“Georgina Spelvin is one of the finest women to ever have done Adult Movies. She is not only a fine actress, but one of the most lovely and wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to have met.” – Seka (Legendary Adult Movie Star)
In 1974 an adult movie was made by legendary Director Gerard Damiano, a follow up to his 1972 hit “Deep Throat.” That movie was called “The Devil in Ms Jones” and starred Georgina Spelvin as Justine Jones – the lead character.
Georgina Spelvin a name traditionally used as a pseudonym by stage actors was thrust literally into the limelight from the TDIMJ, which she talks about in her book “The Devil Made Me Do It.” The book presents a lot for the reader. It is funny and very poignant, especially when she talks about her Mother. A tome that clearly reads: “I had one helluva a roller coaster ride with all of its ups and down, but I am still standing.”
Spelvin, an accomplished dancer, should have done comedy roles in movies because her wit – sharp mind and delivery, since our initial meeting, have had me on the floor several times. A wit that that reminds me very much of my Father whose humor and delivery mirrors Georgina’s or Chelz as I call her. Long story….
Today, at the age of 74, she is happily retired living with her husband John Welsh an actor and writer, in his own regard, in sunny California. Many times you hear the phrase: “So and so had an interesting life.” Well, Chelz had that in the first 74 without a doubt and I am quite sure on the back nine, she is still going to have one amazing round.
Ladies and Gentlemen RSR proudly welcomes Mrs. John Welsh (AKA Georgina Spelvin), known to me as “Chelz.”
BB: Since your departure from the adult movie industry almost 31 years ago what have you been up to?
I gave up on trying to make a living as an actress in 1974 when, after my final season of stock in Brunswick, Maine, I packed up my worldly goods into a 30-foot-long school bus with a smoke-stack sticking out the back and drove with my side-kick, Claire, to California. This is all in my book, of course. The short version, I “bootstrapped” myself into the job of compiling the material for the bi-monthly magazine of the Los Angeles County Medical Association with a desktop publishing program (Ventura Publisher). I then “desk topped” a couple of real estate magazines for the LA Times. Then, at 65, I retired and started to write my book. I got that done a couple of years ago and have been trying to keep up with the interviews, signings, personal appearances, and so forth since. Whew…I am so ready for a rest.
BB: How did you first get into Adult Movies?
I looked in the NY trade paper, Show Business for a job, and wound up providing casting and location services, as well as playing a role in a low-budget “tits-n-ass” flick. On the set, one of the lighting guys asked me if I would be interested in playing the mother in a film he would be shooting the next week? I said, “Sure.” It turned out to be a hard-core sex film. Surprise! On that shoot, I met Marc Stevens who sent me to see Harry Reems, who sent me to see Gerard Damiano who was looking for a cook for a shoot he had scheduled in two days. I got the job cooking, and the job of playing the lead character, “Justine Jones” in the same visit to his office.
BB: You came into the Adult Movie industry in the early 1970’s, and instantly became one of the defining ladies of your genre. Looking back, what do you feel put you ahead of the others ladies that were on the scene?
I could act…
BB: In 1974, you made a groundbreaking adult movie called “The Devil in Ms Jones.” Not only was there excessive sex, but the acting was very good. What was the shoot like and do you think all these years later, it’s gotten the credit it deserves?
The shoot was kind of like a Boy Scout Jamboree. My sidekick, Claire, and I cooked and served all the meals. There’s a lot more time off camera than on when you’re in a movie, so it was feasible. Jerry Damiano was like the priest at a catholic boy’s school: kind and understanding but brooking no misbehavior. Joao Fernandez, the cameraman/lighting director was second in command. He spent more time getting the lighting just the way he wanted it on whatever bit of genitalia was currently being featured than I had seen lavished upon product in the most expensively produced commercials in which I had been lucky enough to appear – and there were quite a few in my checkered past. That is, no doubt, why it was the prettiest fucking film of it’s time. Jerry Damiano’s direction, editing, and compilation of music and effects did the rest. And, oh yes, the actress featured through most of the film chewed the shit out of the scenery. That didn’t hurt.
