#2: Savannah

Other aliases: Silver Kane

Origin: Laguna Beach, CA

Born: October 9, 1970 as Shannon Michelle Wilsey

Died: July 11, 1994 (23 years old)

Years active: 1990–1994

Similar actresses: Wendy Whoppers, Kascha, Sandra Scream, Alicyn Sterling, Jeanna Fine, Allison Kilgore, Flame, Hyapatia Lee, Kelly Trump, Racquel Darrian, Taylor Wane, Cicciolina, Sheena Horne, Lolo Ferrari

The top regions of a list of classic pornstars are reserved for true legends. Truth, even the life of a legend has both lighter and darker shades and the story of this specific pornstar legend ends on one of the darkest down notes one could imagine. This is a story of beauty and sex, glamour and death, so if you will excuse me I will tell you a little bit about one of the most notorious and tragic pornstar stories ever, about a young woman called Shannon Michelle Wilsey – also known as Savannah.

It wasn’t hard to stumble across Savannah’s pics in the early to mid nineties as a young porn aficionado. Long straight platinum blonde hair with her typical Savannah bangs, ice blue eyes, a near perfectly beautiful face (some freckles added for fun) and a body that was just as nearly perfectly shaped. (She did get breast implants at one point in her career but those were rather well done, enhancing her beauty much more than making it look unnatural.) Needless to say I instantly fell in love with her the first time I saw Savannah’s picture.

A proverbial California Girl, Shannon Wilsey moved around the country as a kid after her parents had divorced. At thirteen, she found out that the man she had believed to be her biological father in fact wasn’t, and that’s the point where most bios about her feature a quote about her “becoming a wild child”. In fact she was so wild that she became a groupie and lived with famous rock musicians such as Gregg Allman and Billy Sheehan – before coming of age.

When Shannon was twenty years old she had seen quite a lot for her age, (including a miscarriage fathered by Allman) and being the adventurous – and beautiful – person that she was, nude modelling was the next thing for her to try out. Rex Cabo, a porn actor and director, introduced her to hardcore porn around 1990 and she took up her first stage name called Silver Kane at that time. (This being a very thinly veiled hint at the drug habit she had developed by that time.)

Her first shootings made such an impression on the industry bigshots that the then upcoming porn stalwart Vivid Entertainment signed her as one of the first “Vivid Girls” with an exclusive contract for numerous films in 1991. Now she changed her pseudonym again, henceforth being known as Savannah (after an early eighties movie called “Savannah Smiles”) and poised to become one of the biggest names in 1990′s porn.

Savvy (as her friends and fellow performers would call her) landed hit after hit with flicks like “Indian Summer”, “Laying the Ghost” or “In Defense of Savannah”. In a time when video took over, she was one of the last stars to still shoot big budget productions and pretty much rocketed to fame, winning AVN’s Best New Starlet Award in 1992. Her on-screen persona was that of an “ice queen”, never letting loose and getting all raunchy and raucous like other pornstars but keeping the air of mystery and aloofness. My first Savannah movie experience was “Roxy” in a softcore version where Ms Wilsey nevertheless made such an impression on me that I shot load after load on her getting fucked by – of all talents – flatnosed Buck Adams:

Savannah also kept her tendency to have high profile liaisons with rockers like Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Vince Neil of Poison and punk-rocker-turned-eighties-pop-star Billy Idol. (If you insist you can add “Marky” Mark Wahlberg to that list too.) Her true love, apparently, was a woman from her own trade though: Savannah had a long time relationship with fellow porn actress Jeanna Fine, a woman she called the love of her life.

However, a number of factors would contribute to Savannah’s career trajectory first getting disturbed and then unhinged. Vivid allegedly let her go for her temper tantrums she would throw on set (her smack habit probably didn’t help much eitherI) and although she kept on making successful films in the XXX business her aspired transition to Hollywood productions never went past a few minor roles in smaller horror movies. Neither did Savannah’s fame stop her relationships from failing. After she and Jeanna Fine broke up comedian Pauly Shore became her next love interest although it would never reach the level her previous relationship had had.

By 1994 Savannah, although still one of the biggest pornstars of her days, had developed serious depression fed by her various issues and it was an accident that would bring this disposition to fatal fruition. On July 11 she and a friend took a ride in her Corvette – both under the influence – and when she lost control of the steering wheel the car crashed into a fence. Although her injuries weren’t critical Savannah’s face had been badly lacerated by the smashed windshield. She then sent her friend outside and called her friend and manager Nancy Pera in tears, fearing that her career was finished with her once beautiful face now being mutilated. Pera tried to calm her down but to no avail as Savannah proceeded to shoot herself in the face with her 9mm handgun. When Pera arrived she could only take her friend to the hospital where Savannah died eleven hours later. She was 23.

