Lovebytes With Bob Berkowitz Interview:
Eric Danville and Linda Lovelace
May 2, 2001
(transcript courtesy of Luke Ford)
Bob: "Eric, why another book on Linda Lovelace?"
Eric: "Because she's got the best story in the adult industry. Having been a star from the beginning and helping to create the industry. Then a couple of years later, going against it, and saying she's not a fan of pornography. Her story runs the whole spectrum. "I'm putting things into perspective. Deep Throat came out 30 years ago... I've wanted to straighten everything out. Tell where people have the wrong ideas and the right ideas. And I wanted to show how her fame affected her life."
Bob: "Linda, how did you become Linda Lovelace?"
Linda: "I had the misfortune of meeting Chuck Traynor. He started out as a nice person and then did a complete 180 and beat me up from that day forward, physically, mentally, psychologically... The psychological damage will never go away. Linda Lovelace became a fictitious character who did everything she needed to do to survive and be alive today."
Bob: "It was never your intention to become a porn star?"
Linda: "Never. I will never be able to walk away from the name..."
Bob: "If it was so troublesome, why would you cooperate with a book that has so many pictures of what you did that you find so abhorrent now?"
Linda: "I'm not too pleased with the amount of pictures that are in there. Eric mentioned a few. I never expected there to be so many. I'm kinda disappointed. I think my story needs to reach all levels of society. A lot of people, even after 30 years, still think that I was a super sex freak that Mr. Traynor created."
Bob: "The cover is you topless with just 'Lovelace' covering your breasts."
Linda: "It doesn't bother me being topless. I did the Legshow magazine in January of 2001. I'm completely dressed in it. And I don't think there's anything wrong with being sexy as a grandma. And a great grandma too. Sex per se is not an evil thing, what happened to me is an evil thing. That I was beaten and forced into it wasn't right."
Bob: "Who is Linda today?"
Linda: "Linda is always late, a procrastinator. My middle name is Murphy. And I proved that walking out of the Sheraton. I'm just another human being who lives week to week and enjoys the hell out of my grandchildren."
Eric: "She's a very nice lady and a lot more open minded than people would think. Mainly because she did cooperate with me on this book and gave me an exclusive interview in the back. She knows I work in the adult industry and she gave me the first interview with someone she knows works in porn in 25 years. "She answered every question I had. I offered to show her the questions beforehand and she said, she'd just do it. "Linda was only actively participating in the adult industry for about six months total. It's changed a lot in great part because of what happened to Linda and the notoriety that she got. Women are not yanked off the street and coerced into it. There's a profit motive for women being in it. It's something that women do by choice now."
Bob: "There's not the exploitation that might've happened during the Linda Lovelace era."
Eric: "No, definitely not. There's a lot of self exploitation which I support totally. But as far as people being coerced into working in porno movies today, that doesn't happen."
Linda: "I would never say that it doesn't exist. Because everyone thought Linda Lovelace was a super sex freak and I was coerced into it. And had I been brought up to anybody, they wouldn't have known. And they couldn't have known. Because had I told the truth, I would've gotten more abuse."
Eric: "Some people did know back then. I think Damiano knew what was going on between you and Chuck. He sort've said that."
Bob: "I talk to a lot of people in the porno industry today and my sense is that these are very strong women who are dying to get into it. They think they're going to be rich and famous."
Eric: "They think they're going to be the next Linda Lovelace."
Linda: "I'm not rich and famous."
Bob: "When people come up to you today and go, 'Wow, Linda Lovelace!' How do you react to them?"
Linda: "I just act nicely to them. To them, I'm a superstar. An icon. It's like I was the star of Romeo and Juliet."
Eric: "She's very gracious when she meets people. That's true. She accepts compliments about Deep Throat and accepts congratulations on getting away from Chuck Traynor and everything."
Linda: "I've lost two jobs over the years because of being Linda Lovelace. I had the opportunity to go to Norway and actually march against the viewing of the film after all these years. There was a particular voice that said to me, 'Oh, why don't you just get over it?' There's no getting over it. It will be with me for the rest of my life. And I will hold my head up high and say, 'Yeah, that happened to me and I'm the survivor here. And if you want to listen to me, this is what happened to me. And if it happened to me, it can happen to you.'"
Bob: "What made Deep Throat such an event?"
Linda: "It bridged that gap that society has with viewing sex and discussing it. It was a so-called comedy. And when people can laugh at something that scares them and makes them a little uncomfortable, and feel more at ease, that opened the door to people to be more relaxed about it... "At [a movie memorabilia convention this past weekend], a gentleman came up to me and said he and his wife saw it and their whole sex life changed because they became more open with each other. And that's great. I'm just sorry that people feel the need to go see pornography to enhance their sex life."
