Top 5 Adult Film Stars Who Transitioned Into Legitimate Acting Careers

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While few of the folks on this list are going to win Academy Awards for stirring dramatic performances, you still have to give them a hand for transitioning to legitimate acting careers after getting their start on camera with clothes off. The adult film industry is home to many thousands of performers, and most of them fade into obscurity after all the sex is over. But a handful of the more talented, entrepreneurial or just plain lucky performers have managed to make the jump, dropping the word “adult” from the “film star” title. A few even manage to exist with one foot (or other body part) in both worlds.

5 Sylvester Stallone

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That’s right! Sort of. Before Sly Stallone was starring in “Rocky” or “Cliffhanger” or “Demolition Man” or a dozen other blockbusters, he was the lead in an atrocious soft-core film called “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s.” It was subsequently re-released under the title “Italian Stallion” to capitalize on Sly’s stardom, and it is rumored that years after the picture’s 1970 debut, producers re-edited it and inserted scenes with hard-core content using a body double for Stallone. The original film apparently contains no actual X-rated material, but the myths that have grown around the picture are a hell of a lot more entertaining than the truth.

4 Shu Qi

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Most filmgoers will know this Taiwanese beauty as the ass-kicking Lai Kwai from the Jason Statham hit “The Transporter.” You may also recognize her from her work in such American films as “New York, I Love You,” or from her dozens of starring and supporting roles in Chinese language films. But before she was a bona fide film star, she got her start in soft-core films and posing for the Chinese edition of Playboy and various other lascivious magazines.

3 Lexington Steele

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Beyond having perhaps the coolest name possible (a stage name, alas), Lex Steele also has one of the strangest biographies in the adult film industry. This gentleman holds plural college degrees and worked for years as a stockbroker and financial advisor. A strapping type, he also moonlighted as a model and an actor appearing in TV shows during the mid-1990s. This soon led to work in the adult film industry. Steele left NYC and the world of finance behind, moving to LA and working fulltime in his new pursuits. While still an active director, producer, and star in adult films, Steele has also appeared in such TV shows as “Weeds” and “Nip/Tuck” and in the film “Crank 2: High Voltage.”

2 Sasha Grey

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For someone who is only 25 years old, Ms. Sasha Grey has already lived a life rich in experiences. At the tender age of 20, Grey was already well into her career as an adult film star, winning the AVN Female Performer of the Year award in 2008. By April of 2011, just a month past her 23rd birthday, she had retired from the adult film industry and moved on to “legitimate acting.” Not only has Grey appeared in such hit shows a HBO’s “Entourage” but she even landed the starring role in “The Girlfriend Experience,” an experimental film by celebrated director Steven Soderbergh.

1 Traci Lords

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When Traci Lords, born Nora Kuzma, first appeared in adult films, the year was 1984, and she was not yet 18 years old. Notoriously, Lords got mixed up in the adult film industry when little more than a kid, hardly knowing what she was getting into and being taken advantage of by all those around her. Fortunately, by the time she turned 18, she realized the direction her life was headed in and decided it was not one she wanted to continue along. Lords enrolled in a theater program that same year and dedicated herself to a career as a legitimate actress. She has been featured in plural films and television shows, and she has penned an autobiography about her life and experiences titled “Traci Lords: Underneath it All.”

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Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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