Along with other notable pornstar deaths like Lolo Ferrari’s or Linda Lovelace’s, Savannah’s tragic passing is often quoted as an example how the porn industry ruins the lives of its protagonists. This feud also took place after Shannon Wilsey died although some people pointed out that her depression, her drug abuse and her failed relationships had also been factors before she got into porn. On the other hand, experiencing that not even her fame and fortune could prevent bad things from happening may have intensified her depression, with the car accident being the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

Savannah still has an admiring fanbase even more than two decades after her death. Her life and death keep getting scrutinized and you can find lots of mini documentaries and features about her on YouTube for example. She still symbolizes that new breed of pornstars who strove for fame beyond the world of adult entertainment, seeing porn as a means to reach other levels of glamour. That this not only wasn’t to be but also resulted in her untimely death is probably the saddest part of Savannah’s story.

I’ll try and keep this both poignant and in the faith of this blog. Savannah was a tragic figure, even though she was one of the most beautiful and desirable pornstars of her time, somebody whose scenes still turn me on after all those years and somebody who I wish hadn’t done hardcore if she only had found another way to deal with her issues. God bless you, Shannon Wilsey, wherever you may be now.

#5: Moana Pozzi

Other aliases: Linda Heveret, Margaux Robert

Origin: Genoa, Italy

Born: 27 April, 1961 as Anna Moana Rosa Pozzi

15 September 1994 (aged 33)

Years active: 1981–1994

Similar actresses: Cicciolina, Angelica Bella, Karin Schubert, Sibylle Rauch, Catherine Ringer, Marilyn Jess, Olinka Hardiman, Dolly Buster, Lolo Ferrari, Sarah Louise Young, Anita Cannibal, Baby Pozzi

It goes without saying that writing about an adult actress who already left us is a sadder affair than your usual pornstar profile post. This is also the case with Moana Pozzi, an actress, activist, politician, TV personality and star in her own animated film. During her short stay on this planet she managed to become one of the most revered – and controversial – celebrities in 1980′s and 1990′s Italian popular culture. Moana’s rise to fame, ended by a sudden illness-related death that struck her when she was only 33, has become the stuff of XXX lore and definitely contributed to her status as a tragic icon of porn.

I first saw Moana in on of those softcore “entertainment” magazines at some point in the early nineties. She posed nude on some stairs, presenting her wonderful big natural boobs, perfectly rounded thighs and her really beautiful face. But even then I could see that this woman had more to offer than just naughty poses and further investigation would prove me right.

The late eighties and early nineties were a time in Italy when porn, showbiz, pop culture and politics were perhaps closer than ever before or after. Hungarian expatriate Ilona Staller – better known under the alias Cicciolina – was but the forerunner of this phenomenon, feeling equally at ease on TV and in hardcore shootings as well as grabbing the megaphone to promote a (sexually) liberal policy. Anna Moana Rosa Pozzi – her second given name was Hawaiian for “where the sea is deepest” – had spent her youth all over the globe, growing up in the Great White North of Canada as well as the hot and humid parts of Brazil until her family finally settled down in France. At age 19 she decided to go back to her native Italy and start a modelling and TV career. Even then she wasn’t shy to appear in her first hardcore porn movie, “Valentina – Girls in Heat” which came out in 1981 and featured her under the alias Linda Heveret. A media scandal ensued as her then current employer, a television production company for which Moana presented – of all things – a children’s show, found out about her venture into the fucking-for-the-cameras genre and had her fired.

Nevertheless this gave Moana her first taste of notoriety, something she quickly expanded when signing up with one of the biggest porn production companies in Italy in 1986. Moana quickly became Italy’s biggest adult film star next to Cicciolina with whom she would often share appearances on TV as well as in porn movies. By about 1990, Moana’s fame was said to have eclipsed Ilona Staller’s and she even helped her sister Maria enter the XXX industry (she would make a number of movies under the moniker Baby Pozzi). 

It took me a while to catch up with Moana’s hardcore porn work since it wasn’t as readily available as other stuff at the time. Once again it took the advent of the internet to grant me access to horny masterpieces such as 1990′s “Rise of the Roman Empire” where she once again paired with Cicciolina as well as my personal eternal favorite Ebony Ayes. Another great find was “Visioni Orgasmiche” where Moana teamed up with the next rising star in Italian hardcore, Angelica Bella. Or, to finally prove this woman knew who to have sex on camera with, mainstream-actress-gone-porn legend Karin Schubert in “More Than Before”. But whoever she worked with, Moana always exuded a special kind of sexy – well-articulated, witty, no taboos, mature in the horniest sense of the word, a commanding presence of whatever scene she appeared in.

