Nina Hartley: The Importance Of Being (With) Earnest – Podcast 47

Nina Hartley: The Importance Of Being (With) Earnest – Podcast 47

For the first time on The Rialto Report, we feature a current day adult film performer. But the twist is that Nina Hartley is also one of the true stars of the golden age, having appeared scores of films since her start in 1984.

By any standards, Nina is a unique person.

The daughter of a socialist blacklisted writer, she was raised in Berkeley, CA and became a registered nurse whilst dancing at the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell theater.

For many years she was married in a troubled menage-a-trois arrangement, having both a husband and a wife.

And since 1984 she has acted, directed and produced over 400 films, covering many types of sexuality, and even had a role in the hit mainstream film, ‘Boogie Nights’.

Today Nina is widely respected as a pro-sexuality feminist, and one of most outspoken supporters of the adult industry and free speech issues. Her fights have taken her to speaking to state legislatures, and national TV shows as Oprah.

She is married to Ira Levine, also known as Ernest Greene, legendary BDSM and fetish filmmaker and editor of Hustler’s Taboo Magazine.

And she is still going strong, still speaking out, even appearing as Hillary Clinton in a recent lesbian film.

So how does she remember starting out? How has the industry changed since those early years? And has she really been having a long-running affair with a school friend she first met in high school?

This episode also features Carol Queen, author, editor, and sexologist active in the sex-positive feminism movement, and Nina’s close friend for many years.

(The above image is from the Suze Randall archives).

This episode running time is 101 minutes.


Nina Hartley

Find more of Nina’s photos, videos and writings on her website.

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina Hartley

Nina HartleyNina Hartley & Sharon Mitchell

Nina HartleyNina Hartley & Ernest Greene

Nina Hartley


  • Posted On: 22nd February 2015
  • By: The Rialto Report
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. Roy Karch · February 22, 2015 Reply

    Nina Hartley, there is only one. Bravo!

  2. Gary Grant · February 22, 2015 Reply

    Wonderful. Compassionate. Revealing. Respectful.

    Another Rialto Report.

    Thanks guys!

  3. M Hayes · February 22, 2015 Reply

    Interesting to hear that Nina’s not a fan of Bill Margold – wonder why?

    I suspect that this could have been a multi part interview as Nina has so much to say. Good job in keeping it ticking along – very entertaining chapter of this award-winning podcast seeks!

  4. William Margold · February 22, 2015 Reply

    Warmly amused by Nina’s statement “I no longer like Bill Margold”…I was nevertheless pleased that XXX’s “Bowl of Sunshine” has lost very little of her eternal glow.

    • B. d · February 22, 2015 Reply

      Way to take the high road Bill, a class act. Bill Margold truly is the keeper of the flame when it comes to the Golden Age of Porn. Of course Seka, Ron Jeremy and Vanessa Del Rio were around then too but none of them have Bill’s recall for names and dates. Most from that era are now dead. Hell Bill remembers meeting Tiffany Clark when she was a kid in trouble and years later they had a fling when she entered the porn business, how is that for a memory!

    • Sister Seka · February 22, 2015 Reply

      Keep your chin up Bill Margold, you were a Hall of fame performer and a Hall of Fame historian. The porn industry owes you a lot!

  5. Jamie Gump · February 22, 2015 Reply

    Not surprised to hear Nina talk about mind-expanding hallucinogens. That makes all the sense in the world: that works with her being so relaxed and comfortable within erratic situations. Good for her, and may she continue the good work for many more years!

  6. Howie Gordon (Richard Pacheco) · February 22, 2015 Reply

    My little sister is all the way grown-up!


    Mazel Tov to you and Ernest!

    . . . and what a fine job you did here, April!

    . . . aka the ghost of Richard Pacheco

    • Bad Girls 1981 · February 22, 2015 Reply

      Richard Pacheco is no ghost, the man is a freaking living legend. When I was a teenager I thought Victoria Knoll was the most beautiful porn star I had ever seen. She looked like a James Bond girl, my favorite scene in Bad Girls is when Richard plays the photographer that has a lovemaking session with Victoria in the opening scene. PACHECO Rulz!

