Marlene Willoughby:
The Scrapbook of an Actress

Marlene Willoughby:  <br />The Scrapbook of an Actress

We had a great response to our recent interview podcast with Marlene Willoughby, with many of you writing in to request more images from her career.

We’re happy to oblige – and are pleased to present extracts from Marlene’s own scrapbooks, chronicling her life as a model in the 1960s, through to her appearance in off-Broadway theater productions, and then as one of the most popular New York adult film actresses in the 1970s and 80s.

Thanks to all those who contacted us.

 

From our recent podcast interview with Marlene:

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. She worked with Chuck Vincent, Radley Metzger, Roberta Findlay, Carter Stevens and Joe Sarno – to name a few.

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.

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Marlene Willoughby’s early modelling portfolio:

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Theater:

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyProgram for ‘Che!’ (1969). ‘Che!’ was a play written by Lennox Raphael which presented Che Guevara as a hero who was the object of sexually-motivated envy by his enemies, including the President of the United States. The play featured scenes of nudity and explicit sex, and, soon after it opened in New York City in 1969, was closed by the Public Morals Police Squad of New York City, with Raphael being arrested along with the actors and director. It reopened after a judge ruled that the play was protected by the free speech provisions of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In February 1970 the Manhattan Criminal Court found Raphael, along with the cast, producer and set designer, “guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of participating in an obscene performance which predominantly appealed and pandered to prurient interest and went beyond the customary limits of candor in presenting profanity, filth, defecation, masochism, sadism, masturbation, nudity, copulation, sodomy and other devaite sexual intercourse”.

 

Marlene WilloughbyA still from ‘Che!’

 

Marlene WilloughbyA still from ‘Che!’

 

Marlene WilloughbyA selection of Marlene‘s clippings from ‘Che!’ (…’tests the limits of sex on stage!’…)

 

Marlene WilloughbyA selection of Marlene‘s clippings from ‘Dracula Sabbat’ (which also featured Rhea Pearlman)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Adult Films:

Marlene WilloughbyPublicity still for Chuck Vincent‘s ‘While The Cat’s Away‘ (1972)

 

Marlene Willoughby, Vanessa Del RioVanessa Del Rio and Marlene

 

Marlene Willoughby, Vanessa Del RioVanessa Del Rio and Marlene

 

Marlene Willoughby, The Trouble With Young StuffJoe Sarno‘s ‘The Trouble with Young Stuff‘ (1977) (…’Tennessee Williams gone hard-core!’…)

 

Marlene Willoughby, New York City WomanRoberta Findlay‘s ‘New York City Woman‘ (1977)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyCourt notice issued following Marlene’s arrest in 1978

 

Photo Layouts:

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby, Marc StevensMarc Stevens, Marlene

 

Personal Appearances:

Marlene WilloughbyThe Night Bird‘ (1977)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyPremiere for ‘Sunny‘ (1979)

 

Marlene WilloughbyPremiere for ‘Intimate Desires‘ (1979)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Dancing:

Marlene WilloughbyCasino Royalle dressing room, Pittsburgh – September 1980

 

Marlene WilloughbyCasino Royalle dressing room, Pittsburgh – September 1980

 

Marlene WilloughbyOak Theater, Chicago – December 1981

 Marlene WilloughbyOak Theater, Chicago – December 1981

 

Clippings:

Marlene WilloughbyGlitter‘ (1983)

 

Marlene WilloughbyFoxtrot‘ (1982)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyOutlaw Ladies‘ (1981)

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Premieres, Parties, Events:

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene WilloughbyPorn star parade down Wall St – May 1981, with Bobby Astyr, Samantha Fox, Marlene, Vanessa Del Rio

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Marlene Willoughby1985 POP Awards, with Lesllie Bovee, Marlene, Samantha Fox

 

Marlene Willoughby1985 POP Awards, with Baby Doe, Marlene, Timothy Green Beckley, Taija Rae

 

Marlene Willoughby, SekaMarlene, Seka

 

Marlene WilloughbyMarlene and her sister Jaqueline Carol

 

Marlene Willoughby

 

Artwork:

Marlene WilloughbyMarlene painting

 

Marlene WilloughbyMarlene’s artwork – ”Nirvana’

 

Marlene WilloughbyMarlene’s artwork – ‘Dominatrix’

 

Marlene WilloughbyScuplture by Ralph Allen Massey – featuring Marlene

 

Marlene WilloughbyScuplture by Ralph Allen Massey – featuring Marlene

 

The Death of 42nd Street:

Marlene Willoughby

 

12 Comments

  1. Annette · November 16, 2014 Reply

    My dreams have been answered… more Marlene! What a life, what pictures.

  2. GH · November 16, 2014 Reply

    Another classic post from the home of NYC XXX.

    If you can do a similar job with Tina Russell, I’ll be even more impressed…

  3. Whaley · November 16, 2014 Reply

    Wow – that picture of Taija Rae is something… And who was Baby Doll?

    Outstanding archive work.

  4. Cathy Gigante-Brown · November 16, 2014 Reply

    What a treasure-trove of adult film history. I never realized how lovely Marlene was until now.

  5. Geeto Mongol · November 16, 2014 Reply

    Wonderful! Great job as always.

  6. Nick Bolla · November 17, 2014 Reply

    The era, the images, the charm – all perfectly encapsulated within this perfect collection of photos. High water mark indeed for intelligent research.

  7. JG · December 19, 2014 Reply

    Thank you, Marlene, for sharing that with us! It is much appreciated.

  8. Ed · February 28, 2015 Reply

    Great picture of Taija! Can someone PLEASE find her, and get a pictorial and an interview?? PLEASE!!!!!!!

  9. JJ · September 30, 2015 Reply

    Love this! I’m glad that she kept clippings and pictures from her career! It seems like she took pride in it, which is nice.

  10. Marco · April 28, 2016 Reply

    Mrs. Willoughby is one of the most underappreciated stars of the era.

    Thought she was stunning – Tall, slender, large alluring eyes, great skin, and high cheekbones. Just very striking. Bet she still is today.

    From the numbering of the photos, I’m assuming there are a lot more of them. Any chance of a second helping of photos from her archives?

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