, was "My name is not Linda Lovelace."
Childhood and teenage years
Boreman attended Catholic schools, including St. John the Baptist in Yonkers, New York, and Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale, New York. Her father was a policeman. From an early age she was subject to strict discipline from her mother, a devout Roman Catholic who punished her for any misbehavior. When Boreman was 16, the family moved to Florida. In school, she was nicknamed "Miss Holy Holy" because she kept her dates at a safe distance. However, in her autobiography "Ordeal" (1980) and in the television show E! True Hollywood Story (2000), she revealed that she had given birth to an out-of-wedlock son when she was 20 years old in 1969, and that her mother put him up for adoption. Boreman mistakenly thought that the child was being put in foster care until she was ready to care for him and was heartbroken when she found out that she would never see him again. She moved to New York to start a new life and had a devastating car accident that required blood transfusion. She moved back to Florida to recover.
While in Florida, recovering at her parents' place, Boreman met Chuck Traynor, and became involved with him in 1969. The couple moved back to New York that same year, where Traynor became by turns her manager, pimp, and husband. (Boreman later wrote that Traynor had decided to get married so that spousal privilege would prevent her from being compelled to testify against him in court.)
Before achieving fame, Boreman starred in a number of hardcore "stag" short features, including a bestiality film in 1969 called Dogarama. She later denied doing this, only to have several of the 8-mm "loops" become available to prove otherwise.
In 1972, Boreman appeared in Deep Throat, perhaps the most financially successful pornographic movie in history. Boreman maintained that she received no money for appearing in Deep Throat, and that the $1,250 for her appearance was taken by Traynor. In Deep Throat all of her pubic hair was shaved off and she engaged in anal sex - neither act was considered common until at least fifteen years later.
After the success of Deep Throat she starred in several softcore movies, which flopped (she maintained in her book Ordeal that Deep Throat was her only porno, and any other pornos in which she "appeared" were footage from that). She also appeared in Playboy, Bachelor, and Esquire between 1973 and 1974. Boreman attempted to break into stage and "legitimate" movies but found it difficult to overcome the stigma of her pornographic career.
In January 1974, Boreman was arrested for possession of cocaine and amphetamines. Also that year, Boreman published two pro-pornography biographies. In her later suit to divorce Traynor, she claimed that Traynor had forced her into pornography at gunpoint and that in Deep Throat itself, bruises from his beatings can be seen on her legs. Traynor would go on to marry and guide the career of Marilyn Chambers, another major porn star. Boreman claimed in her 1980 autobiography Ordeal that the couple's relationship was plagued by violence, rape, forced prostitution and private pornography. Many of the assertions made in the book, however, particularly claims of rape and threats of violence at gunpoint, are contested by other parties who would have been involved or would have witnessed the alleged acts.
In 1974, Boreman married Larry Marchiano and they had two children, Dominic in 1977 and Lindsey in 1980.
With the publication of Ordeal in 1980, Boreman joined the feminist anti-pornography movement; at the press conference announcing Ordeal and making her charges against Traynor public, she was joined by supporters Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Gloria Steinem, and members of Women Against Pornography. She spoke out against pornography, drawing from what she stated were her own experiences of coercion and abuse, for feminist groups, at colleges, and before government hearings on pornography, provoking an intense controversy over both her charges and her objections to the pornography industry as a whole. Pornographer and writer Hart Williams coined the term “Linda Syndrome” to refer to women who leave pornography and repudiate their past career by condemning the industry.
In 1986, Boreman published Out of Bondage, another memoir focusing on her life after 1974. She testified before the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in New York City, stating that “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, Boreman gave lectures on college campuses and elsewhere, decrying what she described as callous and exploitative practices of the pornography industry.
Later career and death
In 1987, she contracted hepatitis from the blood transfusion that she received from the car accident she had in 1970, for which she required a liver transplant. In 1996, Boreman divorced Larry Marchiano. In 2000, she was featured on the E! Entertainment Network's E! True Hollywood Story.
In 2001, Boreman did a pictorial, as Linda Lovelace, for the magazine Leg Show. She contended that she did not object to this because "there's nothing wrong with looking sexy as long as it's done with taste." Subsequently, Hustler named her the "Asshole of the Month" for March 2001.
On April 3, 2002, Boreman lost control of her car, which rolled twice. She suffered massive trauma and internal injuries. On April 22, 2002 she was taken off life support and died in Denver, Colorado, aged 53. Her ex-husband, Larry Marchiano, and their two adult children Dominic and Lindsay were at the hospital when she died.
Despite the fact Deep Throat made an estimated US$600 million worldwide (a number that is highly disputed, see Deep Throat (film)), Boreman received no royalties or residuals and died in poverty.