The 1980’s was a time for exploration and boundary-pushing within the porn industry, with some of the new and most popular female pornstars of the 1980’s no longer fitting the mold of petite, white, and skinny.
This era also saw the rise of pornstars going mainstream, with many of the most popular female pornstars of the period starting their careers in the adult industry before swiftly branching off into either directing or mainstream acting jobs as attitudes towards pornstars changed.
In this article, check out Adult Site Brokers’ list of the best 80’s female pornstars.
Actress and sex educator Nina Hartley is the first in our round of the best female pornstars of the 80’s. Described as a legend in the industry, she started as a stripper as she got her nursing degree before making her acting debut in Educating Nina in 1984. She then went on to star in multiple Debbie Does Dallas TV movies, then she started her directing career in the 90’s with Nina Hartley’s Book of Love. Later she created a range of sex education videos for Adam & Eve before creating her line of instructional videos called Nina Hartley’s Guide. Over the years, she has won awards for acting, including being inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame and XRCO Hall of Fame.
Coming in second is Christy Canyon; she started in the Golden Age of Porn and became one of the top three most popular female pornstars of the 80’s alongside Traci Lords and Ginger Lynn. Debuting in 1984 with Swedish Erotica 57, where she starred with Ron Jeremy, Canyon made films throughout 1984-1986 before ‘retiring’ and returning in 1989, where she worked exclusively with Canyon Video and later Vivid Entertainment. She was inducted into both the AVN Hall of Fame and the XRCO Hall of Fame, and also received a Free Speech Coalition Award and has been rated as one of the Top 20 porn actresses of all time.
As one of the most sought-after porn actresses of the 1980’s, we cannot mention the ever-talented Traci Lords. This controversial nominee started in the industry at 15, working alongside Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn, before the controversial story broke in 1986, making all her movies Barr, her last two banned because of her underage status. Her final movie was Traci, I Love You, which she starred in before quitting the industry in 1989 and has gone on to carve out a career for herself in mainstream TV and movies, starring in classics like Blade and Zach and Miri Make a Porno as well as having had a lucrative singing career.
Alongside Lords and Canyon, Ginger Lynn was among the three most popular pornstars of the 80’s. She debuted in her first hardcore porno, Surrender in Paradise, before carving out a career for herself throughout the 80’s with her ‘girl next door’ looks. In the 90’s and early 00’s she went on to star in B-movies like the popular Rob Zombie Devils Rejects and was ranked by AVN ranked her as seventh of the Top 50 Pornstars alive, and she is part of the AVN Hall of Fame, NightMoves Adult Entertainment Hall of Fame and XRCO Hall of Fame.
California native Amber Lynn is a pornstar, model, and mainstream actress. She began her career in the 80’s as a nude model for Penthouse, Hustler, and Chic before transitioning into porn in 1983, starring in Vixens in Heat. She spent the next few years in the adult film business, then crossed over to become a featured dancer on the “gentleman’s club” circuit–the first adult film star to do so. Her movies have earned her a spot in the AVN Hall of Fame, and she has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) for her activism work.
A true legend of the adult film industry, Candy Samples is one of the most popular pornstars of the 1980’s and is still a fan favorite with her decades-long career. She started her career in the adult industry in the 1970s when she starred in Russ Meyer’s softcore porno Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens as well as acting as the narrator before moving onto more hardcore scenes in the 1980’s, with her most notorious performance being in John Holmes and the All-Star Sex Queen’s.
Annette Haven is considered a legend in the porn industry. She was among the most popular female pornstars of the 80’s and is regarded as a feminist icon in the porn industry. She refused to do money shots and violence, including turning down the mainstream movie The Howling because of the excessive violence. Because of her looks, she was cast in movies as the femme fatale or the virginal girl to be seduced and is still considered one of the most attractive women in porn, even earning her the best actress award for A Coming of Angels (1977). Haven is a member of the AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame.
Juliet Anderson (1938-2020) was a porn actress that rose to notoriety in the 1980’s as she starred in over 100 movies, usually as Aunt Peg, who was described as ‘a giddy, insatiable woman determined to enjoy life and sex to the maximum extent possible.’ In the late 1980’s, she took a break from porn to pursue a career as a relationship counselor before returning to the industry in the 1990s. She sadly passed away in 2010 and still has a large fanbase for her movies.
Since debuting in the 1980’s Sexboat, Little Oral Annie was a fan favorite for her notorious oral skills. She rose to further fame throughout the 1980’s as she starred in a series of hardcore promos and the Little Oral Annie series, including the title Little Oral Annie Takes Manhattan (1987). She worked on over three dozen movies before retiring early in 1986.
AVN Hall of Fame founding inductee Tracey Adams has earned herself a mention of the best 80’s female pornstars in our round-up. Over her three-decades-long career, she has shot with nearly all of the top names of the adult industry as she worked with both the big USA and European porn, earning her a massive following in Italy, where she appeared on billboards.
Lisa DeLeeuw is our final influential name in the 80’s porn scene. She debuted in 1979 with 800 Fantasy Lane before creating an illustrative porn career, including starring in Amanda by Night in 1981, which won her Best Actress by the Adult Film Critics before she left the industry in 1987. She is notable for being the first performer to sign an exclusive contract with major adult production company Vivid Video.
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