#1: Traci Lords



Other aliases: Tracy Lords, Rita

Origin: Steubenville, OH

Born: May 7, 1968 as Norma Louise Kuzma

Years active: 1984–1986

Similar actresses: Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Nina Hartley, Vanessa Del Rio, Seka, Hyapatia Lee, Lisa De Leeuw, Sibel Kekilli, Catherine Ringer, Marilyn Jess, Olinka Hardiman, Tiny Tove, Candye Kane, Tiffany Walker, Brittany O’Connell

We’ve finally reached the number one spot of this installment of “50 Greatest Pornstars” and thus this deserves some extra introduction for more than one reason. First of all, the decision to include this particular pornstar was probably one of the hardest I ever had to make in this context: on the one hand due to the controversial nature of the subject at hand, on the other hand because we’re definitely talking about one of the biggest and most notorious legends in all of porn history, and one of the three greatest pornstars in my own porn canon. Seriously, my view on porn would positively not be the same without this woman. So this being said, enter Norma Louise Kuzma, much better known under her alias – and by now her actual name – Traci Elizabeth Lords.

I can’t exactly remember when I saw her for the first time – it might have been a magazine, a digital picture or a video tape. What I definitely do remember is how very much I was struck by her. She wasn’t even as physically perfect as for example Ebony Ayes (my other perennial favorite pornstar ever), as her boobs had this peculiar quality that made them look kinda weirdly V-shaped when they were hanging but looked absolutely perfectly puffy.-nippled and big when she was laying on her back or on her side. I hadn’t quite fully realized how much I loved a nice big ass on a woman back then – Traci’s wasn’t flat, that did it for me. Even her hair, especially that Aquanet-teased variant she would sport in most of her scenes, was anything but an automatic turn-on. No, what drew me into Traci Lords and never let me go was first of all *that face*. Slightly almond-shaped big dark blue eyes that exuded seductiveness as much as (pseudo) innocence. Her ruby-red lips could pout like none other and in the next moment reveal a set of brilliantly white teeth as her mouth turned into a grimace of sexual arousal and aggression. All of these features were found in a perfectly rounded doll-like face, making Traci Lords one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen then. And the rest of her body – some likable natural flaws notwithstanding – completed the physique of the horniest, sexiest and most desirable pornstar I had ever seen.

What I also very clearly remember is the first movie I ever saw Traci perform in. From a hidden video stash I picked up a tape called “Educating Mandy”. Although this was years after the legal case that would end her career in porn (and shake up the industry as a whole, see more about that below) this movie was legally available where I lived. It featured some of the late Golden Age of Porn’s biggest stars (and also introduced me to Christy Canyon who instantly became another favorite of mine) and had the classic pre-video quality of that era’s big budget productions. Traci played a young housewife who accidentally witnesses her husband (Harry Reems, the second hairiest male talent after Ron Jeremy) cheating on her and, after getting some verbal (and physical) support from her girlfriends, decides to pay him back the same way.

The first scene of that movie remains one of my most watched porn moments ever. The way this beautiful young woman undresses for her husband in front of the fireplace to reveal her fantaastic body, to then get carried away to the big bed and then getting fucked really good instantly became one of my defining porn moments. (In fact, I am taking a break from typing right now to watch it once more.)

(Thanks for your patience, hehe.) What makes this scene so memorable is the way Reems takes Traci, her body glistening with sweat, her boobs bouncing and her face distorted in ecstasy. It may not stray too far from a classic porn setting but it surely was enough for me to never forget it.

From here it was a continuing story of typical pornstar pic-hunting-and-gathering from my discovery of Traci Lords until today, basically. (This is probably also the moment to give some shout outs to the “TraciOfLords” blog who probably has the biggest collection of Traci hardcore pics and gifs on tumblr and who thankfully let me use his archive for additional illustrations in this article.) The problem here was and to some extent still is that due to the critical legal status of some of Traci’s movies many sites who hosted Traci related stuff in the past disappeared later. Only today many pictures and films can be obtained on a host of sites dedicated to Traci’s hardcore work, although it may vary from country to country whether or not it’s fully legal to watch it. (Disclaimer: Should your country be part of that list, please leave this entry now and read one of the 199 others on this blog instead.)

So if you bothered reading up to here you now know how big an impact Traci Lords made on me during my formative years as a porn fan. Much of her own biography is pretty much public domain, so let’s keep it short: Traci was born Norma Louise Kuzma in Steubenville, OH, into a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic, abusive father and her parents divorcing when she was seven years old. That broken biography would get worse when Norma – whose body developed very early – got raped at age ten (by her sixteen-year-old then boyfriend) and became pregnant and subsequently had an abortion at fourteen. By then her mother was living with a new partner who molested Norma and also got her a fake ID (now calling herself Kristie Elizabeth Nussbaum and faking an age of 22), supporting the girl’s rebellious attitude towards her parents who didn’t want her daughter to have sex yet. In early 1984, at the age of fifteen, Norma finally moved to LA with him (he posed as her stepfather) to start a career in adult entertainment.

