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Porn star Jenna Jameson escaped a bad childhood by making dozens of X-rated movies. She parlayed that success into an adult media empire.
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Born Jenna Marie Massoli on April 9, 1974, Jameson took her stage name from the Irish whiskey brand. At 16, she left home, used pliers to remove her braces and became an exotic dancer. Jameson was discovered by a scout from the magazine Penthouse.
Adult film actress and entrepreneur Jenna Jameson was born Jenna Marie Massoli on April 9, 1974, in Las Vegas, Nevada, to Lawrence and Judith Massoli. Lawrence was a local sheriff, and Judith was a showgirl on the Las Vegas Strip. Jameson had only a few years with her mother, who died from skin cancer on February 20, 1976, shortly before Jameson's second birthday.
Bankrupt from paying all the necessary medical bills, the family was forced to move into a trailer while her father worked long hours to pay off debts. Jameson and her older brother, Tony, were essentially left to parent each other.
Although she was a gifted ballerina and a frequent winner on the pageant circuit, Jameson's teen years were a difficult and destructive time for the burgeoning starlet. She endured several sexual assaults and seeded the beginnings of a significant drug habit. At the age of 16, she left home to live with her boyfriend.
The following year, she removed the braces from her teeth with a pair of pliers and used a fake ID to land her first job as an exotic dancer. Soon noticed by a Penthouse scout, Jameson began modeling for adult magazines. Around this time, she also made the shift from the surname "Massoli" to her stage name, "Jameson," a moniker she picked for its boozy and rebellious implications.
Jameson began acting in adult films in 1993. By 1996, she had won several prestigious awards, including the 1995 The X-Rated Critics Organization XRCO Award for Starlet of the Year, 1996 Hot D'Or Best New American Starlet, and the 1996 AVN Best New Starlet Award.
Her erotic film career produced innumerable hit movies, and her extraordinary success led adult video concern Vivid Entertainment to sign her to a 15-picture deal in 2003. Over the course of her on-camera career, Jameson appeared or starred in more than 100 videos and compilations. She also won nearly every award offered by the adult entertainment community, including inductions into the 2005 X-Rated Critics Organization Hall of Fame and the 2006 Adult Video News Hall of Fame.
In 1997, Jameson broke into the mainstream with a brief scene in Howard Stern's biopic, Private Parts. Just as she was beginning to gain widespread recognition, Jameson reaffirmed her ties to the porn industry in 2000 by founding the adult-themed media corporation ClubJenna, Inc. The effort branched into a Web site, as well as an adult-themed production company.
After the success of her first foray into conventional media, Jameson ventured into more mainstream productions. She worked as voice talent on the animated TV show Family Guy in 2001, and for the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, both in 2002. She also appeared in rapper Eminem's 2002 video for the single, "Without Me," and became a regular guest on Howard Stern's popular radio show.
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