Marlene Willoughby: New York’s Archetypal Porn Star
Podcast 42

Marlene Willoughby: New York’s Archetypal Porn Star <br />Podcast 42
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In many respects, Marlene Willoughby was the archetypal 1970s New York adult film actress – which was strange as she is a Polish / Italian Catholic from Detroit.

She arrived in New York as a teenager in 1961 with her mother and older sister – and immediately set about becoming an actress. Her sister led the way singing on Broadway with Buddy Hackett, and Marlene followed with parts in controversial off-off Broadway plays. It was a time when theaters were just starting to experiment with on-stage nudity, and Marlene signed up to act in several of these ground-breaking pieces.

Marlene modeled too – she was tall, dark, and waif-like, and for a time her Audrey Hepburn looks were used across fashion magazines.

But experimental theater and photo shoots didn’t pay extravagantly, and in 1975 Marlene was tempted into the burgeoning world of New York adult films. She never did anything in half measures, and for the next ten years Marlene threw herself into the world of porn – making films, writing magazine columns, posing for photo layouts, organizing film release parties, and speaking out about the industry whenever she got the chance.

And all the time she never gave up on her dream of a mainstream career. She once gave me a videotape of some of her television roles; I watched the compilation of scenes in amazement – seemingly from every New York TV series made in the 1970s and 80s – which featured Marlene walking into shots, delivering one liners, being part of crowd scenes or just standing there in the background. It was delicious to see, like seeing a porn Zelig turning up at every corner.

And then (and how often do we say this?), Marlene retired and disappeared. She left New York and her dreams of being an actress behind, and headed into the wilderness of Alaska.

On this episode of The Rialto Report, Marlene speaks publicly for the first time in decades about her acting, modeling, and adult film career.

Visit Marlene’s fan page on Facebook and YouTube site.

This episode running time is 67 minutes.

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Marlene Willoughby in her first screen appearance, in the Sylvester Stallone thriller ‘No Place To Hide‘ (1970):

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyMarlene, with her sister

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

17 Comments

  1. Ron · October 12, 2014 Reply

    This is one I’ve been waiting for – for many, many years. And if course it is the Rialto that delivers the motherlode.

    I’m listening to the interview now – and it is joyful to hear Marlene’s voice after all this time. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

  2. Stewpot · October 12, 2014 Reply

    Long time listener, first time writer as the saying goes. Marlene was a real star back in the day – instantly recognizable for her rail thin looks and jet black hair, she was unforgettable. I met her at Show World once and she was a genuine comedienne, warm, gracious and lovely. Hearing her laugh, and cry, is a moving experience.

    10/10. Two thumbs up. A+.

  3. Jim Tomey · October 12, 2014 Reply

    Seriously…!? Another great piece?!

    Don’t know how you guys keep up the volume and high standard, but this is another really great show.

  4. mystical heavymetal hippie · October 12, 2014 Reply

    Nice interview with a loving free spirit ! Bless that souls heart ! Peace and love from the mystical heavy metal hippie

  5. Jim Stevens · October 12, 2014 Reply

    Another great interview. Did she give any hints of how she spends her time today…that’s the one thing I felt was missing. No great specifics necessary, but past interviewees have spoken about their lives, families, other careers…was hoping to hear a little about the Marlene of 2014. Unless privacy, of course, takes precedence.

    But she had me at “Fargo.” Made me smile that she loves that movie as much as I do.

    And like so many other New York stars you’ve covered, she used the word “family” to describe her co-workers in the industry. Among the many things Rialto Report has done to demystify the golden age adult film world, this is among the most revealing and, to some, surprising. Veronica Hart, Kelly Nichols, Eddie Heath, Larry Revene and Rick Marx all used that word to describe their relationship with Chuck Vincent at the “Roommates” screening in June and it’s fascinating to see that word come up again and again during these interviews.

  6. Oranje Mike · October 12, 2014 Reply

    Great podcast. Still hitting them out of the park. What’s the transition music after the Water Power talk, around the 29 minute mark?

