Believe it or not, I never intended to become the queen of 1970s porn chic. I started my career as a mainstream actress and model.
In fact, I landed a small role in Barbara Striesand’s movie, The Owl and the Pussycat (for sure, what an ironic title for me), and was chosen to be the model for the “Ivory Soap girl on the Ivory Snow soap box, posing as a mother holding a baby under the tag line “99 & 44/100% pure” (what an even more ironic title).
I came to San Francisco thinking it was the place to pursue my “serious” career, which didn’t take off. Then I met Artie and Jim Mitchell…and the rest is history. The boys had to talk me into Behind the Green Door – I feared that it would ruin that “serious” carrer. It did, but made me a ton of money, and fame. No such thing as bad publicity, I guess. Suddenly, that old Ivory Soap box was worth a fortune and became my trademark.
One more flick with the Mitchell Brothers, the Resurrection of Eve, and we had a falling out because I had a falling in with Chuck Traynor, Linda Lovelaces’s ex-husband and ex-agent. Know what the Brothers did then? Made an unauthorized and inaccurate film of my life called Inside Marilyn Chambers. Well, I figured if you can beat them, join them, so I took a deal that gave me 10% of the gross if I promoted it.
Again, I was now ready for my “serious” career. Hollywood blackballed me. I starred in Rabid and did some stage work and singing, but a gal’s got to make a living…so I did Insatiable, where I played one Sandra Chase, an actress and heiress whose appetite for sex is insatiable. It was a hit. What can I say? I’m damn good at it. The flick was the top-selling adult video in the U.S from 1980 to 1982 and was inducted to the XRCO Hall of Fame. And why not milk it? Insatiable II came out a few years later.
I continued to try to go mainstream but my baggage would never fit through those tight Hollywood doors. In 2009, I went to that great Adult’s-Only Casting Couch in the sky.
In 1985, performing at the Mitchell Brother’s O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, Marilyn was arrested for “lewd behavior and soliciting prostitution.” It was front page news in The City.
In 1999, at a return to San Francisco for a show at the O’Farrell Theatre, Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed an official “Marilyn Chamber’s Day.”