Georgina Spelvin Interview
“I am the luckiest person alive. I’ve lived so many life times, I can’t really think of anything I haven’t done that I really still want to do.” Says pornographic performer and actress Georgina Spelvin, in response to a question I ask her about her views on her career. She warms to the topic “the surf was a big deal to my mother and we kids swam naked, nobody had bathing suits until they were like six or seven years old. I never had any kind of feeling that the body was anything to be ashamed of. I understood that in polite company you wore clothes because that’s what you did. But I was never repulsed by the human body, female or male or any shape or form. For a while I even went with a guy who had one arm missing. It simply never bothered me.”
Shelly ‘Chele’ Grahma is known to most as Georgina Spelvin, her girl – next – door stage name. She was signed to play Justine Jones unwrapped and ready to go as the suicidal vamp and front woman of the classic pornographic movie, The Devil in Miss Jones. Directed and produced by Gerard Damino, famed for the ‘porno chic’ Deep Throat. The Devil in Miss Jones smashed box office history and was ranked seventh in Variety’s list of top ranking films of 1973. The film ushered in a new golden age of porn, which included plot, acting, art direction and of course straight up fucking. Georgina Spelvin provided the formative sexual experiences of men of a certain age, appearing in over 70 adult movies and winning nine adult industry awards for her appearances.
In the early 70s Georgina was living in an art commune in the meat packing district of New York. “We were living at the Pickle Factory trying to cut film, and trying to get the rent together, so I got The Backstage Magazine, a newspaper with calls for castings and I went through it and called everyone who was looking for anybody. ‘I don’t know if I am what you’re looking for in the way of an actress’, I was in my thirties or forties at the time ‘but I can cook, I can haul equipment, I can cut film, I can keep a script properly. I need a job.’”
She was hired for ‘craft services’ on The Devil in Miss Jones, for $25 a day. When she was told about the director, Gerard Damiano’s previous film, Deep Throat, she asked “What’s it about? A giraffe?” But despite her atypical porn features, her age and her flat chest, Georgina ended up with the starring role for an extra $100 per day.
The film was shot in upstate New York, “Norman Rockwell country.” Among the tiny crew was a brooding Brazilian cameraman called Joaquin. “Joaquin was the cutest, sexiest guy with soft brown, liquid Latin eyes. He would get behind the camera and he would say ‘ok Georgie, make love to me, let me see your lips’ and I would melt all over the lens. When Gerard was behind the camera, instead of Joaquin, the scenes were strictly business. One of the greatest compliments Gerard ever paid me was ‘you know all your lines’.”
The world premier of The Devil in Miss Jones received unprecedented press, including an article in Newsweek. “Any thoughts that this film would sink without a trace were put to rest.” The film earned over seven million dollars in the box office for 1973 alone but did little to change her bank balance. Spelvin’s daily rate didn’t increase from $100 so she compensated by shooting a lot of films and made extra cash on the side by auctioning her used panties and signed razor blades for $10 a go. “Being a totally broke hippie were the happiest days of my life. Poor was sort of what I was always, until recently.”
This is an edited version of the full interview