The Murder of Kathy Harcourt: England’s First American Adult Film Star – Podcast 102

The Murder of Kathy Harcourt: England’s First American Adult Film Star – Podcast 102
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Kathy Harcourt was an English XXX star in America in the early 1980s.

She appeared with Lisa DeLeeuw, Seka, Billy Dee, and Ron Jeremy in adult films and 8mm loops.

She featured in magazines, stripped at the Melody Burlesk, turned up at all the industry parties.

And then she was found dead in Manhattan’s East River amidst rumors of a mob hit.

Over the years, her life and death has been a mystery.

Until today.

After 40 years, the truth about Kathy Harcourt is finally revealed.

This podcast is 96 minutes long.

The music playlist for this episode can be found on Spotify.

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Kathy Harcourt

One of the great features of the golden age of adult film is the diversity of the performers. You had all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities. It seemed that everyone was welcome – as long as they were willing to have sex on film.

The only thing was that they were nearly all American citizens. Sure, you’d expect that – as the X-rated industry in its early days sourced its talent locally. But even so you never really saw anyone with a genuine foreign accent.

Which made an actress like Kathy Harcourt stand out. You see, Kathy was English, and spoke with an accent so English that it was almost comical to hear her talk on screen with performers like Billy Dee or Ron Jeremy.

Kathy was a beautiful, voluptuous actress who appeared in ten or so pornographic feature films around 1980, and a bunch of 8mm loops too. She featured in magazines, stripped in the best clubs, and for a short time turned up at all the industry events and parties. She seemed bubbly and happy and sweet, and everybody spoke highly of her.

And then she was found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Kathy HarcourtKathy in Bahrain before she came to America and entered the adult industry

 

Kathy HarcourtKathy gets her adult start modeling for men’s magazines

 

Kathy Harcourt

 

Ron JeremyKathy posing with her friend and short-time boyfriend Ron Jeremy

 

Marilyn GeeKathy with Marilyn Gee

 

Kathy is schooled by PT in Lips (1981)

 

Video X

 

Kathy Harcourt

 

Kathy HarcourtKathy unwinds at the infamous Bernards bar and restaurant in New York

 

Kathy HarcourtKathy goes blonde in Australia

 

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85 Comments

  1. Nancy · October 18, 2020 Reply

    OMG!!!

    I’ve looked for details on Kathy for years and years. I’ve been mystified why I’ve never found anything on her. This is going to be a treat.

    THANK YOU!

    • April Hall · October 18, 2020 Reply

      Thank you so much Nancy – hope you enjoy it!

    • Mark R · October 19, 2020 Reply

      incredible news! What a great report!

    • Mike Coldwell · February 6, 2021 Reply

      Amazing work April. Love how this story unfurls. Have a revelation is only bettered the interview with the lady herself, which is so charming. I love this era for its mystery, its innocence and its sheer bloody bravado.

      • April Hall · February 7, 2021 Reply

        I really appreciate that Mike.

      • kim · March 21, 2021 Reply

        Oh my god thats been the best couple of bloody hours ive spent in ages!!! Love love love Kathy Harcourt! It was full of experience, intrigue, happiness and sadness and ive finished with tears! Great journalism! Please report if there ever is a reunion, PLEASE!

  2. Joe · October 18, 2020 Reply

    HOW DO YOU DO IT???!

    Every single Sunday you produce a new, histroy-creating, ground-breaking new research that sheds new light on this poorly understood area of entertainment.

    This is another home run.

  3. Corey · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Absolutely fascinating. Amazing how lurid rumors grow and become “facts”. I’m so pleased this woman has found love and peace. Extraordinary reporting and production.

    • April Hall · October 18, 2020 Reply

      Thank you so much Corey!

