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Tales from the Casting Couch: Hollywood Players Who Got Their Start In The Adult Industry

Everyone has to get their start somewhere.

Most move to Hollywood with big dreams and few connections, a perfect roadmap for losing your way in Tinseltown.  Given Hollywood also happens to be one of the major adult film capitals of the world, the lure of easy money and quick fame was a bit too much for most folks to deny.

While most tend to dwindle and fade in the industry, few were able to break away and turn their experiences into a legitimate career, with accolades and A-list status to boot.

Here are a few of that broke on through despite a little light dabbling in adult industry.

Wes Craven

The man responsible for the creation of such awesome nightmare fuel as Freddie Krueger, Ghostface, The People Under the Stairs and countless others got his start as a professor at prestigious schools such as Westminster College and Clarkson College.

But Craven had a dream, and soon he abandoned his teaching post for his first directing gig in the film industry: a sex-themed mockumentary titled Together, released in 1971. The filmmaker would then go on to direct many hardcore X-rated films under assorted pseudonyms.

In 1972, Craven nabbed his first Hollywood break with the film Last House on the Left. But after this success, Craven was still considered a fledgling director and Hollywood movies were hard to come by. During the five-year gap between Last House and his next H’wood pic, 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes, Craven continued to direct the occasional dirty movie.

Marilyn Monroe

Hollywood’s most legendary blonde bombshell came from humble beginnings, and like many newbie actresses in search of their big break, made a few questionable decisions during her pre-fame days.

While working on a film titled Love Happy in 1949, the former Norma Jean Mortenson was strapped for cash. During that time, she was being pestered by a photographer named Tom Kelley, who wanted to capture the beauty in all her natural glory.

With serious money problems on the horizon and no immediate cash flow coming her way any time soon, the 23-year-old agreed to a photo shoot, but insisted that Kelley’s wife be present during the session to ensure no hanky-panky.

Dubbed the Red Velvet Session because of the lush background in the sets of photos, the images were used in calendar photos, decks of dirty playing cards and assorted novelty items before one of the images graced the pages of Playboy Magazine in 1953.

Monroe only received $50 for her efforts.

Sylvester Stallone

In 1970, before Rocky and Rambo would skyrocket him to extraordinary heights in Hollywood, Stallone was just a 24-year-old kid looking for a way to pay the rent.

In his desperation, Stallone said yes to starring in a low-budget barely-dirty movie titled Party at Kitty and Stud’s. For two days work, Stallone received $200.

The movie itself is nothing racy or special. In fact, for a porno, it’s downright boring. A couple decide to throw a sex party with their friends…and it’s probably the most dull sex ever put to celluloid. At one point, a group of people are nekkid (including Stallone) as they hold hands and sway to the music. The film comes off as more college dorm hijinx than Deep Throat.

However, six years later Stallone is one of the biggest names on the planet, and Party at Kitty and Stud’s is given a new lease on life. Retitled The Italian Stallion and re-edited with hardcore sex scenes not originally part of the film (or filmed by any actor in the picture), the film gained notoriety and a legend was born.

Stallone as acknowledged that making the movie was a mistake, but it was a decision that was necessary at the time.

“It was either do that movie or rob someone because I was at the end – at the very end – of my rope,” he told Playboy. “Instead of doing something desperate, I worked two days for $200 and got myself out of the bus station.”

David Duchovny

Best known for locating the truth with his FBI gal pal Scully, Duchovny was a Hollywood bit-part player who managed to score a few supporting roles in movies like Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter Is Dead (with an epic ponytail), religious thriller The Rapture and Beethoven. Probably his best part during this period was when he scored the plumb role of Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson, the transvestite DEA agent in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

In 1992, Duchovny landed a role in Showtime’s The Red Shoe Diaries, a soft-core after-hour one-hour drama meant for people who couldn’t completely commit to the idea of renting porn.



In the two-hour made-for-TV movie, Duchovny played Jake Winters, a man who loses the love of his life. Upon discovering her diary, he discovers she was in a torrid affair with a construction work. Cue graphic sex scenes and nudity.

Duchovny’s participation in the movie would eventually spin off into a four season gig as the host of show. Continuing his role as Jake, Duchovny would bookend the erotic tale, but not be included in the actual story plot.

In 1993, Duchovny starred in a brand new Fox show called The X-Files. When the hit sci-fier took offer, it elevated interest in The Red Shoe Diaries, which still ran while The X-Files was in full swing.

Jackie Chan

In 2006, Jackie Chan was on top of the world. His popularity in films like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon made him an internationally recognized film star that broke through to American audiences, not an easy feat for a Hong Kong actor.

Chan had been acting since the ‘60s and prior to success in America, starred in over 100 films. But his popularity in the States brought him a new type of worldwide success few Asian actors had achieved.

And then news broke that he starred in a pornography film.

Like so many struggling actors, Chan needed money. In 1975, the Police Story star was outed for his participation in the movie All In The Family, an adult sex farce in which Chan was the lead.

The mediocre film is a standout for two reasons:

    •    Other than Shinjuki Incident, it is the only other film to contain a Jackie Chan love scene.
    •    Chan does fight a single person in the film.

“”I had to do anything I could to make a living 31 years ago, but I don’t think it’s a big deal, even Marlon Brando used to be exposed in his movies,” said Chan in an interview with Information Times.

“The porn movie at that time was more conservative than the current films.”

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