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Shauna Grant Biography
Aliases: Callie Aimes, Shana Grant, Jillian Ladd, Callie Aims, Callie Ames, Colleen Applegate, Collie Aims
Died: Friday, March 23, 1984 of self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 20.
Birthplace: Bellflower, California
Current Resident in N/A
Birth Name: Colleen Marie Applegate
Height: 5' 5" Weight: 107 lbs Waist: 21 Hips: 34
Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Blonde Breast: 34B
Born in Bellflower, California, Colleen Applegate grew up in the small town of Farmington, Minnesota. Her family moved there from California in 1973 when her father took a managerial position with Central Telephone Company of Minnesota. Colleen was a cheerleader in high school. Applegate graduated from Farmington High in 1981, staying in the small town, working first as a cashier and then as a repair clerk with the phone company. There, one night in December, she consumed a handful of prescription sinus pills in a suicide gesture.
In PBS's Frontline: Death of a Porn Queen profile (US air date 6/8/87), her father, Phil Applegate, admitted that he never discussed the suicide attempt with his daughter -- he and his wife at the time (Colleen's mother, Karen Applegate) believed that their daughter was merely seeking attention.
According to the Frontline piece, the entire family had at least one group session at a counseling center during which no one really talked about the situation.
When the news spread about her overdose, Colleen ran away from home and moved to California in March of 1982, with her high school sweetheart, Mike Marcell. Applegate left behind her parents, a brother, and three sisters.
he couple arrived in Los Angeles, California. Applegate and Marcell looked into a number of jobs in the first month. Little came of this until Marcell saw an ad for the World Modeling Agency, an agency in Van Nuys, which diligently sought attractive new recruits for "figure modeling." Accompanied by Marcell, Applegate visited the agency's owner, Jim South, who set up a photo session with legendary soft-core photographer J. Stephen Hicks, whose work was frequently featured in Penthouse.
Her first pictorial's theme featured a mock camping set and was to be published by Club. Hicks reflected on Applegate's appearance and personality, saying "I deal with a lot of girls who are new in the business, a lot of young girls and a lot of girls from out of town. Colleen was so incredibly young and naive. She was completely un-hip and non-L.A."
Her wholesome, "girl next door" looks soon landed her work posing for other magazines such as Hustler and Penthouse. But Hicks had advised Colleen to get out of nude modeling quickly, because when all of the magazines had used her, the only thing left for her would be X-rated films. "You know, you take a typical girl that's used to working at McDonalds or at a shoe store, where she's used to making a minimum wage, and suddenly she's given the opportunity to get made up, and be in front of people who tell her she's beautiful, and make as much money in a day as she was making in three weeks and, um, they change. They change. And that's sad."
Almost immediately, Applegate progressed to filming "hardcore" photo sessions for Suze Randall.
Applegate's relationship with her boyfriend did not endure their first two months in California, as Marcell joined the U.S. Army. Before his induction he spread the news that Colleen was involved with pornography. This development soon traveled all over her small town, causing her family much embarrassment.
Ignoring Hicks' advice, Colleen continued working with World Modeling Agency, where she met veteran porn producer Bobby Hollander. Hollander launched her adult film career, suggesting what he felt was a "classy" stage name, Shauna Grant.
As a fast-rising adult film personality she was featured in Virginia, Suzie Superstar, and Flesh and Laces 1 & 2, among many others. Her pay rose from $300 a day to nearly $1,500. As Shauna Grant, she made dozens of popular adult movies, more often plot-oriented than "wall-to-wall sex." In Suzie Superstar, she played the lead singer of a rock band. By industry standards, Grant was early in her career when it suddenly came to an end. In a filmed interview, she said that she "wasn't ready" to try anal sex, which usually marks a starlet rather than a star. She also did only heterosexual scenes; most porn actresses also do lesbian scenes.
Off-screen she traveled in limousines and stayed in first-class hotels. Grant was provided with her own make-up artist, 27-year-old Laurie Smith (who was also an adult film star). Smith, who co-starred with Grant in several films (including the aforementioned Suzie Superstar, as well as The Young Like It Hot and Bad Girls IV), also became Shauna's best friend -- and fellow cocaine party pal -- during that period. She quit the adult film business for a short time following Grant's suicide.
