Thursday, March 09, 2006

Whatever Happened To Bambi Woods?

Ever found yourself really bored at work? Today was that day for me until I found an article about a mystery in GQ magazine. The piece posed the question, “What ever happened to Bambi Woods?” I knew the name and was quite intrigued to find out. However, the answers were to be only found in a new movie coming out soon on DVD. Bullshit! I set out to find the answer on the internet. Here is what consumed most of my day. By the way, Bambi Woods was the screen name of the actress who stared as “Debbie” in Debbie Does Dallas.

Debbie Does Dallas is one of the highest grossing porn films of all time, but it has left a multitude of unanswered questions in its wake. Who made all the money? What became of the cast members? And what really happened to the film's star, Bambi Woods?

Debbie Does Dallas appeared in 1978 and became one of the five best selling adult films of all time, providing relief from the diet of violent X-rated material that marked the '70s.
"Debbie", Bambi Woods, disappeared after making a couple sequels and one other adult film. Rumor has it that she died of a drug overdose in 1986, but no one has ever come up with proof. It has been suggested that her real name was Debbie DeSanto or Barbara Woodson. She is believed to have been born in Pierre, South Dakota(c. 1959). Other reports say she was rescued from the industry by her parents and lives in seclusion.

The 2005 British documentary, Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered, delves into the continuing mystery of “Debbie” leading lady Bambi Woods.
Produced by England’s Channel 4, the film shows us how a cheaply made porn flick — designed to cash in on the sexy image of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders squad — became one of the most popular XXX movies of the 1970s and then went on to even greater success on video in the 1980s. With help from the few people who knew her in the porn world, filmmaker Francis Hanly probes the 25-year-old mystery of star Bambi Woods, the small-town girl who played "Debbie" and then mysteriously disappeared, never to grace the screen again.

According to the reedy voiceover of the film-maker, the challenge was to track down all of the main players involved in the 1978 movie, the flimsy plot of which saw young cheerleaders offering sexual favors to raise enough cash to get Debbie – played by fresh-faced newcomer Bambi Woods – to Dallas to try out for the cheerleading big league. However, not everyone was happy to be found. The producer/ director “Jim Clark”, now a successful businessman, would only talk if his real name wasn’t revealed. Of those who had performed in front of the camera, only one of the female participants agreed to be interviewed; another cheerleader flatly refused to reminisce on “a career that gave me nothing but exploitation”.

The British crew hired a private investigator to track down the porn star. He was unable find anyone by the name Barbara Woodson/ Debbie DeSanto, or even verifies that anyone by these names having died in 1986. Francis Hanly, filmmaker, did reach some of the other women who appeared as cheerleaders in the film and all but one refused to do interviews.
The ghost of Woods haunted the whole documentary – she left the adult entertainment industry and promptly vanished. Unable to either produce an ageing Woods, or even confirm rumors that she’d died of a drug overdose in 1986, the documentary never seemed to really get to the heart of its subject, and was happy enough to meander around the sometimes titillating, sometimes tragic fringes.

Appearing in only four known films - Debbie Does Dallas and its 1981 and 1985 sequels, and another film called Swedish Erotica 12 in 1981. Bambi Woods' exact name and eventual fate are still unknown. I guess we'll never know; and maybe we don't need to.

File under completely useless trivia.The school Debbie Does Dallas was shot at is Pratt Institute of Art and Design in Brooklyn. It is commonly known amongst its students that "Debbie" was shot in the library (very recognizable due to the frosted glass floors), the back entrance of the library (which has been locked for years), the president's office (to the delight of many students) as well as the locker rooms of the indoor pool which closed its doors in the 80's. Still photographs of the movie have been elegantly used in the 1999 year book for graduates, unbeknown-st to Pratt staff members and teachers, as the yearbooks are always being designed by its graphic design students.

Where Are They Know


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