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Bambi Woods Biography
Birth Name: Debra DeSanto
Birthplace: Pierre, South Dakota, USA
Current Resident in California
Assumed Aliases: Barbara Woodson | Debbie DeSanto
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 116 lbs Waist: 24 Hips: 33
Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Blond / Red Breast: 34B
Bambi Woods grew up in an upper middle-class family in New Jersey and attended an exclusive Catholic Girl's school. My school contrary to what most would think did not allow sports or cheer leading so I really didn't have the cheerleader experience. Bambi was 19 and living in denial; I wanted to go to college but didn't really have the grades to go to that next level. I hoped to study theater or acting.
"I moved to New York and was working for a small grocery store on Broadway when she ran into financial difficulties and a opportunity of a lifetime at the same moment. From a complete nobody to a feature flick. The time was right and I took the leap." "I had a friend whom had done a couple of gigs with and I owed her money. She told me that some producers had called her and were looking for some new faces and said I should go down and talk to them. She told me I was going to get paid something like a thousand dollars a day but when I talked with them, they were only offering three hundred and fifty a day." Bambi, nevertheless, accepted and was cast as Debbie in the now legendary movie 'Debbie Does Dallas' (1978).
The director of the film was originally planning on making a film called 'Teenage Services'. Things changed when he met Bambi: "A young woman came into the studio that I was working in at the time, told me her story of woe coming back from Dallas trying out for the cheerleaders down there. So I called up my partner at the time and said I got an idea, why don't we scrap this and we'll do this! He said, "sounds like a good idea to me". And that"s how it was born? It was really born out of her personality. She was as bubbly as you could get. She seemed to be healthy in her attitude to sex. The only thing she had a problem with that I was not aware of at the time was she had a drug problem. I named her Bambi Woods."
'Debbie Does Dallas' was a well-made movie about a group of high-school cheerleaders. Despite popular myth, Bambi had never been a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys, although she did apparently try out for them once. "It's not about the Dallas Cheerleaders", she later said, "It's about these high school cheerleaders who want to become Dallas cowgirls. The girl I play wants to go to Dallas to try out but her parents won"t give her the airfare so she and all her friends get jobs and then their bosses offer them money to lift up their shirts and show their tits and then they start fucking them and they get the money." Although Bambi only appears in one scene at the end of the film, she was perfect for the part. Bambi admitted that she enjoyed making the film, "except for the sex scenes because there were too many people standing around watching."
R. Bolla was the actor that had sex with her in the film. "It was one of the few sex scenes that I felt good about. Where I didn't feel it was slimy. She was too innocent for it to be vulgar? I went out with her on one date. She was very sweet. We went out with her the next night after shooting. That was the only time."
Herschal Savage, who also appeared in the film, would later recall "I never met Bambi Woods. I saw the film afterwards and I regretted not meeting her, because I think one thing that works about this film, even though technically speaking it"s, come on, it's a porno film; it's not good on many levels. But the fact that this girl is the object of the viewers" desire and no one actually gets to have sex with her really created a great tease. Back then Bambi Woods was considered really beautiful."
The film went on to become one of the top five grossing porn movies of all time. In order to make it they conned the top two administrators at the New York State University at Stony Brook into giving them full run of the campus, and even playing themselves in the film. Although they had no idea it was a porn film, the end result was an embarrassment for the state, from the governor down. The administrators lost their jobs and a state attorney got a much ignored lifetime injunction against any theater showing the movie in New York.
Bambi had no intention of becoming a porn star. "The only reason I went in the first place was because I needed the money. I didn"t go looking for it but I needed the money." After 'Debbie Does Dallas' was released, she supported herself by working as a stripper at New York's Melody Burlesque Theater with other top names such as Seka, Kandi Barbour and Lysa Thatcher. Fred Lincoln, porn actor, director and producer later recalled: "I was the first person to ever put porno girls in theaters and nightclubs in New York. I did it by convincing this guy, Bernie, to hire Bambi Woods. He paid her three thousand dollars and told me, "If she don't make this money back, you gotta pay us." She packed the club." One visitor remembered having "Bambi Woods sprawled out totally nude across my lap, hands permitted anywhere - she just wanted a buck every 2-3 minutes or so."