Moreover, Moana’s charm wasn’t limited to the good old in-and-out game since – again much like her sister in spirit Ilona Staller – she went into politics and co-founded the Love Party with Cicciolina to fight for the liberalization of gay marriage, the legalization of prostitution and the protection of the environment. She even ran for the office of Rome’s mayor and garnered around one percent of all votes!

When she wasn’t busy making scandalous TV appearances or trying to make more room for love in politics, Moana also cultivated connections to well-known politicians, authors, philosophers, musicians and other celebrities and she even put out a book in which she rated a bunch of public figures she had slept with (among them famous football players like Falcao, Hollywood actors such as Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel and even the Italian prime minister Bettino Craxi). All this while still shooting more hardcore porn movies, all in all racking up about a hundred scenes where she showed her impressive capabilities in assfucking, cocksucking and kinky stuff.

In other words, Moana Pozzi was well on the way to be one of the few pornstars to cross over to lasting mainstream fame – or at least to turn herself into a piece of popular culture – when tragedy struck. In mid-1994, she started losing weight and suffering from general malaise – as it later turned out she was experiencing the effects of liver cancer. Her condition worsened in a measure of weeks and finally Moana Pozzi died on the 15th of September, 1994. As it became known years after her death, she had asked her husband Antonio to assist her with euthanizing her, to which he complied.

Moana Pozzi’s death wasn’t the only one in those days when pornstars became topics for the mainstream media – the notorious Savannah had committed suicide after a car crah just a few months earlier, and mega-bimbo Lolo Ferrari would die in 2000 after trying to scandalize herself into the welcoming arms of a trash-loving public. Since Moana had become such an icon of Italian pop scandals, her unexpected passing was seen as a public tragedy that went beyond the yellow press and also kept resurfacing years later. In 1999 the movie “Guardami” (”Look at Me”) came out which was loosely based on Moana’s life, followed by a miniseries in 2009 and another film entitled “The Secrets of Moana” in 2010. More yellow press fodder was created when in 2006 Moana’s “brother” Simone unveiled that he was in fact her son. And even as late as 2016 – more than twenty years after her death – Moana Pozzi’s name was still strong enough to make pop culture juggernaut Disney change the title of their then latest animated movie “Moana” (about a Hawaiian princess) to “Oceania” so people in Italy wouldn’t be confused about its protagonist…

So as you can see, there has hardly been a person from the world of porn that had an impact on the non-porn plane of existence – at least in Italy – the way Moana Pozzi did. To me, she will always be one of the most beautiful and, yes, inspiring pornstars ever, somebody who passed away far too early but will live on forever in her work and her spirit.

#10: Persia

Other aliases: Venus, Lynette, Lido

Born: March 25, 1968 as Venus Guillén

Origin: Philadelphia, PA

Years active: 1991–1996

Similar actresses: Ebony Ayes, Janet Jacme, Jeannie Pepper, Vanessa BlueChessie Moore, Sibylle Rauch, Angelica Bella, Veronica Brazil

The 1990′s were a time when African American pornstars – largely indebted to the trailblazing careers of Ebony Ayes, Jeannie Pepper, Isis Nile and the like – slowly managed to find audiences outside the “black porn” segment, although they often still had to take opportunities to perform outside the segregated US market. Persia (also often billed as Venus) was one of the actresses that found their share of success in the last decade of the millennium on both sides of the Atlantic.

Born in Philly as Venus Guillén in the spring of 1968, she got into nude modelling and feature dancing around 1990 and then dared to do hardcore just a year later. Her assets were big tits (naturally saggy although she later had them enhanced), an extremely seductive face with textbook bedroom eyes and an ass that was to play an important role in her XXX career.

Persia practically became an overnight sensation in black porn, starring in dozens of movies ever since doing serious hardcore shootings, especially in mainstream porn spoofs such as “Boomerwang” (!), “White Men Can’t Hump” (!!) or my personal favorite “What’s Butt Got to Do With It”. What made her perfect for those kinds of roles was her willingness to put her voluptuous body to any kind of fucking service with special emphasis on assfucking (just go to her IAFD page and count the titles that refer to “ass”, “butt” or “DP”) as well as her acting skills that went well beyond what other performers of the time had to offer.