Shauna's popularity earned her three acting nominations at the March 1984 Erotic Film Awards. Despite her beauty she had some difficulty getting work due to her cocaine addiction and lack of "enthusiasm" during sex scenes. In some circles she acquired the nickname "Applecoke" and gained a reputation for being flaky.
In 1983, Grant retired from the adult film industry after less than a year and just over 30 movies. She disliked the industry, although she regarded Joey Silvera well. Through Hollander she found a new boyfriend, cocaine dealer Jack "Jake" Ehrlich, age 44. Ehrlich had eased her out of adult films and the two settled in Palm Springs, California. According to Palm Springs Police, Ehrlich made his living supplying cocaine to tenants of an upscale condominium park close to his house. He had compiled an extensive record of arrests in California which included such offenses as selling narcotics and possession of stolen property. He also owned a leather goods store, Pelle, in downtown Palm Springs, which Grant began to manage.
According to the Frontline piece, while Grant was still living with Ehrlich, she began a relationship with a Minnesota college student (who appears in the Frontline story) during a trip back to Farmington, telling her high school friends that she planned to marry him.
In February of 1984, Ehrlich was arrested and later sentenced to a five-year prison sentence which he began serving in the State Institution for Men in Chino, California. The charges related to Ehrlich's 1981 arrest for possession of what detectives described as "several" pounds of cocaine. Grant was ambivalent about her circumstances following her boyfriend's conviction, which cut off her drug supply.
The night of the 8th Annual Adult Film Association Awards show, at the Coconut Grove Ambassador Hotel, she was a multiple nominee and a presenter (with John Leslie). While her desire for work in mainstream films was not working out, she was so prestigious at the time that famed director Francis Ford Coppola was seated at her table.
That night she agreed to work on her first adult film in ten months. Matinee Idol was due to begin filming in eight days in San Francisco, California. A few days after the awards show, her Minnesota boyfriend flew to Los Angeles to see her, but Grant and Smith had partied for two days and Grant literally forgot about it until the last minute. The beau was stranded at the airport as neither Shauna nor Laurie had a car. This was the same day that Ehrlich telephoned from jail, saying that their relationship was over and that Shauna would have to move out.
Grant had persuaded her friend and veteran porn actress, Kelly Nichols, to take the role which was intended for her. Shauna also had the option of returning to Minnesota. Grant's parents offered to pay for her college expenses, but she believed she would no longer be comfortable at home in Minnesota.
On March 23, 1984, Grant committed suicide at age twenty in Palm Springs by shooting herself with a .22 caliber rifle. Shortly after 7 p.m. she lay down, placed the gun horizontally against her head, and pulled the trigger. The shot passed through her right temple, out the left and into the bedroom wall, according to police reports. The gun was discharged from such close range that the bullet left virtually star-shaped holes. Brain dead, Shauna was rushed to Desert Hospital, where life support systems were disconnected after two days.
Grant's funeral was held March 28, 1984, at St. Michael's Church, a Catholic parish near the center of Farmington. Members of the adult industry were absent from the ceremony, believing their presence would only exacerbate the family's anguish. Instead they contributed both flowers and letters. Grant was buried in her favorite color, pink.
Preliminary investigations by Palm Springs police posed questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Grant's death. Weeks after the event, police were still awaiting results of toxicological and gun-residue tests. The possibility of a foul play investigation hung in the balance. It is known that Grant had received threatening phone calls that related to her boyfriend's business affairs. Also, detectives noted Ehrlich had avoided jail for some time by providing authorities with information. At the time of Grant's death there were two people playing pool in Ehrlich's house, Brenda Rosenow, a friend of Colleen's, and Cal Ardigo, a friend of Ehrlich's. Shortly before Grant's shooting, two unidentified visitors showed up outside the home. The back door of Ehrlich's house was a possible means of access to the bedroom and to Grant.
--> Grant's career and death were fictionalized as the basis for a television movie called Shattered Innocence, a film that bears little resemblance to her actual life. Her parents used their proceeds from selling the rights to the movie to fund Grant's tombstone.
--> The musician Klaus Flouride honored Grant in the song "Dancing with Shauna Grant" from his 1991 album The Light Is Flickering. The song also mentions Virginia and Suzie Superstar, films which Grant starred in.
--> Death metal band Ripping Corpse wrote a song for their 1991 album Dreaming with the Dead about Grant, entitled "Deeper Demons". Not disrespectful, the lyrics wonder why such a tragic fate befell "little Colleen".
