From Ron Jeremy to Sasha Grey: Porn's Biggest Crossover Stars
They've worked with Steven Soderbergh and conquered Bollywood.
This story first appeared in the Nov. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Ron Jeremy: Named the top porn star of all time by industry publication AVN, Jeremy has long been the public face of pornography. The 59-year-old actor, nicknamed “the Hedgehog,” has appeared in more than 2,000 movies during a career that began in 1978. Jeremy still performs in sex films, though he transitioned to mainstream work during the 1990s. His film credits include Orgazmo (1998), The Boondock Saints (2000) and The Rules of Attraction (2002). “These are things that put me on the map more than anything else,” Jeremy says between bites of a lunchtime salad at Rainbow Bar and Grill, a well-worn Sunset Strip haunt he frequents. Jeremy also served as a consultant on the sex-centric films Boogie Nights and 9-1/2 Weeks. On the TV front, he has voiced his own character on Family Guy and appeared on Nash Bridges. And appearing in 48 music videos, including a recent LMFAO clip, has helped him develop a cult following. These days, a large chunk of Jeremy’s income is derived from endorsement deals. He has lent his name to a rum called Ron de Jeremy (ron is Spanish for “rum”), which launched in 2011. Through the years, he has endorsed hot sauce, rolling papers, male enhancement pills, skateboards and cigars and has drawn revenue from RonJeremy.com. The Hollywood resident declined to say what these deals have paid but said promotional work easily can top $50,000 a contract. Says Jeremy, “I could stop doing everything and just sit in my house, watch TV, and I’ll still be making money.”
Jenna Jameson: Perhaps the most famous female adult entertainer of all time, Jameson, 38, performed during the explosion of Internet porn. In 2004, she released the autobiography How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale, a New York Times best-seller. She has appeared regularly on Howard Stern’s radio show, and her TV credits include Wild On … and Family Guy.
Sasha Grey: Grey burst onto the scene in 2006 and was the industry’s biggest star until she retired in 2011. While still filming porn, she starred in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience (2009) and had a multiepisode arc on season seven of Entourage. Other film credits for the APA-repped Grey, 24, include Quit and I Melt With You, and she is writing an erotic novel, The Juliette Society.
Traci Lords: Notorious for appearing in her first adult movie at age 16, Lords, now 44, had a successful porn career during the 1980s before transitioning to mainstream film and TV work. She was featured in John Waters’ 1990 cult classic Cry-Baby and went on to appear in such films as Blade and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Her TV credits include Roseanne, Melrose Place and Gilmore Girls.
Sunny Leone: Leone hasn’t attained the same level of porn stardom as the others listed here, but in India the 31-year-old actress is a sensation. Leone, who is of Indian descent, appeared in a handful of U.S. film and TV productions before heading to India to film the reality show Bigg Boss. That led to starring roles in Jism 2 and several other Indian movies. She is currently on hiatus from porn.