Persia displayed a sense of irony and playfulness while never letting it tip over the raunchy atmosphere of her red hot fucking scenes. My first – and already decisive – encounter with her was in a German production where she engaged in lovely lesbian sex with a small breasted blonde girl after being invited to watch porn with her. Persia’s reaction going from shock to humorous disbelief to just letting go end enjoying the licking and fingering remained one of my most watched scenes for years, particularly for its combination of light-hearted yet naturally gifted acting and no-nonsense fucking action.

In an interview with “Gent” from 1994, Persia described her attitude towards porn as something that allowed her to do what turned her on and also let her have sex with many different guys and girls. While porn star interviews should often be taken with a grain of salt (whoever wanted to read about their favorite actress hating her job and/or only doing it for the money?), Persia always seemed to come across as somebody who loved what she was doing for a living, be it in American productions (often reinforcing black porn topics/clichés) as well as international ones. The latter category let her show her fabulous assets in trashy settings as an Italian take on Little Red Riding Hood (with another favorite of mine, the ever so fuckable Chessie Moore) or a German production about girls making out with a billionaire (where she teamed up with German porn legend Sibylle Rauch).

Sadly for her fans, Persia quit the industry around 1997 and never made a comeback. While her stay in porn had been prolific enough, colored pornstars at the time still weren’t marketable enough to make a lasting impact like their caucasian counterparts would go on to make in the 2000′s. Internet research on her birth name produced a few pictures and profiles on job networks although one can never be 100% sure if it’s the exact person one is looking for.

For her own sake let’s just hope Persia is alive and well and can look back on her XXX career with a good feeling. I for one shall forever enjoy her performances from way back, and her unique way of doing porn earned her a place among this lists top ten for sure!

#14: Kiki Daire

Other aliases: Keki D’Air, Keki D’Aire, Kiki D’aire, Kike Daire, Keki Dare, Kiki Dare, Kiki M, Camille, Susie

Born: September 18, 1976

Origin: Memphis, TN

Years active: 1998–2004, 2011–

Similar actresses: Bianca Trump, Allison Kilgore, Kim Chambers

Recommended websites: http://xxxkiki.com/ (Official homepage), http://kiki-the-masturbatrix.tumblr.com/ (Official Tumblr), https://twitter.com/kiki_daire (Official Twitter)

For the next woman it’s once again time to rewind to the turn of the millennium when Internet porn slowly but sure began to take over classic media channels like print or video for good. The manifoldly spelled Kiki Daire entered the scene at the tail end of the 1990’s and also was one of the early porn performers to host her own website. In terms of physique, Kiki sported well-rounded (and somewhat inflated) boobs, an ass that looked the part and huge dark round eyes with wild curls around her pretty face.

When I first saw pictures and movies with Kiki I was taken right away by her humorous yet sensual and of course naughty persona. Kiki and her curves were a welcome change – or should I rather say addition – to the usual slim blonde (or sometimes dark) pornstars of the late nineties, fitting in very nicely with other cock-hungry curvy beauties like Allison Kilgore, Bianca Trump or Kim Chambers.

After a first stint in exotic dancing – a profession she allegedly followed her mother in, only to get fired for being more in demand than her direct maternal ancestor – Kiki first started shooting lesbian porn. When she realized she didn’t mind going hardcore with guys either she did just that and moved to California. Kiki quickly became a quite prolific performer and was well-liked by fans of curvaceous girls who liked to experiment on screen.

Kiki worked with uber-gonzo Rodney Moore, brought bukkake to the masses, got fucked in her ass a lot and became a go-to foot fetish expert. Also, she starred in multi-lesbian femdom flicks like “The Violation of Kiki Daire”, one of her first movies I got to see which I still find both hilarious and incredibly horny:

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By the time her first tenure in porn ended in 2004, Kiki had more than 170 XXX movies under her belt. As internet porn became the full-on global phenomenon that it is today, Kiki decided to retire and leave on-screen carnal action behind. Instead she focused on her private life – a marriage was announced although never fulfilled – and went to college. However, like many other starlets from the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Kiki either wouldn’t or couldn’t stay away from the spotlight for good and so declared her return to the scene in 2011.

Since then she has been both a critics’ as well as a fan favorite, garnering prizes like “Miss Petite Porn” or “Miss Burlesque” and being active on various social media channels. What’s even better, Kiki doesn’t show any signs of getting tired and cultivates her classic MILF image with “guided masturbation” videos (check her Tumblr account dedicated to that particular nice) and generally being the hottest 40+ woman you could imagine… Also, how can you not love somebody who sings “First Cut Is the Deepest” like her?

To me, Kiki Daire will always be special in her way of continuously approaching new naughty stuff and sharing it gracefully with her fans. Here’s Kiki taking two black cocks, have fun!

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