Home | Breaking News | Revealed: The life of tragic 70s Brit porn star Mary Millington who ‘romped with PM Harold Wilson’
Porn icon Mary was the UK's first hardcore sex superstar Rex Features

Revealed: The life of tragic 70s Brit porn star Mary Millington who ‘romped with PM Harold Wilson’

WT24 Desk

SHE scandalised Britain in the 1970s as the nation’s first X-rated screen superstar – but tomorrow blonde bombshell Mary Millington will be honoured with a very proper Heritage Blue Plaque, The Sun reports.  The sex queen’s 1977 soft porn movie Come Play With Me holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running British film, playing continuously for nearly four years.

And tomorrow an iconic plaque will be unveiled by Mary’s porn baron ex, David Sullivan, on the site of the old Moulin Cinema in London’s Soho, marking Mary’s success at finally having her profession accepted in Britain.

 David, now joint chairman of West Ham, told The Sun how Mary — who took her own life in 1979 — would have felt vindicated by the tribute.  He said: “She would be very proud. It’s probably the first recognition for any woman from the British sex industry. To set up a record that stands 40 years later — we’re all very proud of it.

“She’d be very pleased with today’s sex industry. She was a liberal and as long as the act was legal and between consenting adults she felt people should be able to see whatever they wanted.” It may be that Mary would be pleased with the current state of the sex industry but she would doubtless be surprised by Soho’s increasing gentrification.

Back in the Seventies the small enclave of Central London was a hotbed of sleaze.  But the clip joints and adult bookshops that dominated the area are slowly being replaced by trendy bars. The Moulin Cinema is now a cocktail bar and tourist trap.  Come Play With Me was Mary’s biggest film success. Co-star Pat Astley recalled: “I’m sure it did have a story but it’s a bit vague.

“I think we were a dance troupe in France who had lost all our belongings, which helped the cost of production as we only had one outfit each.”  Before that, Mary had made a name for herself at the more explicit end of the porn market, finding fame when her 1970 film Miss Bohrloch won the Golden Phallus Award at Amsterdam’s Wet Dream porn festival. The film saw her have athletic sex with two German men.

Around 20 more movies followed and by 1972 she was the wealthiest and most prolific porn star in Britain, also appearing in top-shelf magazines such as Knave and Men Only.  In 1974 fellow porn actress Maureen O’Malley — Mary’s co-star in the film Sex Is My Business — introduced her to David Sullivan and soon her face and body were selling him more than one million magazines a month.

David said: “I created the image of Mary Millington — I was the Simon Cowell of the sex industry. I created her standing and her following. Mary was my girlfriend. I put her on the front cover and she sold magazines.”  But she was not just a pin-up. She took on the Government, the police and the establishment as she campaigned for the right to buy, sell and view pornography.

As a member of the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Act, Mary met opposition in the form of pro-censorship campaigner Mary Whitehouse but later poked fun at her nemesis by naming one of her sex shops Whitehouse.

The future porn star was born Mary Ruth Quilter and grew up in a country cottage with her mother Joan. But while their life looked idyllic, Mary’s father, an opera critic called John William G Klein, was married to another woman and Mary had to deal with the post-war stigma of being illegitimate.

After a lonely childhood, she lost her virginity at 15 and was then to discover that sex made her popular. By 18 she had a husband, Bob Maxted, though the marriage was always open and they often went swinging and wife-swapping in Dorking, Surrey, where they lived.

Entering a Miss Dorking contest in the late 1960s changed Mary’s life. Even though she only came fourth, she loved the attention. And when her mother was diagnosed with cancer she needed cash quickly to pay for her care — and turned to glamour modelling.  Mary, who was just 4ft 11in, once said: “I could only do nude modelling because of being so small. There was no way I could ever do fashion modelling.

“I hate pictures of my face. I’m very shy and self-conscious but from the neck down I don’t mind. Not that I like my body — I’m flat-chested and I’d love big boobs and I’m saving up for a boob job.”  Glamour modelling didn’t keep Mary in money for long and soon she was doing hardcore porn and promoting her illegal work in any way she could.

By the late 1970s she was doing X-rated photoshoots, sex chat lines and porn movies and had her own sex shops in which she would often serve customers wearing nothing more than a G-string.  Her career choices led to several brushes with the police, who frequently raided her shops.

Infamously, Mary almost got arrested outside 10 Downing Street when she flashed her boobs for a photo next to the policeman standing guard.  It was not the only notorious tale involving Mary and Downing Street — she was rumoured to have slept with Harold Wilson in 1975 when he was Prime Minister.

Trevor Crook, one of Mary’s long-term lovers, said of the claim: “I’d have thought she’d have more taste than that.”    And David Sullivan added: “She might have had a thing with Harold Wilson. That’s what she told me. It’s an odd, odd thing to make up.”  Not content with her porn career Mary also turned to escorting. David recalled: “I know she worked in The Black Cat Club in Zurich. She said she was hostessing — she was probably escorting.”

Mary’s success meant she could afford a six-bedroom mansion in Walton-on-the-Hill in Surrey, but then her world came crashing down when her beloved mother died of cancer, ten years after initially being diagnosed.  At the same time Mary’s extremely unconventional marriage began to crumble and she became inconsolable and was diagnosed with depression.

Around that time she became friends with Diana Dors and her hellraiser husband, actor Alan Lake.  Despite previously having claimed never to have had a drink or a cigarette, Mary became a drug addict.  Trevor Crook told of the moment he realised Mary was in trouble. He said: “I was at the house one day and her visitors were Diana Dors and Alan Lake.

“They were literally snorting off the table. It affected her life in a really big way. We never really got on when the coke got really heavy. She wasn’t the same girl.  “She’d changed, she was a cokehead — and a very wealthy cokehead — but she’d absolutely f***ed her life up.”  Addled on anti-depressants, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets, painkillers and appetite suppressants, Mary’s psychological problems spiralled.

Besides depression and mania she was also preoccupied with death — and even decided to train as an undertaker, taking a course in embalming.  Obsessive kleptomania was also taking over her life, to the extent that she had even taken plates and cutlery from restaurants, smuggling them home in a huge handbag.

In August 1979 she was arrested for shoplifting and threatened with a spell in Holloway Prison.  That evening, after a row with her husband Bob over their divorce, she rang her close friend John East and asked him to sing Goodnight Sweetheart to her — in full.  David said: “She went to her room, took a million pills and a bottle of vodka and she died.”

But while Mary’s downfall and death at just 33 were tragic, her memory and achievements live on.  David said: “To set up a record that stands nearly 40 years later would have made her so proud.  “And to think that plaque could be there for hundreds of years . . . she would be chuffed.”

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