      • Scally21 · November 10, 2020 Reply

        Thoroughly enjoyed this particular podcast. Overjoyed to know that Kathy is alive & well and more importantly, in a stable loving relationship. The podcast further demonstrates what a true gent Billy Dee is. He could have blabbed & spilled the beans re: Kathy. Instead, he tried to accommodate your questions in the 1st call & then presumably got in touch with Kathy to tell her that you were doing a piece on her. It’s also testimony to you too, April. I would assume that Billy Dee must have given you high praise & therefore helped Kathy in her decision to be allowed to be approached.

    • George Maranville · October 18, 2020 Reply

      Spoiler alert

  4. Dave Briggs · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Kathy comes across as hugely sympathetic, warm, and sweet. It is wonderful that she is alive and well, and I am so happy to hear her story.

    • Brandon · October 19, 2020 Reply

      Best podcast yet. I couldn’t wish Kathy more happiness. I always found her an alluring presence! I support sex workers!

  5. Mel H** · October 18, 2020 Reply

    I didn’t know who Kathy was before listening, but I can honestly say that I am a huge fan now.
    What a lovely person, and it was a pleasure to listening to her.

    I hope that her return trip to NYC comes off – and that she gets to return to her old stamping ground to re-visit old memories.

    Good luck Kathy!

  6. Robby · October 18, 2020 Reply

    WOW!!!

    That’s really all I got…….WOW!!!

    Unbelievable work yet again, guys.

  7. KEVIN ANDREW KUNREUTHER · October 18, 2020 Reply

    OMG! I knew HER in BAhrain, I was 17-18 myself, the disco was Cinq a Sept and there was a couple of others at the hotels. VEry crowded and everyone dressed very flash! I lived with my parents at the Bapco town of Awali. We’d take a taxi into Manama, or Isa Town or Al-Muharraq or Riffa, or take the bus to the beach at Zallaq or Sheik’s beach. It was very free, very loose, BUT, I never knew a thing about her later porn career, never ever seen her films. She was one of many British girls living in Bahrain. Some were living with their parents, who either worked with Caltex or Aramco, or one of the many construction outfits, lots of building going on all over the island. A few were Gulf Air Stewardesses, but no one was ever that young, usually older girls, twenty two to twenty six, some got jobs as hotel clerks at Hilton or some of the shops, but usually you had a Bahraini sponsor. And a few girls were hanging with these local guys with rich dads , there were a ton of princes, but it was very easy for any American or Brit to meet some of al-Khalifah family, even Sheik Isa.
    Wow, this is so mind blowing … I was very taken with her, we danced a few times, drank, but I got feeling she was kinda hands off, but this fellow John she was with was interested in me, I thought as a friend, but my mom warned me to not hang with him, she never explained why.
    I never saw her again after 1981, she one of many young ladies I was infatuated with at that age in Bahrain. My goodness, what an interesting life she’s had.

  8. Ray · October 18, 2020 Reply

    What a life! This should surely be a movie.

    Well done Kathy. I wish you all the happiness in the world!

  9. Kevin Wardle · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Beautiful life story, beautifully told.
    I confess to having a tear in my eye by the end.

    Kathy should be on the Graham Norton Show instead of the idiots he has as guests 😉

  10. Howie Gordon · October 18, 2020 Reply

    April! Nothing short of AMAZING.
    Quite a story. Well done!

    Howie Gordon, aka the ghost of Richard Pacheco

    • April Hall · October 24, 2020 Reply

      Thanks as always for the support Howie!

    • Kyl Sabyr · October 25, 2020 Reply

      Hey Howie, I loved your performance in the 1st “Talk Dirty To Me” And the spinoff, “Nothing To Hide” where you play the mentally challenged buddy of John Leslie. I just love how the judgmental and condescending prudes and purists who say porn from the golden age doesn’t have plots, just guys and girls to school each other unprotectively. I’m sure you’re glad to be part of something that was revolutionary and at the same time controversial, but will never be ever again. PS. I look forward to reading your book “Hindsight” real soon.

  11. Kyl Sabyr · October 18, 2020 Reply

    On Sundays, people look forward to getting the Sunday’s paper, Others tune in to the latest Rialto Report podcast Or a news article! That was a surprise!

  12. Jeffrey Zandrowicz · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Love this story, but i also love the background music leading up to the interview, especially “Strawberry Letter 23” great job all the way around

  13. JL Hayseed · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Wow! What an amazing story, April! I’m glad Kathy is alive and well. Thanks for letting us eavesdrop on your conversation.

  14. Ron S · October 18, 2020 Reply

    What– you can’t believe something just because it’s on the internet?

    Another mystery solved. Amazing work, April. Raymond Chandler would tip his fedora.

    I look forward to seeing ‘corrections’ at IMDB and elsewhere due to the to the tireless journalism of… the Rialto Report.

  15. Jim Stevens · October 18, 2020 Reply

    Halfway through (just starting the actual conversation with Kathy), but between the detective work and the amazing stroke of luck, just wow. Knew little of her other than her name but checking out “Centerfold Fever” and “The Seductress” on Pornhub’s streaming channel now.

    Now if only LisaDeLeeuw could be convinced…one can hope.

  16. Jeff · October 19, 2020 Reply

    That is a delightful interview. Kathy Harcourt is at heart an adventurer, and her time in the United States working in the adult business was just one of many life adventures. It was fun hearing her uncover the details of her experiences in real time. The sentiment she expressed of wishing more had come out of those times is one that struck a nerve with me. Good memories are wonderful to have but do not necessarily help one get through the changing demands of life.

    When listening to you say that no interviews are put out without the permission of he interviewee, I wondered if it was common for people to have second thoughts after doing an interview. I know something like that happened with the Pat Barrington article.

    Thank you for another great podcast.

  17. Isaac · October 19, 2020 Reply

    What a twist , what a life , what a woman !

    Rialto knocks it out of the park AGAIN , excellent podcast . April and Kathy , your laughter is infectious , cheered me up a bit , thank you !

  18. Frank F · October 19, 2020 Reply

    “Bloody Lovely” podcast! Thank you April Hall for your wonderful talk with Kathy Harcourt. This podcast came with a real twist. I first became aware of the Kathy Harcourt suicide/murder rumor when Jerry Butler referenced it in the commentary for the DVD of “Little Darlin’s” (1981), which co-starred Kathy. I watched that DVD 8 years ago, made many internet searches on this rumor, no luck. Listened to this podcast, expecting the full story of Kathy Harcourt’s death, and BAM! – here’s Billy Dee meeting a 50 something Kathy in England! Like a certain Bruce Willis movie from the nineties, I didn’t see that twist coming. Great to hear that Kathy is alive and well, and happy in her life. Thinking of “Little Darlin’s” again, saddened that Jerry Butler and R Bolla are no longer with us. Their commentary track on “Little Darlin’s” is hilarious and insightful.

  19. Bernhard Roos · October 19, 2020 Reply

    The Rialto is my favorite podcast of all time – and this episode is my favorite one.

    Kathy is a delight and I was entranced from start to finish. Wonderful conversation.

  20. Frank F. · October 19, 2020 Reply

    Another gem. The storytelling in particular and the writing is wonderful.

    And Kathy! Thank for agreeing to do this interview! You are the best!

  21. Jeff Robertson · October 19, 2020 Reply

    This is pre Danni Ashe and Dian Parkinson became queen of pinup model it was Kathy Harcourt from early 1980s pin-up magazine publisher keep up the good work April and Ashley I’m look for enjoy the podcast

  22. hollyfan · October 19, 2020 Reply

    What a great job putting this podcast together! Thanks!

    I wish you could do one on Holly McCall.

  23. Johnny Jones · October 19, 2020 Reply

    I heard it said here before – but to repeat it: the stories uncovered by Rialto Report are better than the golden age films. You don’t have to have any interest in XXX to find the beauty and humanity contained here.

    Kathy is a wonderful person – and you can feel her story emerge here in real time.

