LOS ANGELES — Transgender performer Kimberly Devine, who appeared in more than 60 productions since her 1997 debut in "Portrait Of A TS" (Bizarre Video), passed away on Jan. 29 at the age of 40.
Born in Louisiana, Devine eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she became a pioneering TS star in the 90s. Her career spanned numerous studios like Vivid, Metro, Smash Pictures and Devil's Film.
Trans erotica producer Steven Grooby, who worked with Devine for his ShemaleYum.com site, wrote a moving tribute celebrating her contributions:
Kimberly Devine was a superstar. She was part of that group of girls, who came up at a very special time of the mid-late 1990s in Los Angeles and helped birth the modern genre of transsexual pornography. Kim was part of a group of performers that included Meghan Chevalier, Gia Darling, Lea Chase, Olivia Love, Lisa Lawrence, Barbie Woods, Gina and Brandy Scott who were appearing in video releases from companies such as Kim Christy, Devil’s Film and Androgeny. She was beautiful, she had a great smile, big-boobed on a great body and an eyebrow that raised with sexual enticement, at just the right time.
Kim was probably one of the gateway performers that introduced a lot of people to trans porn and it shouldn’t be underestimated how much these girls brought to the industry. In an age, when transsexual performers were few and far between, and far more marginalized [than] today, this group of about 15 models made up the total talent pool available to producers. The International Adult Film Database has Kimberly Devine listed as having 64 videos between 1998 and 2006. It’s virtually impossible for anyone with an interest in transsexual erotica not to have come into contact with her work during that time.
Shemale Yum was barely two years old in 1998, and Bob Maverick (now of Bobs-Tgirls) had just started shooting exclusive content for us. He was based in Los Angeles, he was known on the scene and he could shoot quality photos on film, which I then received by mail in order to be scanned and updated onto the website. Exciting times, as through my letterbox came envelopes stuffed with 5x4 photos of performers I’d only ever seen glimpses of, usually on box covers that I’d commissioned. I remember receiving the first Kimberly Devine images, and being excited about getting them onto the site where they were a huge hit. Black stockings, long black hair and those eyes…
In 2000, I was in Los Angeles and producing content for the website. I’d been introduced to Kimberly in Peanuts and she’d agreed to shoot with me. To be honest, it wasn’t the easiest shoot — she was typically late (almost every model on that shoot was late) and then needed nearly two hours to get ready for the shoot. She was used to turning up to studios with makeup and lighting guys — not some ‘Internet’ guy shooting with portable lights and a Sony Mavica on hard discs in a hotel room (the Ramada on Santa Monica in West Hollywood). However, she was a star and her photos shone. I shot two sets: one in red, which was awesome — but for me, the black dress, black stockings and the classy look, was one of my favorite shoots of that period.
Like so many of the aforementioned girls, Kim dropped out of the scene in the mid-2000s. She made one comeback in 2008, when Buddy Wood met her at a club and managed to secure a shoot — looking older but still great, it was a very popular return.
By the mid-2000s, there were more models, production values had dropped as the internet allowed producers cheaper and easier access to their customers and that magic time, of going to Peanuts, or the Queen Mary, and bumping into one of only a handful of TS pornstars was over. I’m not sure whether Kim or any of the girls of that time appreciate how famous they were worldwide — or if they ever got the true appreciation for it...
The Transgender Erotica Awards started in 2008 and although some of the models from that time have been given ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards’, Kimberly Devine has yet to be recognized there.
Kimberly Devine died on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 in Los Angeles. She was 40. Our thoughts are with her family.
Photos courtesy of Steven Grooby.