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On this episode of The Rialto Report, we’re joined by Uschi Digard – legendary star of 1970s sexploitation films and magazine spreads, and frequent collaborator of Russ Meyer.
This episode running time is 67 minutes.
Uschi Digard always seemed to be larger than life.
She was an indestructible, formidable pin up beauty who was emblematic of the sexual revolution in California. From the late 1960s through to the early 1980s, she was in hundreds of magazine spreads, had many issues dedicated to her, and appeared in countless softcore films.
Her Amazonian features and natural good looks meant that she was always in demand as she proved popular with fans.
Or in the words of director Russ Meyer, her close friend and frequent collaborator, she was a buxom cantilevered barracuda who was a Trojan at work.
Russ was a man’s man, a World War 2 veteran, and a tough task master, and in Uschi he met his match and found the perfect foil. The combination of her sex appeal with her unsentimental, tireless work ethic resulted in a close friendship that lasted decades.
But for someone with such a larger than life presence, Uschi was also elusive and deeply private. Her face and body may have been all over the magazines but her own voice was notably absent. Throughout her long career as a nude model and actress she revealed everything, but revealed nothing.
She rarely gave interviews, and the scant biographical information that was published was often fabricated. It was said that she was an interpreter at the United Nations, she came from Sweden, she had a perfume line that was big in Asia, and if her published birth date is to be believed then she recently celebrated her 65th birthday.
All this is false.
And as it turns out, the wealth of untrue information bothers Uschi herself as well. So, in order to set the record straight, she recently wrote a biography called ‘I Used To Be Uschi’ just to finally set the record straight.
The trouble is how do you correct so many misconceptions without drawing attention to yourself? How do you go public but stay private?
On this episode of The Rialto Report, we’re very happy that Uschi Digard has agreed to talk about her life. For someone who never wanted the attention of being a star, we’re truly grateful to her.
The Rialto Report is indebted to photographer, Paul Johnson, for the first three pictures below. For more excellent photos by Paul and information about his life, visit Paul’s website at Paul’s Fantasy.
Yet again The Rialto Report continues to astonish and impress. I’ve been waiting for an interview with Uschi for years.
At last there’s a site that’s taking this film history seriously – instead of thinking that reviews of films, or worse still some freshman academic theory (“porno auteurs”?! – gimme a break…), amounts to actual value.
Agreed Franklin…astonishing and impressive! It’s quickly become one of my favorite sites. Unfortunately, though, when it comes to porn, there’s a definite paucity of sites that meaningfully review films. (I once submitted a review of Misty Beethoven to a massive DVD retail site hires its own reviewers, and they didn’t even respond to me. When I started reading the reviews there, I knew why. The so-called “reviews” were essentially laundry lists of the sex scenes with valuations strictly of the sex (i.e. “Scene 2: Sally Smith reverse cowgirl with John Doe. Lukewarm scene with too few closeups of penetration.”). On your other point, I haven’t come across too many sites that take the artistry of their makers very seriously, or possess much that’s meanigful or insightful. Auteur theory can, I think, make for a valuable framework to seriously study important artists, and to some degree I feel the notion underpins some of the amazing content here at the Report.
Can’t wait for the next podcast, and whatver else the Report has in store for us!
We agree – and there are some excellent sites with good quality writing out there.
We recommend Gore Gore Girl’s site for example for some intelligent and thoughtful film writing.
Uschi’s mammoth amount of warmth and kindness towards me way back in the summer of 1972— during the making of “The Goddaughter”— may well have been the igniting force behind my passion to present the performers within The Adult Entertainment Industry as genuine human beings.
At last – I’ve been waiting years for this!
An engrossing and gripping interview with a real legend.
Thank you Rialto Report!
Incredible to finally hear Uschi being interviewed, thank you so very much!
I wonder if there are any plans to possibly transcribe the interview?
Great idea – and yes, we’re thinking about the best way to transcribe all the interviews and make them available.
In fact most of the interviews are actually usually well over 3 hours long and are edited down – so we’d like to include some additional content as well.
Thnaks for your interest!
[…] Digard has given her first interview in 40 years—and maybe ever—to the amazing podcast, The Rialto Report. At over an hour long, this ultra-rare report is the holy grail of […]
The holy grail of interviews!
Great piece of interviewing too.
Now how about some Desiree Cousteau..?
This was amazing! I still can’t believe I just listened to such a great, in-depth interview with Uschi Digard. Not only was it filled with information us Uschi fans have been waiting for for years, it was above all great joy to hear her tell her own story. You couldn’t be better at interviewing people – right questions with respect. I’m very grateful for the Rialto Report. Thank you.
Yeah, that bio info was gleaned from “interviews” in a few early skin mags, which were clearly bogus. Thought it was a load then, so nice to hear from the lady herself.
The elaborate pool Uschi refers to, where she did a few shoots, was at the Harold Lloyd estate.
I hope to be able to read the transcript of the interview to be able to translate into Italian.
Ms. Uschi was much more than an actress of film “exploitation” was a Mediterranean beauty blond-haired not a pin up USA by pale white skin. In short, a female, the “dream” of us teenagers of the 60’s we discovered that gradually the female nude to the rhythm of the concessions of a censure, the Italian, who had been very severe in the past 20 years (1945-1965). When it was gradually abolished (1965-1971) photos of uschi were almost in each publication. It ‘been a pleasure to find it on the web (we suddenly rejuvenated). With all his photos and films and movies, all without vulgarity. As a true Lady, beautiful, thanks Uschi.
She mentioned her musician boyfriend that played with the Don Ellis band. Any idea what his full name is?
Actually, I think the holy grail would be Nancy Suiter. Several journos have spent time on the case only to come up empty-handed. If anyone can find her, I suspect it would be this site.
now that i’ve finally got around to listening to it, i can genuinely say many thanks! and to think there’s twice this much content is mindboggling, and i concur that it would be wonderful to see it all transcribed. uschi did so much, that there remains so much i’m curious about. who was “kentucky jones”, credited as director of The Manson Massacre? how did she end up clothed in Climax of Blue Power, and what about frost retooling a shelved grindhouse roughie for the market in the mirror of Porno Chic?
Is there anything of the bio written down yet that i can translate it easy to other languages? I cant find any of this new information in the www.
thx so far.
Ashley, this was fantastic. I always admired this girl, but after this interview my respect for her has grown even more in leaps and bounds. What a smart and in control lady she is, furthermore she is not greedy, not in any way, she makes what she needs to live and is very, very content. I am so impressed with this interview, you always do such a fantastic job, if you had these interviews transcribed it would make a hell of a book. I did an article on Uschi in Exploitation Journal Vol. 3 #2, I always felt she wasn’t visible enough publicity wise, but now I see she didn’t really want that type of visibility. Great stuff, keep up the great work. Truly amazing!
[…] a longtime fan favorite big bust model from the late 60s/early 70s. She gave a rare (first ever?) interview to The Rialto Report a few months back that should not be missed. The late Cyndee Summers had one of the longer […]
[…] year The Rialto Report coaxed Russ Meyer mamazon and all-around larger-than-lust monster boob queen Uschi Digard out of udder obscurity for her first ever broadcast interview, and the show also featured the very […]
[…] day 40 years ago. This film, a BDSM period piece, reunites Angela Carnon, I. William Quinn, and Uschi Digart, whom we saw as cast members in A Climax of Blue Power. […]
[…] than one of these films, including Kendall Stewart (as director of two), and Stephen Treadwell, Uschi Digard, Stacey Daniels, Linda York–who performed in several non-sex roles in about a dozen and a […]
That was a wonderful and highly entertaining interview. Uschi is a goddess and I always respected her and her work. To hear her thoughtful answers and get to know her character made me respect and like her even more.
The interviewers questions were tasteful, well researched and presented beautifully.
Great job….great woman…best wishes and thanks Uschi
I once said to Bill Rotsler when he visited Australia that I envied him working with Uschi Digard. He just shook his head and muttered “A wonderful lady — wonderful lady.” He once told her that she would be (then) the most photographed nude model of all time, but she found this hard to believe.
When is Uschi going to write her life story? It would be a great autobiography.
Where can we get ‘I Used To Be Uschi’?
Thanks for the pod on Ms. Digard. I’m sure I speak for many other listeners here in suggesting an interview with Kitten Natividad on Rialto. That would complete a triumvirate of Uschi, Kitten, and Candy (Samples).
Thanks so much Felix!
Great interview!!! I didn’t even know who Uschi Digard few hours ago. I googled searching to learn more and your interview came out. And I found the interview to be terrific, one of the best things I have read/listened/watched in the last month. She is such an interesting person, to hear about her life was fascinating.
Bill Rotsler put me in contact with Uschi because I had co-written a film (1,000,000 A.D…never produced) that was shooting a fifteen-minute promo to take to Cannes to try and raise money out near Barstow and I knew she could make a few bucks as an extra. She was, of course, hired. Same time they got John Carradine to appear in your standard Wise Elder guise. The mostly very young extras were in awe of Carradine.
During a break in filming, everyone was gossiping about who was hiring, who was up for what role…the usual on-set chatter. Knowing who I was, Uschi wandered over and said, “Do you play chess?”
“A little,” I replied. She pulled out a portable chess set (this was early ’70’s; no electronics) and she promptly beat me two out of three games. Great gal; wish we’d had more time to chat.
Fascinating. I had very few adult actresses of whom I had a “crush” and she was one of them. (Linda Wong and Candy Samples being the other two and I met and had lunch with Linda a few months before her death.)
Is Uschi still with us? I know Candy passed away a year and a half ago and I am glad she had a long life and only hope her last years were as good to her as she deserved. I did meet her briefly on a few adult sets as I worked for different adult companies as sales but got to go to a great many shoots.
I never got to meet Uschi under any circumstances. I kept hoping she would do autograph sessions at the Adult conventions in the early days when they ran in conjunction with the CES and the Adult area was at the old Sahara.
I met ALL the early stars except her. My favorite at the times was Rene Bond who I had met at the old Ivar Theater and gotten her autograph. She was stripping there and first time I ever saw a fully shaved woman when she took off her orange sequined gown. THAT changed my desire for my girlfriends who all went along with it and to this day the ones I stay in touch with say they never grew out again. My ex wife did a few shorts for the San Francisco 8mm films for Bill (last name just escaped me) but he set up the first organization for adult actresses and made a lot of the black and white paper mags back them along with making adult films and as an agency for the girls before Jim South did. Dang it i just cannot remember Bill’s last name and I knew him for years and years. I even lived in his film studio across the street from the Chinese theater when my wife and I were between places to live and he graciously said HEY get some sheets and you can stay there for a little while. Great guy.
Anyway I was just happy to see she did this interview. And I will always consider her to be the one that got away…autographwise. I still have all my autographs from the first 15 years of the Adult convention before it became big business. I even shot a fill video at one of the conventions at the Tropicana for the guys who had Moonlight video.
Fun time to be in the adult business. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. They ladies were always the best and friendly. I worked for Ruby at X Ceitment video for a few years and a few others afterwards.
But I always looked for Uschi and never saw her.
Sorry for getting carried away here but it’s 2am and this brought back so many memories of when I worked in the adult business and they were some of my best memories.
BILL MARGOLD. Never fails I remembered 2 minutes after I hit send. One of the great characters and most caring about the girls in the business. He started PAW Protecting Adult Welfare among being co founder of early porn organizations for critics and the like. One of those people I am glad to have met and known for several years and it was Bill who introduced me to my future wife of 12 years.
Any updates on the release of ‘I Used To Be Uschi’?
I was relistening to this great interview. When she talks about Peckinpah it sounds like she said “I remember I did 5 films with Sam” or did I hear that wrong ? I only know about The Killer Elite