Georgina Spelvin is a former porn star who was featured in a multitude of classic films in the 1970s and 1980s. Most will remember her as the lead in the sexual blockbuster The Devil in Miss Jones. Spelvin, who didn't enter the porn industry until she was 36, made a cameo appearance in Vivid Video’s 2004 remake The New Devil in Miss Jones. While she’s mostly known for her porn performances, having appeared more than 70 adult films, Spelvin has also’s worked in straight theatre and films. Most recently, at 73, she appeared in Massive Attack’s music video for the single "Paradise Circus." Her recent autobiography The Devil Made Me Do It is an engrossing, subjective account of her rise in the adult business and her life since.

Related gallery: Georgina Spelvin

Q: How would you describe your youth growing up, learning of sexuality?
In every new neighbourhood I entered – and there was a new one just about every month or so due to my dad's work with an oil company – unsupervised play was quite normal. Pre-World War II there was a code of ethics that ran deep throughout the core of small-town America. Neighbours were trusted. Kids played "you show me yours and I'll show you mine." Each new group I met wanted to know what the stranger from somewhere else knew about sex, as opposed to what the local versions were. The attention this brought me was about the only time I felt accepted, so I was always ready to share my "expertise" on the subject – accurate or not.

Q: In your initial experiences with dance and Broadway theatre, what led you to choose the pseudonym Georgina Spelvin when you were approached to do porn?
Jerry Damiano called me, about a year after I made the film, and asked me what name to use in the credits. I'd been making sex films at the rate of about one a month, still harbouring the notion that nobody would ever know, you know? I was using whatever silly name that occurred to me when a name was required. The Devil in Miss Jones, however, had been ... well ... a real acting job, and I felt it deserved a theatrical name. "George Spelvin" had long been the equivalent of "John Doe" in the biz of show, so I feminized it to "Georgina" and that's how that got started.

devil_made_me_do_it_cover.jpgQ: With the use of this alias, what did you think of having a porn identity and excelling in the field, apart from your dramatic interests?
"Excelling in the field?" How kind. I thought little about it. I was busy trying to bring the boys home from Vietnam and get Tricky Dick out of office. The films came along in a fairly steady stream without my having to put forth any effort at all and were a welcome source of income. My interests, dramatic or otherwise, were off in the never-never land of hippydom.

Q: What do you think of how sexuality was opening up culturally and socially in the '70s?
The vast difference between what people said was proper conduct and what people actually did had been a source of puzzlement to me from earliest memory. Hypocrisy was the first four-syllable word I trotted out for approval when I was a precocious toddler.

Q: How did you see the more mainstream stir and controversy around Deep Throat and did this influence your decision to work with Gerard Damiano?
I had never heard of Deep Throat when Marc Stevens suggested I contact Harry Reems to see if there was any work on Jerry's film that was scheduled to shoot the next week. This happened on the first hardcore film I did: an ambitious epic called High Priestess of Sexual Witchcraft.

Q: Had you any preconceptions about porn before you took on the lead in The Devil in Miss Jones that differed from the reality of its production?
Having just finished shooting my first sexually explicit film, I had no illusions. When Jerry asked me to do the role of Miss Jones (in addition to handling the craft services for the film – the job I initially intrviewed for) I saw it as an opportunity to create a character and to see if I really could act or not. When you've spent 10 or so years trying to "break into films" and have given up such delusions, getting a chance like that is not to be ignored.
Q: What do you think of the fame you achieved in the early-'70s with the role of Miss Jones?
It was something I never expected. This was a fuck film, for heaven's sake. I was never comfortable with it.

Q: What do you make of the interest in this erotic character – that her journey was later remade and deemed classic?
Devil was a film, as opposed to filmed sex. That was due to Jerry's vision, the cinematographer's consummate skill, the dedication and expertise of everyone working on it and, yes, the unusual happenstance that placed a trained (and not too shabby, if I do say it) actress in the role.

Q: Your scene with the snake is considered one of the standout moments in this film and you disclose some sense of closeness with this creature in your book. Did you find in the course of working with many porn films there were unexpected intimacies?
I'm still in love with Richard Pachenko – and his lovely wife and his three kids. No, we never "did it" other than in the film we made together. But I feel great affection for him, as I do for all the gorgeous men I was lucky enough to share intimacy with in the course of making a film.
Q: Do you miss the way porn involved storytelling and more movie-like structures in this period than what tends to be produced now?
As I've not been involved with porn since those days, and as it was never my entertainment of choice, I have no idea how to answer that. There were films made we called "loops" back then (and no doubt from the dawn of time) that were nothing more than the recording of sexual acts. There were even S&M films back then, I'm sure, though I was spared any contact with that particular area of erotica, fortunately. I'm a big sissy when it comes to pain.

Everything I see on the news tells me that the world is becoming a more violent and less friendly place every day. But then I read a historical novel (my major addiction) and realize that there's really nothing new going on. The only thing new is the distribution. Anyone who wants to partake of erotic entertainment has it at their fingertips, as 'twere. The greasy pages of Tobacco Road are far behind us.

Q: In writing a memoir, do you think porn sex is memorable, in ways different from how we may recall sex in actual relationships?
Oh, hell yes. Sex for work is ... well ... work. Even if it's work one enjoys, there is the obligation to fullfill someone else's expectations in order to receive one's daily bread. Love is ... well ... love. Sex is a lovely bonus benefit that comes with the territory.

Q: What do you think of your mother joining you when you were touring your strip act?

What a woman. My guilt over the pain my choices must have caused her is the fountainhead of my literary ambitions.

Q: You tell how you did double duty at times on porn sets, working with the food and performing sex. There are some, in films like Boogie Nights, who have likened porn processes to senses of the familial. Do you think that’s a good association?
Every theatrical endeavour – and I still consider the making of a sexually explicit film that – creates a family of the participants. No one would work as hard as you have to in such endeavours, with no guarantee of any sort of success, really, were there not the feeling that everyone was counting on everyone else in a mesh of sincerely affectionate co-dependency that mirrored a good family.
Q: You seemed a bit hesitant in terms of accepting a lifetime achievement award as a pioneer in porn. What do you think of the porn industry’s practices of recognizing its own?
Achievement must be recognized or it will wither on the vine.

Q: How did you feel about becoming famous, then, with the premiere of The New Devil in Miss Jones (in Toronto, of all places) and how stardom is accorded to some porn performers today.
I didn't expect it and was very uncomfortable with it, so I certainly do not begrudge it to anyone who seeks it.

Q: You mention other female porn notables like Marilyn Chambers, who was your contemporary. Are you interested in other porn memoirs, how women’s experiences of porn in the past differed from their experiences now?
Only after I published my book did I start to read others' accounts of their experiences. I was amazed at the level of writing skill, insight, humour and entertainment that I found. If I'd read them before I wrote my own, I might never have had the chutzpah to do so.

Q: It’s interesting what you’re saying in the recent Massive Attack video “Paradise Circus,” about how you couldn’t get into prostitution but you could readily have sex on camera. How do you think it feels different – exhibiting sexually on camera?
When you are in the make-believe world in front of a camera, anything is possible.

More info: Georgina Spelvin's website
Shop online: Devil Made Me Do It

7 Comments | Add a Comment
I saw "The Devil in Miss Jones" when I was in my 20's and always remembered it. It was a real "class act" as were several other films of that era. I'm glad Georgina is doing well and seems content with her life. She is a very intelligent woman, BTW I always preferred her breasts to the silicone ones of todays so-called porn stars. Love ya Georgina.
Read your interview with Georgina. Remember seeing her in the Devil in Miss Jones. I was younger and had a greater prurient interest then. I liked your interview and the questions you asked were excellent. I always wondered where the borderline was between prostitution and performance, this interview clarified things. I am indifferent to most porn today, maybe because the plots are horrible, acting non existent and sex very mechanical. A combination of a lower libido and maturity turns me off completely...
I adore Georgina Spelvin. I was familiar with the story of Miss Jones, how she was hired first to do craft services. Then the lead quit (Chambers?) and she stepped in. I'd also read (her account) that the DP scene was what she thought was the rehearsal, as it were.M
Good interview. The porn movies I've seen (late at night on TMN) are lacking in stories, character, etc. And even if there are stories, the stories border on the ridiculous or are so poorly done it's a joke. I gather these movies are aimed at men. Not much out there for women.
That's a very interesting read.
Looks fantastic.
She's great. Love the interview!
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