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There's a saying that it's not where you start out in life, it's where you end up. That's certainly the case for these big Hollywood stars who began their glittering careers on the lowest rung in the acting ladder: in pornographic movies and material. Check out the list of these celebrities who began in porn - you may be surprised!

1. Traci Lords

was a prolific adult film actress who made a stir when the FBI arrested her. As it turned out, she had falsified her age and had been working in the industry as a minor for two years.

Traci could have returned legally to that career, but she managed instead to transition from adult films to mainstream entertainment. While never quite lauded as a serious actress, her numerous appearances on both film and television have earned her a reputation as the most successful person to cross over into mainstream film from a career in porn.

That might be true in a sense, but there are a handful of actors who have enjoyed undeniable success in Hollywood after more risqué beginnings. While not as prolific in the adult industry as Ms. Lords, these six other actors started out getting naked to get noticed, and it paid off for them in a big way.

2. Ginger Lynn

This list started with only five names, but I can't rightly leave off of it. More porn star, less cross-over hit, Ginger Lynn can't be ignored because you never know when she might pop up in a mainstream film. She dated both Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez in the '80s, which led to her appearing in Young Guns and Young Guns II. She had a variety of roles on TV and film through the early '90s. Since then she has largely returned to adult film making, but she's also popped up in mainstream movies like The Devil's Rejects and American Pie Presents: Band Camp. It is fairly easy to spot her mainstream roles on a list, as she is credited by her full given name: Ginger Lynn Allen.

3. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone's prono is very real [Credit: Cinema Epoch/Italian Stallion Productions]
Sylvester Stallone's prono is very real [Credit: Cinema Epoch/Italian Stallion Productions]

Yes, that one. Before he hit it big, stripped down on camera for a skin flick called The Party at Kitty and Stud's. He received $200 for his work. After the success of the Rambo and Rocky films, the movie was re-released under a new title: The Italian Stallion. Trust me, I've watched some of it. It's real.

See also:

4. Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan in his early porn appearance [Credit: Golden Harvest]
Jackie Chan in his early porn appearance [Credit: Golden Harvest]

Before Rush Hour, before A Rumble in the Bronx, even before his career as a leading man in Chinese cinema, had a role in the Hong Kong porno-comedy All in the Family. He later went on record saying he had no regrets about his naked portrayal of the slightly deviant rickshaw driver in the film. That may be, but I'm not sure we can ever look at our lovable Kung Fu hero the same way again.

5. Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren sizzles in the erotic Caligula [Credit: Analysis Film Releasing Corporation]
Helen Mirren sizzles in the erotic Caligula [Credit: Analysis Film Releasing Corporation]

began her on-screen career simulating sex acts in a barely-clothed role for the controversial film Caligula. All right, this only loosely counts as it was not technically an adult film, but the content was overt enough that I will include it anyway. A few other notable actors appeared in the film, but those who were or went on to become mainstream actors were not the racier elements of the picture. In fact, after the film was released, some of the actors complained about the lewdness of the scenes that were added after they had filmed their parts.

6. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Almost everyone knows that the Governator started his career as a body builder. After winning the Mr. Olympia competition, made the move to film; but not many people know that his transition was partly made possible by a (solo) nude shoot for a gay porno magazine. He posed for several shots, and it is likely that the experience helped to get him really relaxed in front of a camera.

7. Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz in 'Sex Tape' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
Cameron Diaz in 'Sex Tape' [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

This one almost didn't make my list because it just seems so unbelievable. On the one hand, there are a lot of entertainment writers out there claiming that shot a solo, soft-core porno, and has since spent much of her time and energy attempting to suppress the film. On the other hand, none of these writers provided any evidence of it. They all give the same details, as if their stories might all come from the same source. Attempting to fact check this story nowadays yields a high number of hits for her recent movie titled Sex Tape.

I nearly gave this one up as a hoax, but I allowed myself to look at a few websites that were a bit seedier than I would usually be visiting, and sure enough there was the video. It is actually a video recording of a photo-shoot that featured a young Cameron Diaz porn. I couldn't watch the whole thing, and not because it was too extreme or because I was too prudish. I couldn't finish it because it was just awkward. At the beginning of her solo bit, dressed in something like Sandra Dee from the end of Grease, she does pull down her top. From then on, the photographer spends the rest of the shoot trying to tell a topless Cameron Diaz how to be sexy. She appears to be (justifiably) confused by this, and the result is just painful to watch.

Although she did not appear in anything as provocative as Caligula or The Party at Kitty and Stud's, Cameron Diaz did start out doing porn before her serious big break, and that's the end of my list.

Shocking, eh?


Which porn actor turned A-Lister surprised you the most?

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