  7. Clive · February 22, 2015 Reply

    I didn’t know what to expect with this interview because unlike many of the other Rialto shows, Nina has been ‘out’ there for a long time and her views are well known……… but the Rialto never fails to deliver and true to form serves up an interesting and fresh view of a complex person.

  8. Dictaphone 69 · February 22, 2015 Reply

    After the pitiful and pathetic recent Showtime documentary (note to the production company – you had a golden opportunity to shed some intelligence and you failed, hang your heads in shame!) – thank goodness the RR exists to provide a platform for proper research, context and history.

    • bunnybuntales · February 24, 2015 Reply

      I agree Dictaphone, the Showtime documentary was a disappointment but admirable if it was a freshman project done by folk new in documentary production. The Rialto Report shows these actors as well-rounded human beings not as sex objects who have no other life purpose.

  9. Livvie · February 23, 2015 Reply

    I found this an incredibly enjoyable podcast, even though I was never a very big fan of Nina’s. I also think that as she grows older, the prettier she becomes. Some of these photos here are just amazing.

    Though she’s not yet as old as Georgina Spelvin, I find they have something of that same sort of lovely, confident, twinkle-in-the-eye demeanor that’s so appealing.

    Another great show. Thanks, it’s so incredibly important that these voices remain and that their stories remain heard.

  10. Cathy Gigante-Brown · February 23, 2015 Reply

    Another wonderful podcast! So refreshing to hear such an honest, exciting interview. I loved hearing about Nina’s sexual awakening. (I was a big fan of “The Pearl” too! I had the pleasure of meeting Nina several times. Ernest was also my editor when I wrote for Hustler’s Erotic Video Guide. Really great piece.

  11. Hank Rose · February 24, 2015 Reply

    Still the best ass ever in porn. She was our adult booty queen before the cheesy Kim K reality show rage.

  12. Craig Simpson · February 24, 2015 Reply

    Love these interviews. Nina has a great view of the industry having spanned as many years as she does. I hope that she will never retire. Can you say GILF?

    Any chance that you could interview Annette Haven? I’d love to hear her story.

  13. S. · February 24, 2015 Reply

    Echoing Gary Grant… Another splendid podcast. Amazing how Nina’s mom is a Roshi. Nina’s cool as a cucumber

  14. S. · February 24, 2015 Reply

    OOT: I may be in the minority who enjoy repeat re listens of certain episodes. One of them is the R.Bolla one, which features some the strongest intros and outros from all episodes, curtesy of Kerman’s recital over the VU. I was wondering how many find themselves listening again to past podcasts.

    • bunnybuntales · February 24, 2015 Reply

      The one with R. Bolla is very good however there is no comment section. It would be great to make and comments on that informative interview.

    • Eric Maurer · February 24, 2015 Reply

      I agree – Kerman’s recital makes the hairs on my neck stand up…

      I’ve listened to all the RR podcasts multiple times, and also love the end of the Eric Edwards show, Sharon Kane’s moving letter at the beginning of her episode, the hauntingly sad end to the Gillis interview, the heartbreaking and brave Veronica Vera… and Fred Lincoln’s closing words bring a tear to my eye.

      Some classic moments created here….

  15. bunnybuntales · February 24, 2015 Reply

    I smiled when you asked about her lisp and Nina just accepts it’s there. She’s a good sport. I’d have been timid/scared to discuss it as an interviewer.

    • April Hall · March 8, 2015 Reply

      Nina said I could ask her anything and her voice is so signature, I couldn’t resist. I love her lisp and am glad she’s learned to love it too!

  16. M Hampton · February 26, 2015 Reply

    All of the interviews on Rialto Report are great.This one, like the Susan Jensen interview, is a big deal. I learned an enormous amount about Ms Hartley. I find the discussion of the Old Left and her dad having been affected by MCarthyism utterly fascinating. Hartley is a real serious sexologist and psychologist actually probably as much if not more so than the big degree names in those fields.