When Judith Crist reviewed the film and said, “Ms. Jones touches the emotions….and bears a striking resemblance to Queen Elizabeth II” – my blissful days of anonymity were at an end. Oh well. The ensuing ride has been a blast.
Has the film received the credit it is due? Good grief. How may other fuck films do you know of that are still making money after 36 years? For that matter, how many films of ANY kind have that kind of track record?
BB: With so many distributors today taking just clips of your films and repackaging them into another movie making it look like you have a brand new movie out, while advertising your name as the star, when really you did the scene or scenes from a previous movie, do you get any royalties from these tapes?
No, I don’t get any type of royalties.
BB: In today’s Adult Movies, there seems to be very little if any storyline or scenery other than a room with a bed or couch in it. In your day, you had some great storylines and lots of scenery. The industry thrived with that format, but today, they have all but gotten away from it. Why do you feel that is?
Most of the directors – often the producers as well – of the films I did in the 70s were frustrated filmmakers working in the only medium (sex films) available to them – just like us actors. They wanted to make movies. There were plenty of “smut peddlers” making short movies of pure and simple fornication then as well. Now that anyone can “film” as much fornication as they like for their own enjoyment or that of others, as with any commodity, mass production will always provide a lesser product – usually as lesser as the traffic will bear.
BB: With what you just said, do you feel companies are just slapping anything to together for the cheapest amount they can and in turn, they make an even bigger profit?
Not all. I’m sure there are still ardent film-makers looking for a market.
BB: With you being like the elder spokesperson for your genre of film, do you get asked by Producers or Directors to be an adviser on adult movies today?
Nope. People making sex films wouldn’t be making them if they didn’t feel like they knew all about it.
BB: Today there seems to be very little individuality amongst the ladies who all have blonde hair, breast Implants, and the same look basically with the same chemistry on screen. In fact, it seems that if you asked a dozen people who admitted that they did watch adult films; they could not name three of the ladies today outside of maybe Jenna Jameson. However, in your day, the first thing a group of people would say is Georgina Spelvin, Seka, Vanessa Del Rio, and Marilyn Chambers without blinking an eye.
And don’t forget Linda (Lovelace). Well, I can’t tell one starlet from another in the “real” movie world either. Jerry Damiano is to blame for my “stardom.” He chose to put a flat-chested, over-the-accepted-hill actress in his film. I was just looking for a job cooking.
BB: In the 1970s through the 1980s, you had actual grand premieres where mainstream stars came out to watch an adult movie on the screen. It brought the common folk amongst the celebrity power brokers as well. I am sure that you don’t see them for the most part with the addition of the VCR and now the DVD, which can allow you to watch a movie in the privacy of your own home. However, do you think premieres are something they should get back to promote a new movie or star on the scene?
If I knew what worked or didn’t work in the world of cinema, I’d be rich.
BB: Do you feel as many do in your industry that “Deep Throat” starring Linda Lovelace hands down, busted the door open for the adult movie industry to make the huge sums of money it has up until this day?
The story I got from Jerry (who never saw a dime out of it after his initial director’s fee, which wasn’t all that great, though I’ve never known the exact amount) is that the “money men” were looking for a Laundromat for funds. The fact that it ended up making a lot of money was an unanticipated inconvenience. Imagine that.
BB: Do you think it gets too much credit?
What? Deep Throat gets too much credit for breaking down barriers? Not at all. It was the first “smoker” with laughs. Harry (Reems) was funny and fantastic; Linda was warm and lovely. Gone with the Wind it ain’t, but than what else is?
BB: In the 1980s, Seka appeared before the Meese Commission that was headed by then US Attorney General, Edwin Meese who was going after the Porn Industry. Were you involved with that in any regard?
Nope. I was out of it by then. I did get to testify before a grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee. Unlike Harry, who ended up actually doing jail time from all that, I got a few good laughs and was sent merrily on my way.
BB: Politicians have been criticized by their constituents over the years for going after the adult movie industry when they felt there were so many more important issues that the US was facing then an adult watching a pornographic movie in the confines of his or her own home. What is your take on this?
Well, it’s hard to catch crooks – especially when they are holding office. Porn has always been an easy mark when someone wants to look like they’re improving society. Erotica has always been available to them as seek it, and probably always will.
BB: I remember a couple of years back when I interviewed Seka, another legend from the adult movie industry as well. She brought your name up and was very impressed with you and in fact, mentioned you spoke seven different languages. Is this correct and if so, what languages do you speak?
I barely speak English. No. That’s not true. I speak very good English, thanks to two English teachers as grand parents and a wonderful teacher during my three years of high school, Miss Sarah Marsh of Tyler, Texas. She once promised me she would buy me a milkshake if I ever turned in a theme without a single misspelled word. I did, and she did.
BB: Since actors in the adult movie industry are not part of SAG, why don’t they get a union going?
I’m a proud member of SAG. When I asked them if working in porn would jeopardize my membership, I was told that the union simply didn’t recognize the existence of such things. Really? About thirty of the “regulars” in New York got together one night at the Pickle Factory (the film commune where I lived) to try and get one going. Nobody had the least notion of how to go about doing such a thing – so it never happened. No one stays in the industry as an actor that long. There aren’t really that many “character roles” in porn. Nobody is around long enough to be a union organizer.
BB: Because of the content of your movies, have you ever had any issues with a stalker or a fan that took what was on the screen to be the real you?
BB: I want to throw some names out at you from your days in the industry that you worked with and get your thoughts on them.
She had the career I thought I was supposed to have when I followed her into the role of “Gladys” in the Broadway musical, “Pajama Game.” I figured I would be carted off by some Hollywood mogul to star in a movie just the way she was. I actually met her only once, when I was her dance-in (rehearsing her spot and appearing in her stead in some very long shots) for the movie “Sweet Charity.”
Loved him on sight. Loved him to the day he died. Was very grateful I got to attend his 80th birthday party in Ft. Myers, Florida, three months before he hopped the Paradise Express. Love his wife, love his kids…what more can I say?
Another love fest. There is an actor who should have had a “real” career, but never had a chance once the porn label was applied.
Nice guy. Never got to know him all that well.
Oh my…the ultimate gentleman. What a great time I had with him on the Police Academy films. Never actually knew his wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, though we had many mutual friends from the Broadway Gypsy days.
He was an absolute Prince to me when we were shooting the Police Academy films.
Only met her briefly when Paul Thomas was shooting the remake of TDIMM. She seemed very nice.
BB: If you had to pick one adult movie performance you were the most proud of, which one would you pick and why?
Probably the frustrated old maid in “The Dancers,” with Richard Pacheco. Even though it was another frustrated virgin role – like poor Miss Jones – it was a much sweeter sort of sex and Richard was a great scene partner. We’re still friends and I love his wife as well, so there.
BB: You have worked in both the adult industry and mainstream as well. Which did you enjoy more and why?
Oh please. (Laughing)…if I could have made it in “real” movies, do you think I would have done porn? If for no other reason, “real” movies pay residuals.
BB: In your day, what type of precautions did they take to stop the spread of STD’s? Do you know if today’s industry is just as precautious?
We all knew each other and were friends. If anyone “picked up a nail” they were honor bound to take care of it immediately, and to tell everyone they had had any contact with to get checked. I never encountered the problem. We had some sort of guardian angel hovering over us, I guess. Now-a-days, they are very much more cautious than we were, I think. I know Dr. Sharon Mitchell has set up a clinic. My primary care physician, Dr. Thomas Horowitz, is front and center, helping her with it and acting as liaison with the city and medical community on her behalf. Of course, AIDS had not reared its ghastly head back in them days. I marvel that kids today will work without protection, as I hear they still do.
One of the greatest advantages of monogamy is peace of mind on that account.
BB: In 2008, you released your biography “The Devil Made Me Do It.” What was the writing experience like and is there another follow up book in your future?
Interviewers, fans, friends, all kept urging me to write a book – from the day in 1974 when “The Devil in Miss Jones” first splashed across the quivering thighs of a scandalized public. “Everyone who was ever in an X-rated movie had done so – why hadn’t I,” they repeatedly asked.
Well, for starters, I’m bone lazy. Why else would I settle for barely making a living in X-rated movies rather than get a job?
Also, as everyone else had done so, I hesitated. I hate doing what every body else does.
