'Golden Goddesses' of Porn Light Up Hustler Hollywood

Jared Rutter

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The years rolled away Thursday night at Hustler Hollywood on Sunset Strip when a crowd of about 200 porn-lovers gathered to celebrate the release of a new book. Golden Goddesses by Jill C. Nelson is a collection of interviews with divas who lit up the XXX movie screen from 1968 to 1985, considered the Golden Age of Porn.

The hefty tome — 900-plus pages, $50 cover price — covers 25 women, and more than half of them showed up at the Hustler store to sign copies and meet fans.

In no particular order: Kitten Natividad, Rhonda Jo Petty, Kay Parker, Serena, Annie Sprinkle, Laurie Holmes, Nina Hartley, Veronica Hart, Ginger Lynn, Amber Lynn, Christy Canyon, Kelly Nichols, and late arrival Sharon Mitchell. Also: screenwriter Raven Touchstone, one of the few non-performers interviewed, who’s about to publish a memoir of her own.

Nelson, who earned porn-historian cred as co-author (with Jennifer Sugar) of John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches, seemed relieved that the book’s unveiling had finally arrived. “Now it’s fun,” she laughed nervously, looking back at three-and-half years of hard work. “But I think it’s gonna be fine.”

For the stars it seemed like old home week. Kay Parker oozed class, warmth and charm, as ever. Veronica Hart appeared on the arm of her Las Vegas high school beau. Annie Sprinkle had a brief moment of panic when she couldn’t find her lipstick, usually stashed in her capacious cleavage. She relaxed when it turned up in her clutch purse.

The women sat behind tables at the front of the store, and fans — who mostly seemed to be in the same age group — moved down the line with their copies of the book, much as they might have back in the day at CES in the Sahara Hotel in Vegas.

There were quite a few guests from the same period, including directors Bob Chinn and Cass Paley, actors John Seeman and Richard Pacheco, and still photographers Kenji and Joel Sussman. It was Sussman who snapped the book’s stunning cover photo of Serena, “in my backyard in 1974.”

Attendees from a later porn generation included Debi Diamond, director Ernest Greene and actor-director Luc Wylder with significant other Alexandra Silk.

Bill Margold, who like many of the stars was there at X’s beginning, emceed the proceedings, finally getting the chatty crowd to quiet down enough to hear him read a letter from interviewee Gloria Leonard. He called the event “a once in a lifetime experience” full of “a whole lot of love for people that we love.”

Then he turned the mic over to Nelson, who read a few excerpts from the book’s introduction. She was effusive in her praise of her subjects, whose current ages, she said, range from 46 to 76. “This is a really good representation of the era I wrote about.”

Then she paid them the ultimate tribute: “I would go into a foxhole with any one of these women, any day of the week. They are awesome.”

Another round of star appearances was scheduled for the following night at Larry Edmunds Bookstore on Hollywood Blvd.

Related: