NEW YORK — Candida Royalle, one of the pillars of the adult entertainment film industry, died this morning. She was 64.
A performer-turned-porn director and producer, Royalle trained in music, dance and art in New York when she was in her adolescence.
Later, she laid the groundwork for what many know as the porn filmmaking we have today. She performed in more than two dozen adult productions.
She founded Femme Productions in 1984 in order to make female-oriented erotica and films aimed at couple’s therapy. Later, Royalle authored “How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do: Sex Advice from a Woman Who Knows.”
Several years ago, Royalle was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. She found out in 2010 of the diagnosis.
Royale in a 2014 interview with SmashingInterviews.com said that she took a long and hard look at pornography when she jumped into directing.
“I had to look at it from my own eyes and not what the culture told me I was supposed to be feeling,” she said at the time. “I really feel like there’s nothing wrong with people performing erotically, sexually for others to view and enjoy as long as everything is consensual, and the performers are not doing it under duress or being forced in any way, and the people watching are choosing to watch as long as no one’s getting hurt, and there are no children or animals involved.
“Humans have been curious to look at erotic art and explicit sexual art forever since they etched and carved images into caves on walls, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. What I did feel was that these movies were being sold on the backs of women, and there was nothing about women’s sexuality.
“Women had no voice in the movies, and it was time for that to stop. Women were curious because of the women’s movement that gave them permission to explore their sexuality. Women were curious and wanted to see if there were some sexy movies they could enjoy with their partner, and there was nothing out there for that. That was a booming market that really needed to be provided for, and no one was noticing. I thought I’d be the perfect person.”
In recent years, she was was attempting to raise funds for a documentary entitled “While You Were Gone” that was to detail the search for her birth mother.
Outpouring of sympathy was rampant on social media on Sunday.
"Very sad news, a life unparalleled, never to be forgotten," said Chauntelle Tibbals, a noted sociologist and adult industry expert.
MakeLoveNotPorn.com CEO and founder Cindy Gallop called Royalle a "true pioneer, visionary, leader, artist, entrepreneur, activist, role model, mentor and friend."
Adult film legend Nina Hartley remarked, “I am greatly saddened by the passing of Candida Royalle, a true pioneer, visionary, artist, friend and mentor. She set the standard for ethical, conscious and ground-breaking adult entertainment.
“As beautiful inside as she was on the surface, she was a stickler for proper treatment of performers before it was trendy. She was laughed at for thinking women's perspectives on sexuality were important, but everyone stole that idea from her. She started the ‘couple's porn’ phenomenon, which continues to this day.”
Hartley continued, “She was a fierce, proud feminist. She navigated the male-dominated world of sex toy design and development, and led the way as an entrepreneur in a very challenging marketing environment. Five years before the Pink Ladies Social Club began she and her friends in New York City started Club 90, a peer-support group for women in the adult entertainment industry.
“A dedicated heterosexual, she was kind enough to let me flirt and dance with her. She had style, dignity, self-worth, intelligence to burn and never gave up on love. She enjoyed the finer things in life without shame.
“She loved her home, her cats, her friends and the life she made for herself, on her terms. I will always regret that I never was able to visit her at her home on Long Island but it is a comfort to know that she was surrounded at the end by those who loved her and whom she loved. We should all be so lucky to have friends like she did, or to be the kind of friend that she was.
“R.I.P., Candida. You made a difference in the world.”
Angie Rowntree, the founder of Sssh.com, remarked: "It goes without saying Candida will be greatly missed — her indomitable, independent spirit, in particular."
"Thankfully, she left behind an immense and stunning legacy for us to admire and appreciate, and to which we can turn to for inspiration and encouragement," Rowntree said.
"Now, upon her passing, it falls to the rest of us to make sure Candida’s impact carries on with the full force it should have. We can never replace her, but we can honor her vision and carry on her legacy, by striving to match her commitment and artistic integrity, and by carrying on in the tradition of her brilliant, always wide-open mind."
XBIZ's Dan Miller contributed to this report.