But when I retired from desktop publishing real estate magazines, my darling far better half said, “Now you can write your book. It’s not like you don’t have the time, now.”
Well, he had a point. Even though my ardent efforts at turning the hill behind our house into a garden was taking up most of my days, I sat me down and started trying to tell it like it was. I would write a chapter and have him read it. He would say, “That’s good” and hand it back.
I submitted an outline and sample chapter to Lori Perkins, the agent who brokered Jenna Jameson’s book, “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” She had suggested I do so. She wanted to hire a writer (as with Jenna) and asked for pictures. I didn’t want someone else to write my book. I considered myself a writer. Still do. The relationship did not last very long.
Twenty seven versions later, I enlisted the aid of a professional editor, Wendy Cohen. We had met at the desktop publishing users group I attended when I was trying to get a handle on that special area of computering. Her help and encouragement led me to believe I had really written a good book. I still believe it.
Unfortunately, I finally got it ready to present to the world about when the bottom fell out of the publishing business – along with many others. Having not the least notion of how to find an agent, much less a publishing deal, with the help and guidance of a group called New Texture Editorial – I found Lulu.com self publishing service and had the audacity and courage to do it myself. That was quite a challenge. But I finally managed to figure it out and got my files set up to suit me and their picky parameters and, voila, I’m a published author! Of course, they don’t do much in the way of promotion, and I had not the foggiest idea about how to sell a book. Everyone told me what I should do – even my doctor – and it came down to “get an agent.”
So, I’ve done the best I can, with getting a web presence set up, and doing interviews with the kind folks, such as yourself, who have expressed any interest in the sordid tale of an XXX actress.
Lo and behold – a few book stores who specialize in X-rated star’s bios were willing to buy my books and have me to do readings of the material at events where the stores sold the books and I signed them. That still goes on, much to my gratified surprise. I just did another one a couple of weeks ago. AND – the on-line sales through the web site continue in a steady trickle that doesn’t get us rich, but is about all the fulfillment I’m equipped (and willing) to handle. It’s quite a lot of work, keeping records for the government, and being sure that folks get their books – and pay me for them.
Which brings me to why a sequel hasn’t yet been published. I simply have not had the time to write it. I set aside a time – like 5 am to 8 or so when John (My Hubby) gets up – but every time I open up my laptop to work, I try to first get my email answered and before I can do that – it’s time to go to the gym, or fix supper, or go to bed: about the only other things I do. Even my garden has been sorely neglected. I’m not complaining. Well, I guess I am. But I shouldn’t. It’s wonderful that so many people are interested enough to write. I really do love hearing from them – especially the ones who write to say they liked my book.
At least I have the title for the next one: “Going Down in Flames.” Several artists have even submitted cover art. Now, all I have to do is write the sucker. Don’t hold your breath. What I have forced myself to put down in files tastes like cardboard to me. You’re a writer. You understand. But Shit – I’m retired! If it doesn’t get finished before I am, too bad. It’s not like I haven’t put out millions of words on the subject in all the interviews I’ve done since publishing the first one. But yes, there are still untold stories, and I know, I know, “inquiring minds” and all that.
BB: If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one movie and one CD, what would your picks be?
Movie: Fantasia. CD: Stuntman (the movie’s score)
BB: What is one thing about you that you can share with the RSR Readers that up until our interview today, hardly anyone knew.
I won my first writing award in the sixth grade for a short story. Actually, it’s the only writing award I ever won, but, hey, I’ve been busy.
BB: How did you first start following the sport of boxing?
June 25, 1948, when Jersey Joe Walcott downed Joe Louis in the third round, but Louis survived to knock Walcott out in the eleventh. I confess, I didn’t really “follow” boxing. But my head was so completely into ballet, I didn’t “follow” anything else.
BB: Who are your top three fighters of all-time and why?
I adore Muhammad Ali – who doesn’t? He’s just so sweet – for all his “punch.”
I met Buddy Turman, who was well known in my hometown of Tyler, Texas, May 1959, in New York when at Madison Square Garden, Turman soundly defeated Bob Cleroux. I followed his career – sort of. He was a Prince and I loved “knowing” a real professional boxer, even if only marginally.
The only other of the ilk I’ve ever met was Rocky Graziano He came to see a performance of Pajama Game and invited me to a “watch the World Series” party with his posse and his wife – at his hotel the next afternoon. I was impressed. So were my buddies in the show.
BB: Do you have funny stories about fighters you have known or met?
I had lunch with Buddy Turman and his posse once in New York. A trio of my acquaintances just happened to come into the restaurant – It may have been “Lindys,” but I’m not sure. They joined us and it was hard to tell who was more impressed by whom. I looked around and realized that, including Buddy, I had slept with every guy there at one time or another. I assumed none knew that about me, as they didn’t share a locker room that I knew of, but who knows?
BB: If you had to pick one fighter since the day you started following boxing, who do you feel moved the sport ahead the most and why?
Mr. Cassius Clay – Muhammad Ali…hands down. His enthusiasm, humor, tenacity, skill and ethics were unmatched in not only the boxing world, or the wider world of all sports, but the whole wide world itself.
BB: Do you feel the sport of boxing has moved ahead or backwards since you first started following it?
Oh ahead, I’m sure.
BB: Who is your favorite Boxing Commentator?
My husband, John, is an actor. He did a commercial with George Foreman. John portrayed the referee, Mills Lane. John can imitate Howard Cosell to a tee. So, I’d have to say my favorite boxing commentator is my husband, John Welsh, but he’s not on any shows at the moment.
BB: What is your favorite boxing movie of all-time and why?
“Million Dollar Baby,” because it showed me the world of boxing from a totally new perspective. Besides, I’d walk on glass to see Clint Eastwood read the phone book.
BB: Do you favor a mandatory retirement fund for all boxers and if so, how would you like to see it accomplished?
The thirty or so adults that were active in sex films in NY in 74 talked all the time about unionizing, but nobody had the least interest in devoting themselves to the leadership position, nor to finding out what needed to be done. No one had any spare change, certainly, to hire a lawyer or other professional who might know what to do. I understand the need and applaud your efforts on the issue of a union/retirement fund for pugilists.
They are more the high-wire walkers even than porn actors. SAG, AFTRA, and Equity require contributions to the healthcare and pension fund as part of every union contract signed. There, obviously, has to be an organization in place to furnish standard basic contracts; police compliance; collect, invest, and disburse funds; and all that. There are professional “organizers” who do just that, I’ve heard. There would first have to be an organizing committee formed. Promoters, managers, trainers, and performers/boxers should each be represented. Now who calls this first meeting? Someone like yourself, I should think, could do it, if you were willing to put in the time. First order of business: an agreeable assessment to cover the initial expenses – meeting space, pencils, coffee, tranquilizers…
I doubt I’m telling you anything you don’t know, but since you asked department…
BB: Finally, what is the saying you live your life by?
Let’s see. “Live and let live,” comes to mind, but then I’m a flaming liberal and want to see a safety net for everyone in place, and that is sort of an opposite view, isn’t it? How about, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think?” Bit of a downer, thinking about the finish line and all. Maybe, “Eat, drink, and be merry?” Same thing. How about one of my own devising: “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as the situation may change.”
BB: Anything you would like to add?
A very huge thank you for your interest in little old me and my sincere wish that you have a long and continually successful career. If you are ever near the Hollywood sign, you must stop by for a cup of tea in my garden. It’s my only real vanity. I was blessed with the constitution of an iron skillet, so I can’t complain too much about the aging process as it’s not been that big an inconvenience for me. It’s tough to outlive so many friends and colleagues, but oobla dee oobla dah and all that. Kurt Vonnegut (possibly my favorite author) says the secret to success is to floss regularly. To that I would add, “And don’t forget to moisturize daily.”
This picture is from the private collection of Chelz and being a huge Frank Sinatra fan as all my readers already know, I had to share it. Chelz is the second from the left up front.
To find out more about Georgina you can visit her official website and to order a personally signed book you can do so here
To order her book “The Devil Made Me Do It” on Amazon here
Finally, if you cannot get enough of Georgina, she also has her own blog where she updates as much as her schedule allows her. You can visit it here