  24. ANONYMOUS · October 19, 2020 Reply

    I agree: make a film from this story!

  25. Lyle · October 19, 2020 Reply

    “Kathy Harcourt died tragically in 1984 in New York.
    I know: I read it on the internet.”

    The best start to a podcast, ever!

  26. Richard · October 19, 2020 Reply

    Who would ever believe that Billy and Kathy would cross paths again, 40 years later, all the while, believing that Kathy was gone? The odds of that are staggering! Another great story and warm ending from Rialto’s amazing staff. Congratulations guys…another home run!

  27. Mike Adamson · October 19, 2020 Reply

    What a great story! Big thanks to Billy Dee!

  28. Jason Wentworth · October 19, 2020 Reply

    Kathy is a star. Pure and simple. She may not have made many films but her charm and character warm the heart and will stay with me a lot longer than the films…

    Thank you Kathy.

  29. ken · October 19, 2020 Reply

    Listened to it three times already, and I enjoy it more every time.

    “Sex doesn’t last for ever. But films do.”
    – Kathy Harcourt

  30. Anthony Knocks · October 23, 2020 Reply

    Fantastic! There are few episodes of any podcast that I’ve enjoyed as much as this one. The story and reporting are gripping, Kathy’s history is amazing, her personality is captivating, and the rapport between her and April is so warm and unexpected. I’m saddened that money is a worry for Kathy now, and I wonder if this return to the public eye could be the basis for a profitable venture such as a book and/or movie. Or a podcast of her own–I could listen to her for hours.

  31. King Paul Fan · October 25, 2020 Reply

    Wow! what a twist !like everyone else I assumed she has been dead for the last 40 years. Glad to see that’s not true! and Billy Dee running into her? insane story. If Billy Dee ever runs into his costar from the 1985 John Holmes film Marina Vice Melissa Melendez I hope he will tell us what happened to her too!

  32. April Hall · October 25, 2020 Reply

    Hello all commenters – Kathy has asked me to post the following:
    “I am very grateful to you all and give heartfelt thanks for your good wishes. It’s made me feel a real person, not just a fantasy figure.”

  33. Keli Richards · October 26, 2020 Reply

    Thank you April for continuing to bring the talent from the Vintage Era back to life literally. What an incredible story especially when she was said to be dead. I could hear towards the end her need to let go of the secrets that can keep us imprisoned. I hope that she will one day be able to face the events that she so desperately wanted to share with you without worrying what anyone else thinks. All that matters is that we are happy with ourselves no matter what choices we’ve made in the past. I wish her well and regret not having the opportunity to meet her. And every word she said about Billy Dee, “Dido”

  34. Paul Murray · October 26, 2020 Reply

    Greetings from the U.K. where the British flavour of this hilarious podcast is all-too recognisable from the moment Kathy shooed her husband from the room….on air. Only the slow ticking of a grandfather clock was missing. I refer readers to the excellent film “Personal Services” which had a similar vibe as I’m sure Ashley and April would confirm.

    I am reminded of the great Reg Presley reflecting on the Troggs fame, “We weren’t Wild Things. Just a group of lads from Andover who preferred a nice cup of tea”.

    Love to be a fly on the wall at that reunion. Kathy, Nile and Billy already live here so it shouldn’t be too hard to organise.

  35. Andy · October 26, 2020 Reply

    Once Upon a Time in the Valley brought me to this site and it seems I’ve hardly left since! I’ve enjoyed so many of these podcasts – Jim South, Ginger, Christy etc and more but this one is my favourite so far. A fascinating story so well told. Well done April and Kathy.

  36. Joe · October 26, 2020 Reply

    What a very sweet and lovely person she is. The thing she won’t reveal is not very bad. It is common sense, since her profession as a pornstar is described as “someone who has sex for money.” All pornstars, female & male(if they are halfway decent looking) did and do what she is talking about .I hope she is not ashamed. And doesn’t think it is uncommon. Even today, when girls (or if guys still do) go on the road stripping , they do what she is talking about. It is just their personal business.It was wonderful for her to share her story. If she has been misled and think what she did is unique , I want her to know WTF, Everybody did or does it. Don’t feel any guilt Sweet Lady. Stay good..

