By Denise LaFrance,
One thing a lot of people may not know about my friend Marilyn Chambers is that she was a talented singer.
When she was in New York, she had been doing a song-and-dance routine in a show at the Empire State building for 4 months in the Riverboat Room.
Rocky Ioki, who owns the Benihana chain of Restaurants was a big fan of hers.
He commissioned Marilyn to write, record and sing a song called “Benihana”. That song was recorded during the Disco Era Craze; when people would go to discos and dance the night away to disco records that would go on and on; forever and ever and ever.
“Benihana” was a sexy type of song; with a very catchy beat.
Marilyn was also pursuing a legitimate acting career.
Had she *chosen* to, she could have been a very successful mainstream actress.
The first film that she was ever in was “The Owl And The Pussycat”, with Barbara Streisand and George Segal. That’s how she got her SAC card.
Marilyn was Robert Klein’s girlfriend. (Unfortunately, they forgot to put her name on the credits, but they did send Marilyn on a publicity tour throughout California where there were a bunch of openings at theaters.)
Way back, when Marilyn was in high school, she had tried pursuing a modeling career. She had great and encouraging teachers in high school..who’d say,”Go! You can DO it! “. So, brimming with self confidence, optimism and charm, young Marilyn took the40 minute train ride to New York City and bravely pounded the pavement.
Marilyn’s first stop was The Eileen Ford Modeling Agency.
Ford told Marilyn that she was “too fat” (which, of course, she wasn’t), that she “wasn’t pretty enough”, and that her ” eyes were too close together”…all kinds of discourageing insults –which we all recognize as nonsensical.
Marilyn Chambers was-and remained until her latest moment on Earth-a strikingly fresh, gorgeous and quintissentially perfect symbol of the “All American Girl”.
Eileen Ford clearly missed the boat of opportunity in failing to hire Marilyn Chambers.
Never one to easily be discouraged,the tenacious Marilyn persevered and went on all kinds of modeling auditions and ‘go-sees’.
She eventually found a modeling agency that welcomed her with open arms. She secured work in 4 television commercials: including ads for Clairol, Pepsi, Generation,and the famous Ivory Soap commercial.
Ininitially her parents had tried to discourage her.
Her Father, who was in the advertising industry wasparticularly discouraging to his daughter in order to dissuade her from pursuing a career in commercials and acting as he believed the business was full of cut throat sleaze bags. He’d often tell Marilyn that she “wasn’t pretty enough”
Eventually, her parents acknowleged she was on the right track when she landed the Ivory Soap contract.
Unfortunately, she’d been multi-tasking in the adult film world and, when the 2 worlds collided with their “debuts”, the soap company pulled down the boxes and ceased promoting and displaying all advertising which featured “Behind The Green Door’s” (in-) famous actress.
All said and done, I believe, given the medium she chose in adult films, Marilyn Chambers immersed herself in the field and gave a full and applaudable, focused effort which, in turn, resulted in her subsequent and well earned fame.
It is my belief that, no matter what field this wondrous spirit had selected, she would have given her full effort and, as is the case in her outstanding parenting skills, her focus was evidential.
So, like a shining star, while she may have visited our Earth for only but a brief flash, she did manage to make an indelible mark in MANY facets as a quality and respectable Human being…permanently etched in the hearts of her countless fans and friends and family.
I, for one, will miss her rapier-sharp wit, her effervescent laughter and her positive outlook on Life.
She was a nice person.