In 1983, however, she decided to make a comeback, starring in 'Debbie Does Dallas II'. Jim Clark was again the director, but unlike the original, this time Bambi appeared in almost every sex scene. The film picked up with Debbie not making the cheer leading squad and traveling to see her aunt Sadie who ran a brothel. The film was not as successful or as funny as the original, and according to Clark, "the reason that film got so messed up was because a friend of hers from Brooklyn came up and turned her back on to things that she had been off, and she went off the deep end." Although Bambi had a new image in the film, she was still as sexually explosive as she had been five years earlier. It was initially to be titled "The Best Little Whore In Texas", but had to be changed for fear of legal problems. "It's very funny," she commented at the time, "I have stood right next to the original movie poster outside of theaters and no one recognizes me."
At the time Bambi planned to continue making porn films, including one that was to be a take-off on 'National Lampoon"s Animal House'. She even admitted, "I fucked him last year. He's really great in bed. You might not think so, but John Belushi is a great lover." Apart from one Swedish Erotica loop though, she once again disappeared from public view. It was not until 1985 that Bambi Woods finally starred in her third and final porn film, imaginatively named 'Debbie Does Dallas III' (1985). Unlike her previous two films, however, Bambi only appeared in nude non-sex scenes. The sex scenes she does appear in are actually out-takes from her previous two 'Debbie' movies.
The fate of Bambi Woods in the mid-1980s became a mystery and later the subject of a documentary, 'Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered'. According to the Art Director of the original 'Debbie' movie, "She was a little bit shy and a little bit hesitant? She was a private girl from a tremendously different upbringing and she was all of a sudden in a whole different world." Clark claims, "I heard that in 1986 she died of an overdose, but I"m certain not sure." According to Eric Edwards, on the other hand, "From what I heard from other sources I think that her parents rescued her from this industry and took her away into seclusion and probably gave her counseling."
Regardless as to what actually became of Bambi Woods, she remains one of the iconic stars of porn's golden age. She may have starred in these movies for financial reasons and had no intention to take her involvement in the industry any further, but she will forever be remembered for her role in 'Debbie Does Dallas'. For many Bambi Woods was Debbie. According to the films distributor, Bob Burge, "Bambi was the girl next door. She was the cheerleader. She had that cheerleader look. She had that girl next door look." Today the film is perhaps the most well known porn film ever made. In Japan a series of comics were named after it, while in Australia there was even a rock band touring the college circuit called 'Debbie Does...' In 2002 it was transformed into a successful mainstream Broadway musical, thereby bringing the original movie, and its main star, even more exposure.
Plenty of legendary movies have inspired little rumors and bits of alleged trivia - some true, most not - and the original Debbie Does Dallas is no different. Since it"s release in 1978, rumors have raged on about how it"s supposed to feature real Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders (it doesn't), how some scenes were shot on the campus of the prestigious Pratt Institute (they were), and how it"s one of the best adult movies ever made (not even close). Stories like these have kept the movie in the public eye for the past 30 years, inspiring more than 40 sequels, a stage musical, and a popular pay-cable documentary series.
But one of the biggest legends associated with the film concerns its star, Bambi Woods. After making Debbie and one or two sequels, Bambi disappeared off the face of the earth. Some people (like the cheesy hype-hounds behind the bogus "documentary" Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered) say she died of a drug overdose. Other people (like Vivid Entertainment honcho Steven Hirsch) say she just wanted get on with her life, and didn't want the pressure of being a porn star hanging over her head. Well, Bambi has apparently resurfaced, and she's ready to put all those silly rumors to rest. In a two-part interview with the sleuths over at yes but no but yes, Bambi (or someone claiming to be her) tries to clear up the confusion about her post-porn activities (which, to date, do not include OD-ing), her real name (surprisingly, it's not "Bambi Woods"), and what she earned for appearing in one of the highest-grossing adult movies of all time ($400). Is it really her? Well, if you want to believe in happy endings, then sure?why not.
In most recent of attempts to remain private and at large, is a advocacy piece released in Melbourne Herald Sun recanting her reasons for doing the film in the first place.
[on her reasons for making porn films] "The only reason I went in the first place was because I needed the money."
(October 2010) Married to a computer software developer in the Silicon Valley and has two children.
Bambi Woods comes back (NSFW)
by Robert Nagle on 6/21/2007
in Pop Americana,Video/Multimedia
This is definitely NOT safe for work (NSFW), but this interview with Bambi Woods (of Debbie Does Dallas fame) was fascinating (here is part two). The actress who played her in the movie disappeared for more than 20 years, living in comfortable obscurity in Australia. She never reveals her identity, but makes this offer:
My family would KILL me if I gave any pictures out. What I WOULD do is an audio interview (my husband suggested this) in person if the company involved agreed to donate a sizable amount to charity. I don’t know why anyone would bother but if people can make documentaries and profit from them then they can donate money to charity if they want me to meet with them.