The notorious couple managed to get Norma signed for the infamous Jim South modelling agency which led to her first nude modelling session for – of all publications – Penthouse magazine. Here the career of “Traci Lords” started officially as she not only chose the name as her pornstar pseudonym but ended up being the September 1984 issue’s centerfold. (The issue’s then popularity, however, was largely based on then Miss America Vanessa Williams’ nude pictorial. After the discoveries of Traci’s underage the issue has since been pulled from the market and remains illegal to be owned with the centerfold intact.)

This greatly heightened Traci’s profile and she shot her first porn movie “What Gets Me Hot!” soon after. Initially she only had a non-sex role but a hardcore scene (with
her later boyfriend Tom Byron) was added afterwards. More movies followed in the course of 1984 and 1985, all greatly expanding and cementing Traci’s status as America’s new porn sensation and one of the industry’s top-grossing and top-earning performers. She would even receive her first porn award for the Tom Hanks/Darryl Hannah fantasy comedy “Splash”

spoof “Talk Dirty to Me III”.

Traci’s annoucement to retire from porn in late 1985 thus came somewhat surprisingly, although in early 1986 she returned with her own production company to shoot what would be some of her last three XXX films, “Traci Takes Tokyo”, “Beverly Hills Copulator” (your guess which box office hit this was a take on) and “Screamer”. The final porn movie Traci would star in was “Traci, I Love You” – shot in France just two days after her 18th birthday with Euro porn luminaries like Marilyn Jess and Gabriel Pontello and released into the wake of the biggest scandal ever to hit the porn industry and followed by a maelstrom

of court cases, accusations and empty video store shelves.

In a nutshell, “Traci’s” fake identity was unveiled just weeks after her 18th birthday and subsequently all of her movies shot prior to that date – effectively her complete fimlography save “Traci, I Love You” – were ruled child pornography by US law (they remain legally available in many other countries though to this day). This had a devastating effect on the porn industry as a whole and their video store “subcontractors” in particular. Millions of dollars of industry profit were lost as tapes had to be pulled from the shelves overnight while some movies were re-edited without Traci’s scenes or even re-shot with a new actress instead of Traci (the very recently featured Lisa De Leeuw taking her predecessor’s place in “Talk Dirty to Me III”). It was hell on a plate for the adult industry who only fully recovered years after the scandal had exploded, plus the Reagan government felt urged to crack down on porn productions, criminalizing the industry and the artform as a whole.

“Traci” meanwhile tried to break free from her porn past by selling the rights to her final XXX film (and drawing accusations from within the industry that her move had long been planned to profit from it) and trying to get some mainstream acting slots. She remains one of the most heavily criticized ex-pornstars from her former co-worker’s point of view as she herself claimed to have been drugged and forced to do porn while former colleagues like Christy Canyon stated that Traci had never made the impression of not knowing what she wanted and didn’t want to do.

Either way, Traci kept her porn alias and even made it her official name
(as a gesture to embrace her past), getting a role in John Waters’s
pre-global fame Johnny Depp movie “Cry-Baby”, guested in “Roseanne” and
later starred alongsides Wesley Snipes in “Blade” as well as Kevin
Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. Apart from that most of her
cinematic or television work has been in the horror or sci-fi field. She
also released a techno record called “1000 Fires” whose
single “Control” even became a minor hit in the dance charts.

Her autobiography “Underneath it All” became a best-seller in 2003, she got married, had a baby, started her own fashion line… Basically, Traci Lords did what most if not all former pornstars hope to achieve: start a career where she didn’t have to bare her boobs anymore. Whatever you think of her stance on the porn industry, she managed to establish herself as a not-just-former-pornstar performer and person and you friggin’ have to give her that.

So whatever controversy remains, she gets my number one spot of all Classic Pornstars. Thank you for reading and following. I’m gonna take a break from writing new articles for the time being, cleaning up older entries and fixing some stuff here or there. But rest assured: there will be a new “Top 50″ list on this tumblr in the future – this time maybe more about recent than classic performers…

Absolutely awesome read!!!!

I am glad to reblog this and it is very interesting… But, personally, I was never a big fan of Traci… Just never found her that much of a turn-on. Go figure, ‘cause she does tick all the boxes in terms of looks and willingness to be nasty. 🙂