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Michelle Maren’s life has been eventful, surprising and difficult.
So much so that she has recently finished a documentary, ‘An Autobiography of Michelle Maren’ which she co-directed with award-winning filmmaker, Michel Negroponte. The film is starting to appear in film festivals around the country.
It recounts her troubled beginnings as a victim of abuse and domestic violence. By the age of 17 in 1979, she was homeless, living on the streets of New York, spending her days in Times Square and her nights in flophouses. The next years were a bewildering blur: she won the Miss Big Apple beauty contest and for a while was Tiny Tim’s support act. She worked in a succession of jobs – an increasing number of them in the sex industry, from sexual surrogate, go-go dancer, escort, and as a model in men’s magazines.
And all that was before Michelle even entered the adult film industry. In 1984, she starred in Gerard Damiano’s ‘Deep Throat’ sequel ‘Throat… 12 Years After’ (1984), and had parts in Henri Pachard’s ‘Public Affairs’ (1983), the ‘Flashdance’ adult film spoof ‘Flash Pants’ (1983), and others.
She stopped making films as mental illness and depression threatened to engulf her, and started her journey to recovery. For years lived she lived quietly, privately, virtually cut off from the outside world. Which makes her documentary all the more startling. It’s a remarkably open and brutally honest telling of her story.
On today’s episode, Michelle looks back and remembers her years in New York and her time making adult films.
This episode’s running time is 90 minutes.
Visit Michelle Maren’s blog here
Visit Michelle Maren’s Facebook page here
Visit Michelle Maren’s Google + page here
Michelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981
Michelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981
Michelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981
Anco Theatre, 254 West 42nd Street – with Flash Pants picture
UPDATE: November 2015
Michelle contacted us recently to tell about the New York premiere of her film at NYCDOC. She kindly shared the following pictures with us.
So sweet a woman. So lovely that she remembers me as one of the sweetest women in the business. No higher praise as there are INCREDIBLY wonderful actors in porn’s Golden Age.
Hey Annette! Thanks for the kind comment. I really did feel terrible for what happened on the set of Public Affairs. I hope you forgive me and know that it had absolutely nothing to do with you. Yes, you were then and still are a very sweet woman!
Annette is absolutely a sweet woman. I consider Annette my surrogate mother because she’s such a wonderful woman!!
I can’t remember the last time I posted a comment – maybe too long…
This is another podcast to be proud of.
Ms. Maren sounds like a really interesting person. Her words seem to flow out of her in such an effortless way, and yet, I realize it must have been extremely difficult for her to do that.
Thunderously compelling… quite a story, and told in a perceptive and and intelligent way by Ms. Maren. Very self-aware in a good way, and I wish her the best for her documentary.
I hope to meet her at an upcoming showing of the new film.
I expected this to be a downer due to the heavy subject matter – and some of Michelle’s comment are a little ‘broad-brush’ (cf. her views on the damaged nature of all adult film actors). But I was rewarded by a really interesting story, told with a fair degree of humor and levity. This may not be a typical Rialto Report – but it is definitely worth a listen, and a good counterpoint to the others episodes of this fine podcast.
All the best wishes to you Michelle. Your words are truly eloquent and heartfelt. I hope that your life continues to heal the effect of past events – and I hope that your documentary receives widespread distribution. Thanks for telling your story in such an open way.
WOW!!! Michell Maren working her own way though it; and leavin’ us with a song.; didn’t even miss a note. I like this girl. Great to HEAR her tell the tail that is Michell Maren. Perfect.
Loved hearing Michell’s story. She was frank about her childhood and I shed a tear hearing her story. I found her to be very articulate and it sounds as if she has finally found a purpose in life and still has goals. Go get them girl!!! Wishing her nothing but the best.
Michelle is so well spoken and forthright I could not help but be moved by her story. I certainly remember her stunning looks but never knew her difficult back-story. The image that persisted in my head hearing the problematic
history of her troubled life was that of a lone flower determined to bloom even-though its shallow roots suckled nourishment from the meager soil collected in the crack of a sidewalk pavement.
A most inspiring and uplifting add to the Rialto Report.
Hi Larry – Thank you for the very sensitive comments. I remember you as a real artist who just happened to work in adult films. You were exceedingly professional on the set and made me feel and look like a star. I wish you all the best!
Very enjoyable listen. Michelle is a remarkably articulate person, and it was a pleasure to hear her story. Now I’m hoping that her documentary comes to a theater near me!
The Rialto Reports just keep getting better and better. Excellent story.
Extremely moving and starkly candid. Michelle has such a lovely speaking voice…I could have listened to hours more. Such a beautiful person inside and out. Thanks Rialto for bringing all sorts of “adult” stories to light.
Hello Cathy – Please come to one of the screenings of my film AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN at DOC NYC 2015. I posted the info separately below and on my facebook page
I would love to meet you! And thank you for the kind comments.
I first read about Michelle Maren in a wonderful, thought provoking interview She gave in a now disappeared Blog titled “Porn Stars, Where Are They Now?”. That Blog had some wonderful interviews from porn stars current and past, and I could find nothing like it till I discovered the Rialto Report.
In that prior interview, Michelle touched on some of the topics covered in her Rialto Report podcast, such as the young women in FlashPants with bruises; I particularly remember her account of lunch being provided to cast & crew – beef stew in a plastic garbage bag! And how She thought, well that’s appropriate, as we’re all being treated like garbage. When I saw that Michelle Maren was the topic of the latest podcast, I knew that her memories and opinions would be quite different than Gloria Leonard or Kay Parker!