Eric: "The man we have to thank for this, and Linda's not going to like me for this, is Al Goldstein of Screw magazine. He reviewed the movie and called it the best porno ever made, and as soon as the word got out, Screw was an up and coming paper, everyone respected its opinion about matters sexual, when he wrote that, lines started going around the block. And it just snowballed. "I'd like to think that, not in terms for Linda, but for the general populace, it changed things for the better. It opened up a lot of conversations about oral sex, about sexual relations between people..."
Bob: "Linda, porn has become so mainstream. It's middle America now..."
Linda: "I don't understand your question."
Eric: "I'm pretty surprised. In the last four or five years, with shows like this one and the Howard Stern Show, cable TV shows like The Man Show which has porn stars on. A lot of times, the only reason they would get into the news or on TV is if they committed suicide or as a joke. But there are some people who take them seriously. I think porn is an interesting phenomenon and it is certainly widespread but I don't think that it changes people's attitude a lot. "Companies started marketing Deep Throat on videotape in 1973 and would actually rent you a VCR since no one really had them back then."
Linda: "I think people are more open to communicating with each other now than they were."
Bob: "All for the better?"
Linda: "I think so. For the better. I think it will be better still when people can communicate with each other and not have to watch porn."
Bob: "But some people find porn entertaining and stimulating."
Linda: "I don't."
Bob: "I know that you don't, but some people do. It encourages lovemaking and trying new things. What's wrong with that?"
Linda: "There's nothing wrong with that. For people to communicate better sexually is great. That's the problem with half the marriages. That they seek porn, that's not my thing. I think they should just be able to talk to each other about it. And yeah, Deep Throat did open a lot of doors for people and to me that's great. Now why do they need to watch anything more?"
Bob: "Eric, you write an awful lot about sex."
Linda: "That's got to be bad for your sex life. After you write about it all day long, who wants to go home and do it?"
Eric: "Not necessarily. My wife is going to be on your show next week. The first time I saw her on your show, she was talking about the first time we actually had sex. "I think this country is really hung up about sex, especially with everything that happened with President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. He could've been stealing money right and left and he could've been ordering hits on Castro, but the thing that really pissed off people the most was that he was getting blowjobs in the Oval Office. "We're not as open about it as people in Europe or France..."
Linda: "I don't think it is nobody's business who the president does... He doesn't do anything different than what anybody else does in the world. If you took any business executive, I'd say that nine out of ten have had a little bit of experience like he's had. They didn't get caught."
Bob: "It's very interesting. You are not comfortable with pornography, kinda anti-porn, but you are a proponent of good healthy sex."
Linda: "Anyone who's ever looked at my Leg Show article, not bad for a granny. I have two cousins who look at me and say, 'You don't look like a granny.' There's no reason in the world that you can't look sexy at 89 or 29 or 19."
Eric: "That's one of the things that I brought out in the book. She told me at one point that she thought it was ok to look sexy, and I told her, 'I think some people would be surprised to hear you say that because they think you're repressed and hung up... She said, no, I'm just a normal woman who's got a normal woman's desires and likes to do what a normal woman does.'"
Bob: "Linda, are you married?"
Linda: "No, I'm not married please. That's one mistake I will never make again. I'm a firm believer that marriage is the first step to divorce. Why ruin a great relationship by becoming engaged forever? I would live with somebody but I will never marry again."
Bob: "Are you involved with anybody now?"
Linda: "No, I'm not."
Bob: "You can't get the book in bookstores or at Amazon? Why not?"
Eric: "Because I've been working in publishing for ten years and I am tired of getting screwed. It's a total business decision. I wanted to start my own publishing company anyway so this is my first release."
Bob: "Eric, you work in porn. Are there Chuck Traynors in porn today?"
Eric: "There is a certain element of Chuck Traynorism in some of them [suitcase pimps] but not to the extent that happened back when Linda was working in the business."
Linda: "You can't say that. You're not behind that closed door."
Eric: "I've met a lot more of them than you have."
Bob: "Eric, where do you think the porn industry is going?"
Eric: "A lot of them are running scared because they are worried about having John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Bush has said he's going to vigorously enforce anti-pornography laws."
Bob: "Linda, do you favor the government shutting down the porn industry?"
Linda: "No. I don't think there should be any sort of censorship in our society. What we need to do is educate people about what's out there..."
Eric: "I've read a lot of articles on her and I've never seen her say that the government should shut it down."
Linda: "It's so frustrating when everyone says, 'Well, how do we know that you were a victim?' At what age are we victims? Does a 13-month old baby wake up and say, 'I don't want a bottle this morning. I want a penis.' In this country we have a book distributed that tells men how to approach a schoolyard. What child to look for. The one that's over by himself. How to get that child to come home with you. And how to get that child to have sex with you. That still runs rampant in this country. And that's protected under First Amendment rights. And everyone says, 'I don't want to talk about child pornography. We all know that's wrong.' "Well, yeah, we do all know that that's wrong. But it exists. We have an instrument that we insert inside of a female baby to enlarge it in order to take the capacity of a man and the baby hemorrhages or bleeds to death. That's acceptable? That's ok? That's the type of pornography that I am totally against. And Eric says that there is absolutely no way that this is going on right now. I'm sure it is. Behind somebody's closed door, somebody is getting abused and forced into it."
Eric: "Not that I've ever seen, and I've been meeting women in this industry for ten years."
Linda: "Yeah, but you're not in Middle America where Suzy Bell has been told that hubby's bringing home six guys tonight. And live out in the middle of a farm. It does still exist."
Eric: "I see your point. I've done work for Leg Show magazine for Dian Hanson, a big fetish magazine. A lot of swingers write to those magazines, a lot of people whose lives are built upon multiple sexual partners and meeting them in hotel rooms and having consensual infidelity. Consensual infidelity is a big fantasy for some people."
Bob: "We're all opposed to child pornography."
Linda: "Everybody always separates it but they're related."
Bob: "Then you should be in favor of censorship."
Linda: "I'm not in favor of censorship. I'm in favor of people being aware of what's out there."
Bob: "One of the larger producers of porn films said, 'we're not interested in a child audience. We're totally interested in adults. We've never had a kid, we've never exploited a kid, we wouldn't want this to get into the hands of children. We're interested in entertaining adults.'"
Eric: "That's why I put the adult only banner on the book because I don't want kids looking at this."
Bob: "What did you tell your own children about sex?"
Linda: "That it is a beautiful thing. That falling in love is wonderful. Fall in love all your life and don't ever get married. My kids are open enough where they are enjoying themselves and my grandkids are too little now. They're almost four and almost one year old." Eric: "She's a wonderful grandmother."
Bob: "Your kids did get married?"
Linda: "My son got married and he's divorced. My daughter is living with someone."
Bob: "Which you support."
Linda: "Yes, I am all for that."
Deep Throat was Bob and Eric's first porn movie.
Linda: "I was out with my dad and his girlfriend down in Florida for St. Patrick's Day. And this girl looks over at me and says, 'Oh my God. You're Linda Lovelace.' And I went, 'How did you figure that out?' She goes, 'I've got the movie.' I say, 'It's 30 years later.' "They were sitting two tables away from us and I was fascinated by that. It still goes on like that. People can still remember that face. It still looks that familiar?"
Eric: "Yeah it is."
Linda: "I had a really decent job for a too morally strict company. As a temp, I was top of the line. My name was always up on the board and customers were always asking for me. So I decided to go on fulltime, and within two weeks, they separated our relationship because they found out about Linda Lovelace. And it had nothing to do with my work or my performance. That was the second time I lost a job because of that. It's caused some difficult situations for me in that aspect."
Bob: "We've interviewed Brandy Alexandre who says that she got fired from her job working at a cemetary in Los Angeles. Because they found out at one time in her life she was a porn star."
Linda: "That's totally wrong. It's discrimination to the maximum."
Bob: "Yes. But the reality is that it [porn] is a decision that will live with you for the rest of your life. "Do people still watch Deep Throat?"
Eric: "A guy that works at the video company that owns the rights to it says they print up 2000 copies a week."
Linda: "I haven't watched it."
Linda: "My son has been at parties where they say, 'Let's watch this,' and my son will just walk away and that person will never be his friend again. "My daughter's been confronted with the Playboy magazine [issue featuring Linda Lovelace] and she'll be like, 'You stupid F blank, loot at the blank date. And then she'll say, 'Do you want to know what really happened to my mother?' And she goes on a big long thing. She will confront it while my son will just walk away."
Eric: "Her daughter's read Ordeal. Her son hasn't read Ordeal yet."
Bob: "I have a friend, Candida Royalle, who was an on-camera porn star and now she makes them as a producer, director and writer."
Eric: "She's a very nice lady."
Bob: "I have no interest at looking at any of her films. Because it's not the person I know."
Eric: "I didn't see any of her performances until after I became friends with her and it was very weird."
Linda: "She does erotica too?"
Bob: "She's a director of adult films from a woman's point of view."
Linda: "I would find that interesting."
Bob: "I ought to hook you two up."
Linda: "We've met."
Linda says she's thinking of suing the most recent company that fired her.
Eric: "Was that the one where your picture was up on the wall as employee of the month?"
Bob: "It amazes me when I talk to these young people [starring in porn] and they will say, 'Oh yeah, my parents support me.' That a parent would say, 'This is great. I'm glad that my daughter is schtupping her guts out on camera.'"
Eric: "We did meet one guy at a convention over the weekend who was guiding his daughter through her adult career, making sure she doesn't meet the wrong people and that's she isn't mistreated."
Bob: "How did you two get hooked up?"
Eric: "When I heard that Ron Howard was planning to do a movie version of Ordeal, I wanted to get a straight writing credit. Not that I have anything against porn, but I wanted to be in Vanity Fair or something. So I got her phone number from the guy who works at Arrow Films and I asked her for an interview. I told her where I was working at the time. I worked at Screw. And she wanted nothing to do with me at all. So, I decided that instead of doing an article, I would do a book. And about a year and a half later, I called her up. One thing I remembered from Out Of Bondage was, why do people keep bringing this up again? I didn't want her to be totally caught by surprise. I didn't necessarily want her blessing, but I wanted her to know that this book was going to happen, and if she would give me an interview, it would make it as complete as I wanted it."
Bob: "Why are you helping to promote this book Linda? What's in it for you? Are you getting a piece of the action?"
Linda: "Yeah, not much. What's really in it for me is that I am helping Eric out."
Eric: "Yeah, she's great."
Linda: "I'm letting people see where it's really at. Now you're getting his opinion, he's pro pornography, and me, I'm against pornography. And the two of us met and it worked out."
Eric: "She's real nice and I'm real nice. We're two friends working off of each other's opinions."
Bob: "Is Ron Howard doing a film about your life?"
Eric: "No. Their option lapsed."
Linda: "It's not the first time. When it finally does happen, it will be because it is the right time and the right group of people."
Eric: "For 20 years, they've been trying to get that movie made."
Linda: "The only thing that's stopping it is someone with some insight [is needed to do it]. "I was looking forward to him [Ron Howard] doing it because no matter what he does, he always gives 100% honesty and truth and does a lot of research."
Bob: "Why doesn't someone do it?"
Eric: "Because of the subject matter, it would have to be an NC17 movie, unless you wanted to dilute it and not really tell the whole story. And I know that Linda is more concerned with having the whole correct story told. I've seen a copy of the script for the proposed Ron Howard movie and it wasn't very good."
Linda: "It was pathetic."
Eric: "It spent a lot of time talking about the publishing of the book, which really isn't the story. Getting the story out there isn't really the story. What happened with Linda and her perspective of getting away from Chuck Traynor, that is the beauty of the story."
Bob: "Why do you think so many people doubted you, Linda, and didn't want to believe your story?"
Linda: "Society didn't want to know that they were partially at fault too. They wanted to blame my father, my childhood, my mother, blame somebody. It wasn't anybody else's fault but society. We created the Mr. Charles Traynor that did this to me."
Eric: "When Ordeal came out, it made a lot of people feel really guilty about liking Deep Throat. They resented that. It was so much a part of some people's upbringing and insight into sex, that to have that taken away made them very resentful."
Bob: "Where is Chuck Traynor today?"
Linda: "I think he lives on a ranch in Nevada. He's going blind and is having a difficult time getting around."
Bob: "Does that make you feel good?"
Linda: "Only if he's suffering."
Bob: "Did you talk to Chuck Traynor, Eric?"
Eric: "No I didn't. Because I've read so many different interviews with him that I knew his story wouldn't change."
Bob to Linda: "What was the upshot of your relationship between you and Traynor? Did you ever sue him?"
Linda: "No. There are no laws for the victims of our society... The statute of limitations on your property has a greater length of time than on your personal body. Judges and lawmakers have to realize that you are not held captive for two-and-a-half years and abused on a regular basis and then wake up the next day and everything is peaches and cream. It takes years and years to get up. When my children were little, there were times that I would be playing with them, and get a flashback, and start crying. There were times when I was in bed with my husband and he would touch me in a certain way and it would be a total flashback. It takes a long time to heal all that."
Bob: "It's amazing you have such a healthy and comfortable feeling about sexuality today, given what you went through?"
Linda: "I'm not going to let him take something so beautiful away from me."
Eric: "She's very interesting. She's quite a woman."