27 August 2007

Give Me Porn or Give Me Death:
The Perils of Exploitation

I've always found Savannah's story quite sad; like a tale of a naive little kid lost in a maze.

Flight From Beauty...

Born October 9, 1970 in Mission Viejo, California, Shannon Michelle Wilsey Longoria commonly known by her "stage name" Savannah. She reportedly took her porn name from Savannah Smiles, a 1982 movie she enjoyed.

Savannah was a porn star, starring in more than 100 films during her career. One of the most high-profile porn stars of her time, she achieved notoriety within her short career (1990-1994) due to her on-screen presence as well as her off-screen life.

When Savannah's parents divorced two years after she was born, she moved to Texas with her mother. When she grew older, she lived briefly with her father in Oxnard and then with her grandparents in her hometown of Mission Viejo.

At the age of 13, Savannah learned that Joe Longoria, the man who had raised her, was not her biological father. This hit Savannah very hard and she became very confused, angry and restless. Soon afterward, Savannah began to transform into a "wild child" and became a groupie.

She moved in with founding Allman Brother, Gregg Allman for nearly two years before she was 17. Savannah became pregnant with Greg but miscarried.

After breaking up with Allman, she moved in with Steve Vai/David Lee Roth/Mr. Big bassist/soldier of fortune Billy Sheehan. When she began working as a nude model and porn actress around 1990, she and Sheehan parted ways.

During the time of the Gulf War, Savannah posed nude near tanks and fighter jets which she claimed was an effort to boost morale of deployed U.S. military forces. Savannah had also said that she hoped this would help jump start her career in a manner similar to Betty Grable.

Savannah fell into the porn industry's stereotypical traps of drug use and excessive spending, and reportedly had severe financial troubles despite her substantial income. She also garnered a reputation for being difficult to work with and egotistical.

Still naive Savannah was involved with several other well-known musicians including Vince Neil, Billy Idol, Slash and Axl Rose. On more than one occasion she tended to desire a serious relationship, while her partners wanted only a "fling". This led her to heartbreak on more than one occasion.

Savannah had her longest relationship with Pauly Shore and although she frequently rubbed elbows with mainstream Hollywood, Pauly Shore would be the only one from that circle who showed up to her funeral.

Around 2 a.m. on July 11, 1994, Savannah drove herself and a friend, Jason Swing, home from a night of partying. According to reports, they were both drunk.

One block from Savannah's home, she drove her white 1993 Corvette into a fence, suffering cuts to her face and breaking her nose.

When she and Swing got to her house, she sent him out to walk her Rottweiler, Daisy.

Savannah immediately called her friend and manager Nancy Pera and hysterically begged her to come help her.

The most popular theory was that Savannah - impulsive, depressed, alone and convinced her career was over due to the cuts on her face and her broken nose - decided to seize fate.

After looking in the mirror at her bloodied face and broken nose, sobbing, Savannah grabbed the 9mm she kept under her pillow and shot herself in the face.

When Nancy Pera arrived, she found Savannah lying in a pool of blood but still breathing.

After nearly 12 hours in a coma, Savannah died at the hospital.

After her death, Savannah's family swapped angry public statements of blame with her friends in the porn industry.

For the 23-year-old Savannah, it was the most outrageous act in a short but outrage-filled public life. It was also the third major suicide in Los Angeles' adult video industry, whose most valuable and pampered commodity is beautiful but often troubled young women.

In 1984, 20-year old porn actress Shauna Grant shot herself in the head with a rifle.

In 1990, 26-year old Megan Leigh shot herself in the mouth after buying her mother a $500,000 dream house. Megan ran away from home when she was 14. By 16, she was working at a Guam massage parlor and at 18 began dancing nude. Leigh was in a relationship with another woman and had moved in with her. Her family denounced and rejected her for "becoming a lesbian" and Leigh became despondent.

Porn and death: Objectification, dehumanisation...

Here is a startling list of other porn stars who have committed suicide:
Tim Barnett
Kyle Carrington
Camilla de Castro
Angela Devi
Jon Dough
Christian Fox
Cal Jammer
Alex Jordan
Karen Lancaume
Mary Millington
Johnny Rahm
Silk Smitha

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Savannah had the best body of any pornstar. Her hip bones and the way they connected to her pelvis created the most perfect hour glass figure in movie history. Naturally gorgeous thighs. Great rear end, back, arms, shoulders, neck. Her boob job was a classic; perhaps the best ever. The surgery on her face did lead to her becoming truly gorgeous. But then she couldn't stop herself from getting her eyes done and done. Byt the end, her eyes looked a bit freaky. But for shear gorgeousness with an hourglass figure, you gotta love Savannah.