To be clear I am NOT asking for one cent for myself as I don’t need money and it would just be a once off interview. If anybody really wants my story (like the documentary makers) they can give some money to some sick kids. Everyone is happy to make up stories about me dying and doing “farmland” movies so they should be happy to hear the truth even if it isn’t as controversial as they would like.
In another NSFW piece by the same journalist (a pseudonym) about Debbie Does Dallas, we learn that 2 of the actresses committed suicide, one was an actor in mainstream films, one male performer did hundreds of films, one became a journalist/librarian, one actress ran a talk show about sex and porn in NYC, and still another had a short-lived porn career. The problem of that time apparently was drugs; those who used drugs ended their lives prematurely; those who stayed drug-free usually managed to spring back from porn and even to leverage it into something fun and semi-normal.
That’s one thing critics usually overlook about the porn industry: the big problem is making it easier for drug addicts to make fast money to support the habit. Shauna Grant‘s suicide had little to do with the porn industry (although it definitely estranged her from her family). Instead, the suicide had more to with her drug addiction and the man who was giving her the drugs. People at that young an age aren’t mature enough to extricate themselves from such situations. Therein lies the tragedy. (Even today, people lay virtual flowers on her virtual gravestone). People who perform in porn films may not have been supertalented or working on projects of lasting artistic value; however, in the days of Shauna Grant, the films were luscious and bawdy and sparkling; the directors of photography made sure to give films a great look; screenplay writers gave them campy scripts to have fun with at least. I can’t speak of other porn stars, but the films with Shauna Grant will only grow more beautiful (and ephemeral) with time. Not high art, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
Contemporary porn comes with a different set of problems. Instead of trying to mimic mainstream cinema, it presents sex and nothing but; it’s a given that nobody lasts more than a few months in the industry (although some women can rack up hundreds of video credits during that time). Porn actresses have learned the art of branding. Make a few movies, dance in a few clubs, do a few live webcams and have cyberchat with paying customers. If you’re lucky, you can get signed on as a contract girl with one of the major studios. I guess that is progress over prostitution from previous eras. On the other hand, the decision to be exhibitionist about everything means being unable to take things back. I read a few more of the interviews on Luke is Back’s site. His interviews with the girl of the month are both sympathetic and sad. I followed one interview where an actress airs dirty laundry about her life: the STD’s, the quarrels, the estranged family (and often the infant child they are trying to support). All of us have hard lives; we ought not reserve special sympathy for porn stars; at some point, everyone makes choices and has to live with them. But people in adult industry have very public lives and end up having to spending a lot of time and effort building up the porn persona.
In the days of Bambi Woods and Shauna Grant, porn stars could appear in movies and remain a mystery to their adoring audiences. One had to deal with fans on occasion, but generally they stayed out of your way. Nowadays, though, the adult star not only does sex scenes; she is available for “chat” or “live shows.” It must be exhausting. The Internet puts everybody just an email away from everyone else; but that does not imply friendship or sympathy; I remember a while back reading a (warning: not safe for work) long forum post by a porn star named Liandra for Abby Winters — it is visible even to nonsubscribers apparently. The thread on the forum went on for 30 some odd pages. Liandra and her male admirers were chatting away about love, relationships, beauty, art. Clearly Liandra was smart and thoughtful (she was a literature student), and the male audience was treating her with the utmost respect (bordering perhaps on adulation). Liandra talked about her life and frustrations, while her male audience offered friendly advice and encouragement. It was uplifting to read; all participants were having fun, and the men (from countries around the world) were showering her with concern and affection and insight. There wasn’t anything wrong with that, but it just struck me as as both exhausting and a waste of energy. Liandra was finding comfort from strangers; and strangers were finding titillation in being able to have a real-live chat with a “porn star”. I actually considered paying for a membership for the opportunity to talk with her or post on her forum. Perhaps we would have said interesting things, and we might have made a lasting impression on the other. It is a new kind of companionship: lively, flirtatious and still a bit empty.
It is sad that companionship (even virtual companionship) comes packaged with a monthly subscription; we should not be monetizing the personal aspects of our lives–unless we want these personal aspects to become the core part of our existence. I write. I share my life freely, and I wield ultimate control. But the Internet rarely forgets (and perhaps years later I will regret writing this post). Our attention is our most precious commodity; the problem with the modern adult star is having to babysit the fans and keep them entertained; critics are wrong to suggest that sex performances are exploiting these actresses; far more injurious is the burden of having invisible friends competing for your attention, juggling them around without offering any substantial connection.
Fortunately, that is one thing Bambi Woods never had to worry about.