Traci Lords

Traci Elizabeth Lords was born May 7, 1968, in Steubenville, Ohio, originally named Nora Louise Kuzma. The Traci Lords we know today, controversy and all, is a combination of Nora's high school best friend, Traci; the character Katharine Hepburn played in The Philadelphia Story; and the last name Lords, after her favorite actor from her favorite show, Hawaii Five-O's Jack Lords.

Traci moved to Lawndale, California, with her mother and three sisters, fleeing her alcoholic father. While a student at Redondo Union High School, she ran away from home at the age of 15 after having had an abortion. While living with a man in his 40's, Traci went to Jim South's World Modeling Agency (for adult movies) with a friend's sister's birth certificate, which read Kristie Elizabeth Nussman, age 22.

Her "roommate" accompanied her to Jim South's Agency (he claimed to be her stepfather), and convinced Mr. South that Traci would soon be a porno movie star, and after Traci stripped and showed that she was certainly not shy, she was in.

Her first film was What Gets Me Hot!, in 1984. By the time she was 18, she had starred in more than 100 porno movies, such as Open Up Traci, Two Timing Traci, Sex Fifth Avenue, and Holly Does Hollywood - each gradually more graphic.

Traci was a porno queen; she was recognized worldwide and got mobbed wherever she went. But when authorities found out that she was underage while in these movies, prosecutors arrested the owners of her porn movie agency and X-citement Video Inc., and the hundreds of films she appeared in were deemed illegal and taken off the shelves. In 1984, Traci posed for a Penthouse centerfold, in the same issue that ultimately exposed Vanessa Williams, but the issue is also considered illegal.

The only "Traci" movie that is considered legal is Traci I Love You, which she sold to a distributor. She may have been just a porno actress, but Traci was also a businesswoman who wrote her scripts, and developed Traci Lords Productions along with her boyfriend at the time. The company produced movies such as Traci Takes Tokyo and Beverly Hills Copulator.

Traci left the scene for a while and returned in the late '80s to do television appearances and B-movies. She appeared in Wiseguy, Married... With Children and MacGyver, and movies like 1988's Not Of This Earth (her first mainstream movie), 1989's Fast Food, 1990's Cry-Baby, 1991's A Time To Die, Raw Nerve and Laser Moon, and the 1993 made-for-TV movie The Tommyknockers, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

Among her many roles, the higher profile ones include those in the films Serial Mom, Virtuosity and Blade; a recurring role on Melrose Place in 1995; appearances on Roseanne, Nash Bridges; and a part as herself in D.R.E.A.M. Team (with Traci Bingham and Angie Everhart).

She apparently lost a role in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, to Sadie Frost, Jude Law's wife. Traci is also a singer, who has contributed her vocals to the Manic Street Preachers' Little Baby Nothing, the Ramones' Somebody to Love, and performed songs for the movies Virtuosity and Mortal Kombat.

Traci vows that she has changed her ways; she hasn't and would never sleep around to get a part. She even made several attempts at marriage, with her failed marriages to Brook Yeaton and actor Ryan Riel Grainger, and her
engagement to John Enos III, which was broken off before heading to the altar.

Trying to change her reputation from porn queen to classy actress may prove to be harder than she thinks -- but at least she's trying.