Top 10 (ex) Porn Stars in Hollywood Movies

Making the leap from porn star to respected actor isn’t easy. After all, most porn stars aren’t exactly known for their stellar acting ability or believable performances. The adult industry will always be looked down upon by Hollywood and it’s hard to believe that we’ll ever see a true A-list star who started out in porn (although the likes of David Duchovny, Matt LeBlanc and Sylvester Stallone all have ‘softcore’ entries on their early resumes). However, a lucky few have actually managed to turn their skills in front of the camera to more respectable projects and have even managed to land gigs in some big budget movies which don’t hint at their x-rated past.

10 Dany Verissimo-Petit

French actress Dany Verissimo-Petit scored a big break in 2004 when she won a significant role in Luc Besson’s parkour-inspired action movie District D13. She went on to land a succession of minor roles before she was cast in French TV series Maison Close and also found work in theatre. However, keen porn fans may better recognise Verissimo-Petite under the pseudonym Ally Mac Tyana (apparently inspired by US TV show Ally McBeal). She featured in a series of adult videos from 2000 to 2001 before turning her back on the industry for good.

9 Simon Rex

Simon Rex is best known to audiences for his goofy, comedic turns in the Scary Movie series and for his TV work in shows like Felicity and Jack & Jill. However, before he found success in the world of showbiz Rex performed in the solo masturbation series Young, Hard & Solo at the age of 19. Five years later he returned to the industry again for Hot Sessions III, which allegedly led to him being fired from his popular MTV VJ spot. Nevertheless, his porn past clearly hasn’t hampered his career in and he continues to work in movies and enjoys a cult following with his comedy rap alter ego ‘Dirt Nasty’.


8 Karen Lancaume

Karen Lancaume entered the porn industry with her husband in 1996 in an effort to make ends meet. She continued to work in hardcore adult films after their divorce in 1997 and became a popular performer for European and American directors. In 2000, Lancaume starred alongside fellow French porn actress Raffaela Anderson in the film Baise-moi. The revenge film was controversial for featuring scenes of violence and unsimulated sex and many countries banned Baise-moi for its explicit content. Lancaume was outspoken about the harsh realities of the porn industry and made fewer adult movies following the release of Baise-moi, but she chose not to pursue any other mainstream work and tragically killed herself in 2005.

7 Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson is without a doubt one of the biggest porn stars of all time. After working as a stripper in the early 90s, Jameson entered the business in 1993 and started out performing in girl-on-girl and softcore scenes. She soon moved on to hetero movies and set her eyes on becoming the most popular porn actress in the industry. Jameson broke through into the mainstream thanks to a recurring guest spot on Howard Stern’s popular radio show (she also had a bit part in his semi-autobiographical movie Private Parts) and went on to appear at big wrestling events and on the E! network party/travel show Wild On! She is often credited as setting the stage for other popular entertainers to make their mark outside of the adult film industry and, although most of her acting roles play on her pornographic past (or don’t require much in the way of acting), she has managed to star in questionable horror fare like Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain and Zombie Strippers.

6 Ginger Lynn

Ginger Lynn was one of the most popular actresses in the adult film industry during the 1980s. After shooting a spread for Penthouse in 1983, Lynn moved into adult videos and quickly became well known for her hardcore scenes, vocal dirty talk and girl next door looks. After starring opposite legends like John Holmes and Ron Jeremy and having won numerous industry awards, Lynn retired from porn in 1986 to make her mark as a mainstream actress. She appeared in a stint of B movies before managing to land small roles in NYPD Blue, Young Guns II and, bizarrely, the interactive video game series Wing Commander. Lynn had a Hollywood relationship with Charlie Sheen between 1990 and 92 and made a big return to the adult film industry in 1999 before retiring again in 2008.

5 Ashlyn Gere

Horror B movies actors aren’t exactly known for showcasing acting talent, so the genre has long been an attractive proposition for actresses who look good in front of the camera and aren’t really shy about showing some skin. Ashlyn Gere starred in shlocky 80s horror fare like Creepozoids and Dreamaniac under the name Kim McKamy. Bucking the trend, Gere started doing pornographic movies at the age of 30 and continued to star in them from 1990 to 2003. Although she was never a breakout mainstream actress (the closest she got was as a body double in Basic Instinct and Indecent Proposal), she juggled her roles in TV and cinema while still performing in adult movies.

4 Sibel Kekilli

German actress Sibel Kekilli received praise for her debut performance in critically-acclaimed 2004 drama Head-On, but the reputation of the promising young actress was tarnished when her x-rated past was uncovered by the media. Kekilli had starred in nine hardcore pornographic movies years earlier under the name of Dilara. The scandal very nearly destroyed her reputation as a legitimate actress, but Kekilli was vocal in condemning the media’s reaction to her past and persevered with her acting career. She’s worked steadily ever since and is perhaps best known for her recent role as Shae on Game of Thrones .

3 Traci Lords

Although her adult film career was short lived, Traci Lords changed the industry forever. In May 1986, an investigation revealed that Lords – who had appeared in more than 100 adult films and had modelled for adult magazines, including Penthouse – had only recently turned 18. Lords had been performing in the adult industry since she was 15 but when she had first started out she had told everyone that she was 20 years old. The backlash was huge and many industry figures were arrested and investigated for trafficking child pornography. Millions of dollars had to be spent recalling any videos involving Lords and editing her out of scenes from popular porn movies. Lords was never charged with a crime and many of her former industry colleagues remarked that she profited off the controversy. After the scandal Lords moved into mainstream acting and has appeared in leading and supporting roles in film and TV.

2 James Deen

With his non-threatening ‘guy next door’ looks and teenage girl fanbase, James Deen isn’t exactly the stereotypical male porn star. Deen’s image and talents have been credited as appealing to a much more mainstream audience and have helped him become one of the most famous male porn stars working today. Hard-working Deen – who by his own estimation has appeared in at least 4,000 scenes since he entered the industry at the age of 18 in 2004 – has also found time to try his hand at some acting. In 2013, Deen starred alongside Lindsay Lohan in the Canyons, an erotic thriller directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis. Although his casting was overshadowed by his costar’s diva behaviour and the fact that the movie featured her first on screen nude scene, some critics admitted they were pleasantly surprised by Deen’s acting talents.

1 Sasha Grey

Sasha Grey has really enjoyed the best of both worlds. Grey quickly made a name for herself when she entered the adult industry at the age of 18 and asked porn legend Rocco Siffredi to punch her in the stomach during her first shoot. Grey was known for filming hardcore and rough sex scenes and was always candid about working in the porn industry from a young age. Although she made an inauspicious attempt at mainstream fare by starring in the low budget Canadian horror movie Smash Cut in 2009, her outspoken views about porn endeared her to famed indie director Steven Soderbergh who cast her in the lead role in his drama The Girlfriend Experience. She continued her transition into acting by landing a recurring role (playing herself) in the seventh season of HBO TV Show Entourage. Retiring from the adult film industry in 2011, Grey has further acting projects lined up and her old pornographic movies are enjoying new levels of popularity thanks to her increased exposure in mainstream media.