  17. Tony Faynor · March 1, 2015 Reply

    Loved the interview. Nina is so damn intelligent and really very detailed and descriptive. Thank you for your great memory and sharing with us . Always really like to read the comments after the podcasts. This site has passionate fans and I’m one. Wanted to say that yes I like repeat listening as there are things I can hear or that strike me after a first run through. In response to the R Bolla comments above there is a super commentary track with Eric Edwards and R Bolla on Alexandra re-released on dvd by VCA years ago. Seems like he is clearly more engaged and invested in it than Eric at the time. Bolla waxed poetic about his time in the business. Very enjoyable. Incidentally VCA did a number of re-releases with the addition of secondary audio commentary from the stars or notable adult historians like Jim Holliday. Some of them were quite good, others not so much.

  18. K marshall · March 3, 2015 Reply

    Long past the time that Nina should have her
    story in a print bio. There is no other performer
    In this business in her class. Incredible sexy woman.
    Empowered and powerful. Ultimate aphrodisiac.
    Would have preferred longer, less disjointed
    interview. Too long? Two parts! Someone would
    have minded? Don’t think so! Great effort…

  19. Gore Gore Girl · April 13, 2015 Reply

    So happy to have this on record! Thank you Rialto!

  20. Lurky McLurkson · May 11, 2015 Reply

    Intelligent, great ass, funny, great ass, outspoken, great ass, grounded, great ass: Nina’s the real deal. Great ass!

  21. M.finn · May 22, 2015 Reply

    I listened to this podcast as I was curious about your style, and ended up absolutely taken by it. I love Nina Hartley and the free spirit she embodies. She mentioned Marc Wallice in her interview, and I have always wondered what happened to him after all these years… it would be a great story to do (if this fits your subject). I’d be the first to listen!

  22. Colleen Brennan · May 27, 2015 Reply

    I’ve thought to myself, “My god, how could any woman stay in the business for a decade or more without becoming bored or cynical or at least grumpy as hell?” I had a good time but I was in and out in just a few years and felt like I had pretty much done it. Then there’s Nina. Self-aware, sex-positive, still enthusiastic and …well…SANE! Nina, it was great to hear you. Our time in Europe was a real highlight of my relatively brief stint as a performer.

    • NedKelly · March 24, 2021 Reply

      Hi Colleen,
      Loved listening to your podcast very much. Discovered your work as a teem in London. “Up up and away” your scene with Laurie Smith & Jamie Gillis for me was red hot. Did you ever visit London ? In reference to your time in Europe with Nina.

  23. Absurdist · June 12, 2015 Reply

    Wow. She’s so alive!

  24. Absurdist · June 12, 2015 Reply

    Point of order: Nina says that Educating Nina was Juliet Anderson’s first and only directorial project, but Anderson is credited as director of 1981’s All the King’s Ladies. But that’s still only two films in such a promising directorial career.

  25. jotman · February 18, 2017 Reply

    Thanks to all for the info. on Nina …she is and will always be a hot momma.

  26. Slappy Palmer · September 24, 2017 Reply

    Such an awesome sexy lady!
    You know she worked hard on that golden 1980s fit body.
    She is still going and still giving her all for erotic entertainment.
    Thank you Nina Hartley!

  27. Lit · November 26, 2017 Reply

    Great podcast 🙂

    Has anybody heard of or seen CONNIE PETTERSON?

  28. Robert L Torres · July 5, 2020 Reply

    Thank God for her!

    still just as vivacious and as drop dead sexy as ever. the fact that she has managed to maintain her popularity and her sanity after all these years is a true testament to her strength of character. while so many others would have retired, or succumbed to substance abuse or even poverty, she has kept it together and then some. Bravo! not just an icon, but a living legend.

  29. Michael · January 4, 2021 Reply

    I think Nina and Ernest have divorced. Maybe a couple of years ago.

  30. Turwin · April 4, 2021 Reply

    Nina had one of the nicest bodies I’ve ever seen in or out of porn. She was a specimen muscular, toned, great strong legs, ripped abs, and one of the best bubble butts ever. My favorite porn queen of all time all hail NINA!!!

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