Michelle Maren: A Reluctant Star – Podcast 50

Michelle Maren: A Reluctant Star – Podcast 50

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.

Brace yourself.

This episode’s running time is 90 minutes.


Michelle Maren:

Visit Michelle Maren’s blog here

Visit Michelle Maren’s Facebook page here

Visit Michelle Maren’s Google + page here


Michelle Maren


Michelle MarenMichelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981


Michelle MarenMichelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981


RR-Michelle-08Michelle Maren, Miss Big Apple 1981










Michelle Maren


RR-Anco-Theater-closeupAnco Theatre, 254 West 42nd Street – with Flash Pants picture


RR-Anco-Theater-distanceAnco Theater, New York








RR-Michelle-12Michelle Maren today


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.

Michelle Maren


Michelle Maren


Michelle Maren


  • Posted On: 10th May 2015
  • By: The Rialto Report
  • Under: Podcasts


  1. Annette Heinz · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

    • Michelle Maren · May 11, 2015 Reply

      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!

  2. P.I. · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  3. Ian Edwards · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  4. J Leiber · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  5. Rialto Fan · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  6. Roy Karch · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  7. Craig · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  8. Larry Revene · May 10, 2015 Reply

    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.

  9. Michelle Maren · May 11, 2015 Reply

    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!

  10. Luke Moore · May 11, 2015 Reply

    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.

  11. Cathy Gigante-Brown · May 11, 2015 Reply

    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.

  12. Frank F · May 13, 2015 Reply

    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.

  13. K. Marshall · May 13, 2015 Reply

    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….

  14. K. Marshall · May 13, 2015 Reply

    Damn these fingers! Meant RASHOMON, of course…

  15. George Pacheco · May 14, 2015 Reply

    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!


  16. John · May 15, 2015 Reply

    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!

  17. Louie Max · May 16, 2015 Reply

    Another great one Mr. West..

  18. Steven · May 18, 2015 Reply

    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.

  19. Xavier · May 26, 2015 Reply

    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.

  20. Anonymous Coward · June 21, 2015 Reply

    Immensely moving story.. I hope “An Autobiography of Michelle Maren” finds an audience soon..

    My lady, you’re a survivor.. Be well..

  21. Yizmo Gimo · October 5, 2015 Reply

    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.

    • Michelle Maren · April 9, 2016 Reply

      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.

  22. Michelle Maren · October 21, 2015 Reply

    My film is making its US and Canadian premiere! Please come by and say hello. I love meeting people.


    Our film has been selected for DOC NYC 2015


    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
    IFC Center
    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
    +1 416-599-8433

    Both Michel Negroponte and I will be in attendance

    To purchase tickets:

    For more info:

  23. Jay Maxwell Nichols · November 14, 2015 Reply

    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!!!

  24. Rubydartz · April 8, 2016 Reply

    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?

  25. Michelle Maren · April 9, 2016 Reply

    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!

  26. Lit · November 27, 2017 Reply

    Dear Michelle

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    The honesty and fighting spirit you have is like a beautiful bright shining light.

    Best wishes,

    (London, UK)

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