--> Christian metal band Mastedon wrote a song 'Innocent Girl' in memory of Shauna Grant on their debut album It's a Jungle Out There!. Lyrics written by John Elefante (ex Kansas lead) & brother Dino.
Notable television appearances
--> Hard Copy playing "Herself" (archive footage) in episode: "Shauna Grant" 18 June 1990
--> Frontline playing "Herself" (archive footage) in episode: "Death of a Porn Queen" 1987 (originally produced as a local special report for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul)
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. It was the last time most people saw her alive.
On March 23, Shauna Grant locked herself in her bedroom and got out Erlich's .22 rifle. She laid down on the bed, held the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
A friend who had been staying with her in Palm Springs became worried and walked into her room, finding the body. Shauna Grant was rushed to Desert Hospital, where life-support efforts were called off after two days. It was two years to the week after the beautiful young Shauna Grant had left the rural town Farmington, Minnesota for the big city and its bright lights.
Shauna Grant left behind a small but very popular body of work. She was truly one of the most beautiful women ever in adult films, and her virginal innocence still beguiles us today, a full twelve years after her untimely demise.
Biography luke is Back:
Born 5/30/63 as Colleen Applegate, Shauna Grant grew up in a small town in Minnesota. But even there she wasn't safe from America's deliberate waging of economic violence against its citizens. At age 18, she disappeared with a man her parents disapproved of, and swallowed sleeping pills in an attempt to escape the miseries of a sexually-repressed society. It didn't work.
Fleeing patriarchy and her parents, Colleen ran to California. Her innocent look and sensitive soul captured the attention of photographers for Penthouse and Hustler who paid her $2000 a session to spread her cunt.
Shauna's parents soon saw her naked in magazines and they flew to California to impose their bourgeois morality on their free-thinking daughter-artist-junkie. Colleen ran away. They didn't hear from her for two months.
In the fall of 1982, while still not talking to her mom and dad, Colleen did a few hardcore porn loops for Suze Randall which came to the attention of Bobby Hollander who cast her as Shauna Grant in such porn features as Suzie Superstar and Flesh and Laces.
Shauna made 30 movies over the next year, doing 37 men before the cameras, catching Herpes, undergoing an abortion, earning more than $100,000 and spending most of it on cocaine.
"My favorite part of sex scenes with Shauna," remembers Jerry Butler, "was when the director told me I could cum."
Like other male performers, Jerry found it difficult to get erect while screwing Shauna. It was like f---ing the dead.
"I never saw Shauna Grant laugh," says Jerry Butler. "I was angry that Shauna allowed herself to get into a business that was swallowing her up."
Shauna played herself in Roberta Findlay's 1983 film Glitter. She tells Butler that she comes from a small town in Michigan. "I need to be sure. I want a commitment... All I ever wanted is a house, kids, and a man who loves me."
During the months she appeared in sex flicks, Shauna called her parents regularly. She quit porn in 1983 and opened a leather boutique in Palm Springs, funded by her drug-dealing boyfriend Jake Ehrlich. Oppressed by absurdly high rates of capital gains taxes, Shauna stole from the store until it closed.
"The simple version of Shauna's suicide is that she kept increasing her coke until she became paralyzed with life," claims Brad Williams. He doesn't realize that Grant's keen perception of America's socio-economic power made her despair of National Public Radio ever receiving adequate funding from those uptight motherf---ers in Congress.
One midnight in Minnesota (3-23-84), Karen Applegate received a call saying that her daughter had shot herself. Karen phoned the hospital to find out Colleen's condition. A nurse said: "Her condition is that a bullet went in one side of her head and came out the other side. What do you want me to tell you?"
Three years to the month that Colleen Applegate left the small Minnesota town of Farmington, she returned in a casket to be buried.
Her parents insisted for months, without evidence, that their daughter had been murdered. They still believe a version of this - that the porn industry slew their daughter.
In exchange for money which they used in part for Colleen's tombstone, Phil and Karen Applegate cooperated with a network television movie that gave a fictionalized account of Shauna's life and death. The couple regretted their cooperation when they saw Shattered Innocence for they deplored the way the film portrays pornographers. "It makes them look as if they're just running a business and she got in trouble on her own," says Karen.
Like many couples after the death of a child, Karen and Phil divorced.
Graveyard of Shauna Grant