'Deep Throat' Star Linda Lovelace Took Porn Mainstream

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After the photo shot, Milton Greene pitched the images to Hugh Hefner for Playboy magazine, but Hefner turned him down. "He felt they weren't seedy enough," said his son.

"My father had great respect for the star," he said. "She had elegance and grace with no underlying or slutty issues or energy. Nothing like that. She was top-notch."

Lovelace, who died in 2002 from injuries sustained in a car accident, left a small body of work. After starring in the hardcore "Deep Throat," about a woman born with a clitoris for tonsils, she did an R-rated sequel and another 1976 film, "Linda Lovelace for President."

She published two autobiographies advocating for porn but later renounced them. After having two children, she left pornography. By the 1980s, she had become active in the feminist anti-pornography movement.

But her impact was lasting.

"When the film came out in the '70s, we were getting off the age of hippies," said gallery owner Mattei. "That's when we started to see things open up a bit when Linda Lovelace did 'Deep Throat.' It was right after the free love marijuana smoking of the 1960s. Everyone was craving something sensational.

"The critics were reviewing it because the public was clamoring for it. They were unafraid of the negative reviews," he said. "Celebrities went to see it. People showed up at the theater and brought friends and a case of beer, and afterward they would hang out. People recruited others to see the movie -- Frank Sinatra, Vice President Spiro Agnew, Truman Capote and Sammy Davis Jr.

"Once that barrier broke, women began to use their own sexuality. Slowly but surely the taboo was broken down."

But one year after "Deep Throat" was released, Lovelace made a couple of other poorly received movies and her acting career was over. She had money and marital troubles and alleged drug use.

The tasteful Greene photos, many fully clothed, are a reminder of a time gone by, as well as the aspirations of a woman who wanted to do more with her life, said Mattei.

"She was going to use her 15 minutes of fame to become a star," said Mattei, "to do something different than spread her legs on camera."

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