Bio: Porn Star Shauna Grant became a superstar because of her wholesome, blonde beauty, not because she was much of a trend-setter, but in her final moments she became what not even her biggest critics could have guessed: the first of many pornographic film stars to commit suicide. Her short, erotic life came to a screeching, cocaine-fueled halt in the early evening of March 21, 1984, when she put her recently-jailed boyfriend's .22 caliber rifle to her head and pulled the trigger.
The beautiful Shauna Grant, the former Colleen Applegate, was dead at the age of twenty.
Shauna Grant's suicide sent shock waves throughout the adult film industry, which at the time was reeling from media and governmental scrutiny. Critics pointed to her death as evidence of the industry's destructive effects -- not even the most famous starlets were immune to porn's evil nature, they said. Shauna Grant's death was nothing quite so dramatic, however, but rather was the culmination of years of insecurities, failed relationships, and severe cocaine abuse.
The beautiful girl who would grow up to be erotic superstar Shauna Grant was born Colleen Applegate in Bellflower, California. When she was 9 years old, the family followed her father's job with the phone company to Farmington, Minnesota, a tree-lined village of 3,500 that lies thirty miles of corn and soybean fields south of Minneapolis. Almost immediately, Shauna Grant began to chafe against the bit of the small town atmosphere. She dreamed of bigger things than sleepy Farmington could possibly offer.
At Farmington High School, Shauna Grant engaged in cheerleading and softball, but her main allegiance was to her boyfriend, Mike Marcell, and the partiers they hung with. Upon her 1981 graduation, she took a job with her father's phone company, but Shauna Grant's fate was not in small town middle America. After a prophetic attempted overdose of sinus pills, Marcell packed up his black El Camino and the pair headed to Hollywood to make her a star.
Once in Los Angeles, they found that jobs were scarce . After a couple weeks of fruitless searching, Shauna Grant answered an ad in a trade magazine looking for 'figure models.' Shauna Grant had the figure, and a photo-shoot was set up. Although Shauna Grant was uncomfortable at first with the erotic nature of the pictures, she wasn't uncomfortable with the much-needed cash they provided.
Instantly, a star was born.
Shauna Grant's fresh-scrubbed, innocent beauty intoxicated all who saw her, and the photo spreads began to come hot and heavy. Within two months of hitting L.A., Shauna Grant was had modeled for most major adult mags, and her relationship with Marcell had ended.
Shauna Grant became the most photographed woman in the sex-mag field over the next six months. The money began to roll in, sometimes at the rate of $2000 per day. Soon she began dabbling in porno shorts. As Shauna Grant's income grew, so did her taste for cocaine, a habit she'd picked up in L.A. that had the added side-effect of keeping her weight down, a powerful lure for a girl constantly in fear of being overweight and ugly (although how such a beautiful girl could ever think that is beyond imagination!).
Shauna Grant's work in adult loops led to the breakup of another relationship, but she soon rebounded into one with adult film producer Bobby Hollander. Her new mentor wasted no time in getting Shauna Grant involved in full-fledged erotic films. Hollander christened his new starlet Shauna Grant (sometimes spelled Shana).
Shauna Grant shot to the top of the adult film world almost instantly. Her first film, "Paper Dolls," quickly led to more and more offers, and Shauna Grant became the star that Colleen Applegate always dreamed of being. Her 'day rate' skyrocketed, and although having sex on camera was initially difficult for an insecure midwesterner, the high salaries more than made up for any discomfort. Limos, first-class hotels, and more and more coke became the staples of Shauna Grant's new life.
Soon, though, Shauna Grant was on the outs with Hollander, and her new steady, a coke dealer Jake Erlich, began moving her out of the porn biz. They moved to Palm Springs together and Shauna Grant took over as manager at Pelle, a leather goods store that Erlich owned. Her life became one of increasing domesticity and she reestablished contact with her estranged family. Everything was going smoothly until Erlich was arrested (and later convicted) on drug charges.
Shauna Grant was cut off from both Erlich and his money, and she was frantic. Her money was at an end, so she agreed to go to San Francisco to shoot a new film. Her cocaine use rose again, and she began having paranoid visions of people stalking her. She appeared at the 1984 Erotic Film Awards, where she was nominated three times.
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