In this excellent podcast, Michelle goes into greater depth, detailing how She went, step by step, from model to call girl to adult film actress, and her journey to a healthier, happier life. Her views on the Adult film industry are a sharp counter to the accounts of other performers on the Rialto Report; all of these accounts need to be here to give a complete understanding of the Adult film world during the Golden Age.
I wish Michelle all the best, and I look forward to seeing her documentary. Lovely singing!
Great effort, Team Rialto.
Damaged, as are we all, to some degree or other.The
baggage of scars and regrets we carry pull and push us
through the twisting canyons, often keeping our hands
from the tiller.Michelle’s stories are told in stark
Apposition to many others that we’ve seen and heard here….
This, of course, doesn’t invalidate them, but certainly
endorses yet another POV. Now looking forward to
Negroponte’s POV. Many thanks for this intense and
valuable piece of the puzzle. Would love to be that
Envied fly on the wall watching a conversation between
Nina Hartley and Ms. Maren…..A porn Radhomon….
Damn these fingers! Meant RASHOMON, of course…
Another fascinating episode from the Rialto Report, with the usual gold standard from everyone involved. I’m grateful to hear Michelle’s story, who was actually an actress I’m only really familiar with from her appearances in the Italian exploitation films “1990: Bronx Warriors” and “Escape From the Bronx.” I’d love to her how Ms. Maren found herself with small roles in these films, and what she remembers of director Enzo Castellari!
Ashley, thank you for another superb podcast.
Michelle, although your story was similar to those of many others in the business, the ending was quite different and most uplifting.
I’m delighted that you found peace!
Another great one Mr. West..
I loved Michelle Marin since seeing her in 12 years later, one of my favorite movies. I wondered what had happened to her and always wanted to get to know her. She always looked so smart and deep. It breaks my heart to hear what was done to her and the life she has been forced to do. I still wish I could know her.
Another unbelievably awesome podcast from the Rialto. I moved to the states in 1987 (around the tail end of the legendary Deuce – when there were only about 5 or 6 working theaters left) and vividly remember the Anco marquee and Miss Maren’s visage up there. Here she is now, blasting thru the years, a riveting voice of experience, a tangled journey, a true survivor. I can’t wait to see your documentary. And, Rialto Report guys, nobody does it better.
Immensely moving story.. I hope “An Autobiography of Michelle Maren” finds an audience soon..
My lady, you’re a survivor.. Be well..
I enjoyed the interview. By the time I got to NYC in 1989
the skin flick theaters on 42nd Street were little more than $5 hotels for the down and out, smelling of sweat and urine, with 75 pound crack mamas offering services in the aisles. Yuck.
Interesting how her recollection of Paul Thomas went from “dignity” to a much
more critical appraisal a few minutes later. Lesson learned: I will never act “dignified” around women
and will definitely never switch the radio dial to classical music.
I shouldn’t have said anything negative about Paul Thomas. I did feel bad about it later. I was being facetious when I used the word “dignified.” I think Paul was very unhappy in porn because he knew he was a really talented actor. It was as though his overt superciliousness was an overcompensation for his discontent. That’s my dime store analysis anyway. By-the-way, it wasn’t his choice of classical music that was my issue. It was the fact that as soon as he got into the car, he took it upon himself to change the radio station without asking anyone else. After he exited, the driver and another passenger expressed their annoyance. I happen to like classical music and listen to WQXR all the time… I wish Paul Thomas all the best and hope he found peace and happiness in his life.
My film is making its US and Canadian premiere! Please come by and say hello. I love meeting people.
THE US PREMIERE OF AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN WILL BE IN NYC
Our film has been selected for DOC NYC 2015
SCREENING TIMES AND THEATERS:
Both Michel Negroponte and I will be in attendance for the panel discussion following each screening
PLEASE COME AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS! (Adults only – film features mature content)
10:45 AM, Fri Nov 13, 2015
323 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014
9:30 PM, Sun Nov 15, 2015
Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas
260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
To purchase tickets:
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN will make its Canadian premiere at the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
6:30 pm Tues Nov 10th, 2015
TIFF Bell Lightbox,
350 King St W,
Toronto, ON M5V 3X5, Canada
Both Michel Negroponte and I will be in attendance
To purchase tickets:
For more info:
This interview was beyond moving and gave me hope. As someone who is mixed race and also had to deal with sexual and physical abuse along with ADHD during my childhood, I could totally understand Michelle’s journey and I’m so happy that she is the wonderful person that she is now. It would be an honor if she ever became my surrogate older sister in life!!! LOL!!!
Very touching comment Jay. Thank you so much!
Michelle’s dark and troubled voyage through life is told in the most upbeat and cheerful manner. And what a beautiful voice, you should do voice over narration. So happy to hear the happy ending of redemption. What’s the status on her documentary? Sorry I missed it at the IFC. Where is it available?
Thanks for asking Rubydartz…
Thanks to all for all the wonderful, kind and astute comments. The latest update is this: currently we’re waiting to hear about airing the film on TV. When I find out anything for sure, I’ll let everyone know… Thank you again for all the support!
Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
The honesty and fighting spirit you have is like a beautiful bright shining light.