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Ballad of Narayama

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Marilyn Chambers, 1952-2009

Marilyn Chambers, star of "Behind the Green Door," "Insatiable," "The Resurrection of Eve," David Cronenberg's "Rabid" (opposite Christopher Walken) and millions of Ivory Snow detergent boxes has died at age 56.

At, Mary Elizabeth Williams writes:

As an aspiring model in San Francisco in 1972, she answered an advertisement for a role in a new film being made by strip club owners Jim and Artie Mitchell. The movie was "Behind the Green Door," a hardcore odyssey involving the abduction and ultimate sexual transformation of a young woman.

It was the same era that "Deep Throat" (1972) and "The Devil in Miss Jones" (1973) were radically reinventing the culture of adult entertainment. Porn was no longer just for creepy guys in seedy theaters -- it was something grownups could admit to watching, enjoying and, later, discussing. "Behind the Green Door," with its taboo-shattering interracial cast, was a benchmark, but it was the revelation that Chambers had appeared on the Ivory detergent box, clutching a baby in a beatific, 99.44 percent pure tableau, that cemented her fame. That such a wholesome, smiling girl could be the assured, adept centerpiece of all manner of exotic acts was fascinating. The ultimate madonna/whore of her era, she represented a dichotomy that perplexes, intrigues and infuriates still.

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