Gloria Leonard, Ex-Porn Actress, Passes At 73

Published on February 04, 2014, 7:23 pm
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Gloria Leonard, a Bronx-born former porn actress who later became publisher of well-known skin mag High Society and an outspoken proponent of free speech, died Monday in a Hawaii hospital. She was 73.

Gloria Leonard, Ex-Porn Actress, Passes At 73

The groundbreaking businesswoman was born Gail Leonardi in 1940 to a Jewish family. She was a 35-year-old single mother in the 1970s when she first entered the porn industry, taking the name Gloria Leonard for her debut in the porn classic “Misty Beethoven.”

Leonard worked for decades in adult publishing, and was an ardent supporter of the National Organization for Women and free speech groups.

She brushed off frequent criticism for identifying as a feminist while also advocating for the porn industry.

“The difference between pornography and erotica is the lighting,” she once famously said.

From 1977 to 1991 Leonard ran High Society magazine, famous for publishing naked pictures of famous actresses such as Jodie Foster and Barbra Streisand. She also pioneered the use of 900 phone sex lines for the magazine, although she later claimed she never made a dime from it.

Leonard, who lived in Hawaii at the time of her death, suffered a serious stroke January 30, 2014 and passed away February 3, 2014. She is survived by her daughter Robin Leonardi, 50, and granddaughter Roxanne Felig, 18.

 

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