Real name: Nora Louise Kuzma
Birthdate: May 7, 1968
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Traci Lords (born Nora Louise Kuzma on May 7, 1968), also known as Traci Elizabeth Lords and Tracy Lords, is an American film actress, producer, director, writer and singer. She first achieved notoriety for her underage appearances in pornographic films and Penthouse magazine (she was around 16 years old in her first film), later becoming a television and B-movie actress.
In May 1986, authorities discovered she was underage while making movies and they arrested her, as well as the owners of her movie agency and X-citement Video, Inc. (See United States v. X-Citement Video.) The ensuing prosecution against the agencies cost the pornographic film and distribution industry millions of dollars as they were obliged by law to remove hundreds of thousands of her videotapes, films and magazines from store shelves to avoid the risk of prosecution for trafficking child pornography. In her book, Lords suggested hypocrisy on the part of the movie producers and the news media, arguing that the porn industry actually got richer from the publicity of the scandal, even as they complained of losing a lot of money after destroying her illegal movies. Lords felt she was also exploited by the reporters, who used censored stills from her unlawful films. Lords herself was never charged with a crime, since as a minor she was unable to give informed consent to perform sex acts on film for money. Instead, the agents and producers who accepted her fake IDs were charged and people affiliated with the films in question experienced legal troubles for years. Eventually, the Justice Department was forced to drop all charges when it was revealed that the fake ID which Lords had used to dupe the pornographic film industry was a U.S. passport in the name of Traci Lords.
Only one of these films, Traci, I Love You, was produced after her eighteenth birthday, making it the only one legally available in the United States. (However, in non-US jurisdictions where the age of consent is lower, as well as over the Internet, her earlier films continue to be distributed.) Later, after her arrest Lords sold her rights to this film for $100,000.
Lords moved into mainstream films, and has appeared in a number of B-movies. At 18, Lords began studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and soon after, starred in a remake of Roger Corman's cult favorite Not of This Earth. Then in 1990, she was added to the cast that included Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake, and Iggy Pop, in John Waters' Cry-Baby, playing the role of Wanda Woodward. Other movies on her resume include Blade, Extramarital, Black Mask 2: City of Masks, and Chump Change. The latter won her a Best Actress Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.