Marilyn Chambers 1952 – 2009


Marilyn Chambers, probably best known for her role in Behind The Green Door, the first hardcore pornography to go mainstream, has passed away. Chambers had worked as a model and an actress before stumbling into the career that made her one of the great cinematic icons of the ’70s.

To many film fans, myself included, Chambers will best be remembered as the lead in David Cronenberg’s second commercial feature film, Rabid. Chambers plays Rose, a woman who undergoes experimental surgery that inadvertently changes her physiology such that she craves blood, with her victims becoming infectious psychopaths. Cronenberg originally wanted Sissy Spacek for the role, but when that didn’t turn out, producer Ivan Reitman suggested Chambers. Reading that back, I realize that Canada was a truly groovy place back then.

As great as Spacek would have been, Chambers’ combination of wide-eyed naivety and predatory sexuality adds a considerable amount of weight to what could have been Cronenberg’s sophomore slump. An ordinary woman transformed against her will, and without the capability to understand the damage she’s causing, Rose is one of the great misunderstood cinematic monsters of all time, and Chambers handles it wonderfully.

  • Morbid coincidence in that BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR was play just a couple days ago in Toronto.

    Has Cronenberg written an Obit or comment on Chambers yet? Was Chambers the first porn-actress to try to go legit. It’s an interesting dove-tail with Sasha Grey and also Traci Lords, and to a lesser degree Jenna Jameson.

    Which begs the question, why do I know so much about this stuff.

    RIP, Ms. Chambers.

  • Are you talking about the screening at Trash Palace? That’s my favourite movie theatre.

  • Yessir.

  • Rudy

    Marilyn brought many a night of sensuality to my house. If I new she was living in a trailer, I would have gladly invited her to stay at my place.