Next week, February, 28th, will mark the fifty-third birthday of Dorothy Stratten. Every boy who grew up in the 1970s remembers Stratten; she was that beautiful. One month, I vividly recall waiting for my favorite TV show, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” because Stratten would be guest-starring as Miss Cosmos. She was also one of my first introductions to pornography. (I write at length about this in my book.) But, one aspect of her life, that I just started to think about, was the significance of her death, in 1980, to the entire porn phenomena.
Up until that point, the power of porn was controlled by a relative few; i.e. Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione. In the early-80s, with the advent of cheap VHS players, anyone with a cassette video recorder could make porn. The era of “glamorous” porn-chic was over. This “amateur” or “gonzo” trend endures today, but the contemporary breed of porn star, with the help of the ever-present Internet, has achieved a level of media saturation unfathomable to the Playmate generations. Back in the 70s, a sweet and innocent girl, like Stratten, could still wander into the porn-world, naively thinking it a comparatively safe stairway to bigger and better things. Now, the veil has somewhat been lifted. Girls are no longer coaxed: first doing nude stills; solo video-shoots; then, simulation scenes; and so on; until the hardcore goal is reached. Oftentimes, its straight to anal (the most deviant of porn sex.)
Sadly, Dorothy got duped. The slick talking Hefner, and her user boyfriend/husband, who looked like the stereotypical disco-macho man, complete with open shirt, gold dangling chains, and tight polyester pants, exploited a trusting young woman into selling her innocence. At the time, Hefner was also at the height of his greasy sleaziness. Stratten's sick killer-husband, seemed to ape the sexual lothario persona of the 70s Hefner; the ultimate porn consumer. Stratten was caught; she became a thing with no soul. Her consumption by the porn industry would foretell the countless losses to come. Perhaps, not as innocent, but with the same stars in their eyes, a flurry of desperate girls would flood Hollywood with hopes of stardom. For Stratten, like many of her later copycats: it all ended badly: she was murdered at the age of 20. God bless you always Dorothy.