  7. CTC · October 13, 2014 Reply

    After hearing her name mentioned in seemingly everyone’s reflections on the “golden era” it is wonderful to finally hear from the woman herself. And, given the intelligent, funny, and grounded person that came across in this interview, there is little wonder as to why she has remained such a prominent memory in the era’s collective narrative.

  8. roy karch · October 13, 2014 Reply

    Wow!!! Whatta gal; refreshingly smart, funny and with a great attitdge and a joyous giggle. One of my early and all time favorites. Wish I had met her. I’d like to watch my ‘Insertz’ with her; that’s an invitation, Marlene.
    Find me through Ashley .
    Perfect piece here, good Sir.

  9. Frank F · October 14, 2014 Reply

    “Marlene, Marlene”…. Excellent effort by Team Rialto! To my eyes, the current crop of Adult film performers are mass produced models; very little to distinguish from each other. Marlene, Sharon, Gloria, Shanna, Vanessa, Jamie, Jerry, the Hedgehog et. all – all have something unique, in appearance, voice, acting persona. Marlene was such a unique performer, and I appreciate the efforts of the Rialto Report and Marlene in creating such an informative and entertaining interview.

    Again, the musical choices were great, all the way through.

  10. k marshall · October 14, 2014 Reply

    RR keeps topping itself.Marlenecast just mesmerizing.
    This spoils us all,you do understand? Powerful,intimate,
    involving,emotional without being mawkish .Pretensions
    out the window.And,the added filip of veritas .Rare
    under journalistic circumstances,nearly impossible
    combination to experience anywhere else.Perhaps having
    said the equivalent many times before,I’m in serious
    danger of repeating myself,but there’s no way around it:
    No one does it better.Salud!

  11. Cathy Gigante-Brown · October 15, 2014 Reply

    What a lovely, lovely interview. It’s so refreshing to hear someone who’s left the business and is so sex-positive. I enjoyed every minute of it. Marlene also has such a lovely, lyrical voice, I could have listened even longer.

  12. Jeff · October 16, 2014 Reply

    GREAT INTERVIEW! Marlene just gets better with age, though eternally young and legendary, not to mention a beautiful woman inside and out!

  13. Alan G · October 16, 2014 Reply

    Another wonderful interview. The expressed humor and pride about her work was music to my ears. You continue to raise the bar with each interview!!!

  14. Al B Sure · October 17, 2014 Reply

    Wonderful! Thanks!

  15. Leonard Glow · October 25, 2014 Reply

    A great interview with one of the greatest assets of the industry, a very, very beautiful, interesting, creative, mysterious yet funny woman. I really enjoyed listening to it, it’s so great to know that Marlene is still around and seemingly in good spirits.
    To me, Marlene looks more Polish to me than Italian despite referring to herself as looking Italian in the interview, for me, Marlene resembles the Polish – French adult film actress/successful musician/singer/entertainer Catherine Ringer whom is also mysterious and very, very beautiful.
    I really love the first black and white photo of Marlene in the cowgirl outfit, clearly in the prime of her beauty, it’s hard to think that anything could be more beautiful than that and it really doesn’t need to be.
    Thank you Marlene and the Rialto Report

  16. Alan Fort · October 29, 2014 Reply

    I agree with Ron above. This is the one I had been hoping for – and who delivers it!? The Rialto Report of course.

    I can’t help feeling that Marlene is one of the few actresses who could still be working in legit films today as a quirky character actress. She has a charm, intelligence and wit that is rare.

    (And a note to DVD companies – THIS is how you do it… I’m tired of the poorly put together ‘extras’ by breathless fans who reduce these films to cheap pornography and me feel stupid for even enjoying them. This is the first time I’ve actually felt normal liking adult films.)

  17. Wes · May 21, 2015 Reply

    Ashley,
    You mentioned watching a compilation of Marlene in mainstream Hollywood roles. Would she allow you to post that for her fans to see? It would be a real treat!
    Thanks,
    Wes

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