  37. Chris · October 27, 2020 Reply

    Quite the plot twist, but I’m just wondering who the body found in the river was.

  38. Kpants · October 30, 2020 Reply

    Funny how many myths and fictions about stars from the Golden Age exist. What a cool story this is. Now when I see old footage of Kathy I don’t have to feel sad about her. This was a delightful interview. She was super sexy. Gives me hope that Brooke West will eventually be interviewed. 🙂

  39. Don · October 30, 2020 Reply

    That was fantastic on so many levels. You did a superb job of not only finding her but also helping her in recalling parts of her life that were great as well as times that were not so great and giving her the confidence to let the rest of the world listen to her story.

    This was easily one of the best podcasts I have listened to. Please let Kathy know that she has nothing to be worried or ashamed about about in her journey, quite the opposite. She had a tough childhood but she went into the world not with bitterness but with a determined, joyful spirit to make the most of the cards she was dealt.

    It gives me so much happiness to find that she has found love and has her own family that care for her after all she has been through. Bravo!

  40. John R. · November 5, 2020 Reply

    Superb investigative reporting, April!
    The Rialto report has done it again.

  41. melthewriter79 · November 11, 2020 Reply

    Absolutely fan-bleeding-tastic, I am a new fan of your amazing work. You did a completely thorough and masterful job. I’ll be listening to everything you do from here on out.

  42. Mark · November 21, 2020 Reply

    Love this episode and so glad Kathy is well. I must say I didn’t know much about her but WOW what a cutie! Also I was confusing her with another British actress Paula Meadows who was also a cutie. Thanks for another great one!

  43. Polarpooh · November 21, 2020 Reply

    Incredible! One of the most fascinating discoveries in the “Where are they now?” sections of Adult Films! Kathy Harcourt was an amazing performer back in the day. I was devastated to hear about the news of her death. So to hear that she’s alive and well was such a relief. Just proves you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    Hoping to hear from Kristara Barrington soon.

  44. Wil · January 23, 2021 Reply

    Wow! As a kid, I remembering sneaking and watching a movie, or two, that Kathy was in. I too had read about the rumors about her “death.” Normally I wouldn’t comment, but I am doing so because it’s refreshing to know that this story has a very different and positive “ending.” God bless her and her family as she truly sounds happy and content. Kudos, this was a great interview/podcast. 👌🏾

  45. Brian Christgau · January 24, 2021 Reply

    AMAZING! One of your best episodes yet. It starts out as a tragedy, turns into a detective story and then we get a happy ending! Kathy wasn’t in too many films, but there was a real warmth to her.

  46. William W · February 18, 2021 Reply

    What a fantastic podcast! Not just a great oral history of a performer, but a compelling mystery that took some many twists and turns.

  47. Rob · March 1, 2021 Reply

    Just listened to this and was enthralled throughout. Kathy’s story is so amazing and was so good to learn she is alive and well.

    Have long admired this site and this is one of your best podcasts yet. A superb piece of investigative journalism.

  48. Guy · March 12, 2021 Reply

    Hello April! I just finished listening to this ‘hilarious’, but genuinely delightful podcast. I must also say, this is the first podcast over 30 minutes long that I listened to in full. The bits with Billy Dee were great. Kathy’s lack of memory is so full of B.S. you had to laugh. There is sooooo much more to her story. Shame she didn’t open up fully. You on the other hand are outstanding. I look forward to following you more. Guy

  49. Julian · March 30, 2021 Reply

    As for the death rumors, people love to gossip and pretend they’re ‘In The Know’ so they get in the limelight for a brief time. Also as mentioned, it could have been a PR move.

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