OUTSIDE DEEP THROAT 


Here is a story that I can never tell my grandchildren: Once upon a time, long ago, when I was a freshman at Seminole Community College, I went with my film class to see the popular movie Deep Throat. The movie, for those of you too young or too senile to remember, was hailed as "porno chic" after it debuted, appropriately, near Times Square in 1972. I shouldn't need to tell you the plot, although if you are completely unaware I'll drop a hint: The director, a former Queens hairdresser named Gerard Damiano, wanted to title his mob-funded masterpiece Teenie Tulip until he observed his star's unique talent.

Deep Throat's star, Linda Lovelace, died April 22, 2002, the result of a car accident a few weeks earlier on her way to dialysis treatment. The fact that the film, which brought Linda instant and questionable fame, was mainstream enough in the early '70s for a college professor to recommend as a field trip says a lot about the way 21st-century boomer society has changed. In fact, a documentary that recently debuted at Sundance, Inside Deep Throat, speculates that Deep Throat was the single symbol that outraged and galvanized the religious right toward its present tyranny about all things prurient.

Celebrating our First Amendment right to watch cheesy pornography, Inside Deep Throat – written and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and co-produced by A Beautiful Mind producer Brian Grazer – draws on news reports and interviews with cultural icons such as Norman Mailer, Hugh Hefner, Xaviera Hollander, Dick Cavett and Barbara Boreman.

The last name is the only one lacking instant recognition, and it is also the name of the only person who really knew Linda Lovelace, née Boreman. Barbara is Linda's big sister. Two years ago, when Bailey and Barbato's big cameras rolled into the retirement community where she lives, Barbara Boreman didn't flinch. She let them interview her in her own kitchen. But the first time they mentioned Deep Throat, Boreman held up her hands. As far as she is concerned, the film is an event in Linda's life, not her legacy.

I visited Boreman recently in her DeLand mobile home. When I called to say that I wanted to commemorate the third anniversary of Linda's death, she murmured, "That is coming up, isn't it?"

So was Boreman's birthday. When I arrived, a vase of fresh roses and a trio of cards were centered on her dining room table. "My daughters," she said, gesturing toward a portrait of three women on the wall.

Boreman herself is the oldest of three daughters born to strict Catholic parents in New York. Both her sisters and her mother are dead now, leaving only Boreman and her father, a former Eastern Airlines pilot and New York City cop. Of her parents, Boreman said, "My mother was the tough one."

Boreman wore a gold sand dollar around her neck and a neat yellow T-shirt reading "Friends Are the Blossoms in the Garden of Life." She reminded me of the respectable-but-savvy New York housewives I knew growing up: devoted to their families, but harboring no illusions.

Divorced twice, Boreman has led her own life, and by all accounts it's been a good one. She was the class poet at her graduation from high school, and she once won $500 on the TV show Strike It Rich. A former assistant supervisor for Reader's Digest and Capo Lifestyle Eyewear, she moonlighted as the bewigged stand-up comedian "Spiffy Lopez" for a couple of years. At 72, she still keeps busy cleaning houses for pin money. But I was here to talk about her infamous sister.

Orlando Weekly: Tell me about Linda's childhood.

Boreman: I really miss her. I was 16 when she was born … she was like my little baby. A really fun-loving, beautiful girl. [Boreman gets up and takes down a black-and-white head shot of Linda.] She was my favorite person. Just met the wrong kinds of people. I don't know if you know, but a documentary is coming out.

OW: Yes, I do. They showed it at Sundance. And you're in it, aren't you?

Boreman: Yeah, and I called them yesterday, I called California to see … they promised me that they would send me a copy. I got nowhere, so I called Brian [Grazer].

OW: Did they use anything from Linda's autobiographies?

Boreman: I don't know. I've got [Linda's autobiographies] Ordeal and Out of Bondage here. There's an intro by Gloria Steinem.

OW: Out of Bondage has an intro by Gloria Steinem?

Boreman: I like Gloria Steinem … . Recently, I just read they're going to bring back Deep Throat.

OW: I bet they will after this documentary.

Boreman: Who's going to get all that money?

OW: That's a good question.

Boreman: Linda made $1,200. Look at the millions that thing has made. The money should go to Linda's son and daughter and her grandchildren.

I haven't seen the documentary, but I heard that the opening scene has something to do with Deep Throat, which really upsets me. However, my daughter Cindy knows someone who's seen it. And she says it was done very nicely.

OW: Good.

Boreman: But again, who makes all this money? And this book that Mike McGrady [co-author of Lovelace's autobiographies] was making for her. He'd give her a few dollars.

OW: Who's Mike McGrady?

Boreman: Some writer.

OW: I guess he made most of the money on the books.

Boreman: She died penniless.

OW: I understand she had a kidney disorder.

Boreman: Dialysis. First she had a liver transplant [in 1987]. And then suddenly, she was here, terrible back pains, she went to the hospital. She went home, and that's when the doctor told her she had to go on dialysis. And she was on her way to have the treatment … [had a car accident and] went through the windshield. And she was on life support for a few days. She was 53. That was too young.

OW: How did it all start?

Boreman: She was down here, she met that [Chuck] Traynor [a lover who eventually introduced her to Damiano]. He was in my home at one time. I didn't trust him from day one. In fact, they came over to visit. She came downstairs, her hair in curlers, and she was halfway down, and she said, "I hate him." She looked up, and he was watching her. Later, I said, "Linda, what exactly do you do out there?" She said, "Oh, I'm Chuck's secretary."

A week later it got in the paper about the film. My husband and I were lying in bed watching the 11 o'clock news. I saw a priest standing in front of a theater showing Deep Throat. I said, "That's disgusting." The next day a friend called. She said, "If that's not our Linda, I'll eat my hat." I called my parents. Mom said, "That's not Linda. It's a nurse she knows." But my father actually went to see the opening scene of the film. He left, and vomited in the street.

OW: She said Traynor held her at gunpoint.

Boreman: They lived on a houseboat down in Miami. My father, I don't know, he got a call from her one day, "Please come and get me." She answered the door. She said to him, "What are you doing here?" And he [Traynor] was standing behind the door with a gun. She was a prisoner. It's just a tragic, tragic story. They just used her and abused her. Hugh Hefner – how come that place never gets raided? Linda was a frequent visitor. Sammy Davis was there. There were certain subjects I didn't want to hear. I don't know why in her moment of need no one came forward to help.

She was always good to me. She had such a great sense of humor. One Christmas a little box comes in the mail with two batteries and a note. The note said, "Gift not included." Linda wanted to come and live with me, wanted to bring her grandson. But I can't have children here [in a retirement community].

After the film, she starred in Pajama Tops [a Broadway show]. It opened in Philadelphia, but it was shut down. Whenever she tried a straight job and they found out [about Deep Throat], she got fired. She was very quiet, but she did a lot of public speaking toward the end. She was really, really good.

OW: How would you like Linda to be remembered?

Boreman: A lot of people say to me, "Oh, you're Linda Lovelace's sister." You know what I say?

OW: What?

Boreman: I never met Linda Lovelace.

Tags:

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2017 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation