Gloria Leonard Memorial at CSC 2/27
PORN QUEEN, CIVIL LIBERTARIAN GLORIA LEONARD DIES; PUBLIC INVITED TO MEMORIAL EVENT AT CENTER FOR SEX & CULTURE (FEBRUARY 27, 2014)
All are welcome to celebrate the extraordinary life of Golden Age porn queen, publisher and free speech advocate Gloria Leonard, who died on February 3rd at her home in Hawaii. Leonard hit the porn world with a role in what many consider the greatest X-rated movie of all time, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, porn auteur Radley Metzger’s riff on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (the rags-to-riches story also immortalized–less explicitly!–in My Fair Lady). Leonard also worked with the Free Speech Coalition, among many other accomplishments. Gloria’s dear friend Annie Sprinkle joins Carol Queen to host this memorial gathering, and we’ll welcome Gloria’s colleagues, friends and fans to celebrate her life. We expect to include Howie Gordon, aka Richard Pacheco (author of the recently-released memoir Hindsight), and Sharon Mitchell, reminiscing about Leonard and their time together in the adult industry. We also hope to see CJ Laing, Kellie Nichols, Jerry Heath, and perhaps more of Gloria Leonard’s Golden Age porn colleagues.
Leonard also published High Society magazine, hosted her own television show, and helmed both the Adult Film Association and the Adult Video Association. For more about her uncommon life, please read Annie Sprinkle’s beautiful tribute to Gloria, below.
For more about Gloria, here’s her NY Times obituary: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/06/arts/gloria-leonard-publisher-and-pornography-star-dies-at-73.html?_r=0
Leonard is survived by her daughter and granddaughter.
Remembering Gloria Leonard
Photo courtesy of Annie Sprinkle–Gloria is 2nd from left, next to Annie (far left); the other participants (L-R) are Veronica Vera, Veronica Hart, and Candida Royalle. The former members of porn star support group Club 90 reconvened for a panel at the Museum of Sex in New York City in June, 2012.
Gloria Leonard’s email address was “whatagal.” So true! Her adorable and wise smile was always close to the surface. Her passion, high energy, creativity, and playfulness made her a great adult entertainer, as well as a great (single) mother. A New Yorker through and through, Gloria could drop a quote by Lenny Bruce and George Carlin whenever needed, and in our wacky world of sex, it was needed often. She was one of the few Jewish women of porn’s “golden era,” besides myself. So, I was tickled when she told me she, along with her beloved daughter and granddaughter, would be bat mitzvah-ed.
Sex and the City didn’t have anything on our Club 90 porn star support group, which started way before the TV show. We met for over thirty years. The Kim Cattrall character could easily have been modeled on Gloria. Spicy, powerful, well dressed, sexy, and she shared her honest opinions even when it meant throwing a big kink in the works of a project or plan… often she was the Devil’s advocate. Part of her charm.
I’ll always remember Gloria Leonard courageously fighting for our freedoms. You could easily find her convincing someone to become a member of the ACLU. She would pull out her ACLU card to show that she herself was a lifelong member in good standing. Gloria organized a porn star contingent to march on Washington D.C. for “choice.” What a glorious trip that was. When Ms. Magazine’s cover story was a “round table discussion about pornography,” yet no one from porn was invited to sit at the table, Gloria organized a protest in front of the Ms. Mag office, and sent out a press release. She knew how to work the media.
Gloria faced down litigious censors for decades. She debated the Women Against Pornography on the college campus circuit—and usually won. As the publisher of High Society magazine, she confronted many sex negative attitudes, while simultaneously bringing lots of erotic pleasure to many. She also was an excellent editor and always corrected our spelling and grammar. Classy Mrs. Leonard could have been a great politician, but then, she was, in her own way.
Gloria Leonard had a brilliant wit and sense of humor. She always made us laugh. When Gloria had debilitating back surgery and was in the hospital in full body traction, she mugged for my camera–pin-up style. She was one of the first porn stars to strut her stuff on the burlesque stage. Her show would always end with Q and A, and her A’s had everyone rolling in the aisles. To be at a restaurant table, or at a party, when close buddies, Al Goldstein and Gloria Leonard, were kvetching, sparing with their sharp wits, it was nothing short of side splitting and spectacular.
Our last in the flesh Club 90 meeting was in the summer of 2013 at Veronica Vera’s wedding and Glo looked stunningly beautiful, from head to toe. She was the elder of the five of us, yet she was healthy, so her death came as a big shock. I so hope she didn’t suffer from the stroke. I wish she could have stayed around a little longer to receive a big wave of love and appreciation from all the many people who loved her. Club 90 shared much from our intimate lives; our ups and downs, our wounds and successes, our ins and outs—most of which will remain confidential. However I will tell you that Gloria always followed her muse, was true to her Self, true to others, and lived with great integrity. The grand dame of porn was a grand friend, and a treasured soul sister. Thank you, Gloria Leonard. –Annie Sprinkle
About the Center for Sex & Culture: Founded by sexologists Carol Queen and Robert Morgan Lawrence in 2000, the Best of the Bay winning nonprofit Center for Sex & Culture houses a library, gallery, archive, and hosts sex education and cultural events. Its mission is to provide judgment-free education and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health. See more at: http://www.sexandculture.org/ To request to be included on press or email events lists, please email email@example.com
Event in Brief: Gloria Leonard Memorial Gathering Thursday, 2/27, 7pm * Center for Sex & Culture, 1349 Mission btw. 9th and 10th Streets, San Francisco, CA 94103 * Fans, porn colleagues, and the public all welcome — over 18 only, please.