BERKELEY—The body of Juliet Carr, better known by her adult career name Juliet Anderson, and even more frequently recognized as one of the characters she portrayed, "Aunt Peg," was discovered this morning in her residence in Berkeley by a friend. The cause of death is not yet known, but the actress suffered for many years with Crohn's disease, which had only recently been diagnosed, though she had suffered from it for most of her life.
"I found her in her bed," said her friend Kevin, who became close to the actress over the last 18 months. "She looked like she was just asleep. There were no empty pill bottles, nothing out of the ordinary. There wasn't any alcohol; her wrists weren't slit; nothing."
Kevin had arrived to take the former actress to a doctor's appointment for a colonoscopy that morning to help in the treatment of her Crohn's.
"She had chronic Crohn's disease, and you can only control so much of that with diet," Kevin said. "She was a health nut, she was in great shape, and this was a total shock. ... In her case, it was congenital; she had it since she was a little kid, and it stopped her from even going to regular school as a child. it's something she had forever, probably all her life."
Carr's adult career was unusual, to say the least. Born in Burbank in 1938, the diminutive blonde began acting in adult at the age of 39, when, as an employee at an advertising and engineering firm, she was discovered by famed director Alex DeRenzy, who cast her in his 1978 blockbuster hit Pretty Peaches. Her career took off quickly, and she performed in more than 80 movies over the following 10 years.
Her best-known role, however, was as "Aunt Peg," her character in the movie of the same name. "Aunt Peg" was a Hollywood agent who had an unusual method of choosing her clients and of getting them work, as displayed in Aunt Peg Goes Hollywood and Aunt Peg's Fulfillment. She also appeared in such top hits as Tangerine, Vista Valley PTA, Dixie Ray Hollywood Star, Outlaw Ladies, Taboo 1 & 2, Hustler Video Magazine 1, and in half of the first 24 volumes of the Swedish Erotica series.
Carr also took credit for discovering world-famous star Nina Hartley, having cast her in 1984 in Educating Nina, which Carr directed. However, when she was unable to find distribution for the movie, which she had financed herself, she quit the industry altogether.
"It was a huge undertaking with a strong story, talented actors and superb production values," Carr wrote. "However, this gem was a financial and emotional disaster for me. As the first woman producer of X-rated films, the men who ran that industry were intimidated by me and retaliated by never releasing Educating Nina. Devastated, I quit the adult entertainment industry."
"This is really sad news," reflected Hartley. "Juliet did put me in the movies all those years ago and was a mentor for several years. I saw her in November up in Berkeley when I did a personal appearance there. She was in fine health; she was happy. We took a couple of pictures together, she flashed her boobs—they were still lovely—and since it has to happen to all of us, I'm grateful that it seemed to happen peacefully without other incident."
"She was the original cougar before 'cougar' was hot," Hartley added.
Carr's life was, for want of a better term, eclectic. According to her website, she followed her American lover to Japan in 1960, married him briefly, became fluent in the Japanese language and even attended the university there. In 1965, she lived in Mexico City and taught English to IBM executives there, and two years later did similar teaching in Athens, Greece. In 1971, she was a "top-ranking" radio producer in Finland, creating programs in English about Finland. Between those jobs, she worked as a secretary to a nudie film producer, an Avis Rent-A-Car employee, a cocktail waitress, a fashion model and a receptionist for the home offices of Burger King, all in Miami, Fla. Later, she managed a bed-and-breakfast in Northern California, and eventually became a massage therapist, a profession which she practiced until her death.
In 1996, Carr, already an AVN Hall of Famer, was inducted into the Legends of Erotica Hall of Fame; the XRCO Hall of Fame in 1999; and she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Free Speech Coalition in 2001. She also received an honorary Doctor of the Arts degree from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 2007.
"She was just a wonderful woman," recalled director Wesley Emerson. "She started late in the industry, and I interviewed her about a month ago because several of her films are about to be rereleased in France—Coed Fever, Inside Desiree Cousteau and Talk Dirty To Me—and they wanted some commentaries from different people. I also talked to her about how she got started in the eight-millimeter business. She was one of the big stars of the Swedish Erotica series, and she worked with practically everybody. We talked about how she got started and all the things she did in the industry. She was talking about that film she did about older couples having sex [Ageless Desire, 1998]. I had worked with her many years ago on the film Bad Company; it was one of those one-day wonders that you shot in 35mm in those days, and she was great, she was just an amazing person. She was always there on time, always ready with her lines, and I thought she was just a wonderful person."
"I heard on the grapevine about a hot new 'older' woman in the biz and was soon in her apartment interviewing her," remembered photographer Paul Johnson. "Her name was Judy Carr, later to become Juliet Anderson. We did a great shoot in a hot tub and patio that became the Connoisseur Series mag The First Time. [Juliet] was my sexy assistant the last few years I worked in the biz. Juliet had a great eye and after I taught her to use a Hasselblad she did great work when I was modeling POVs or fill-ins. I joked with Juliet that she could learn to use a Hasselblad but never could learn to flick a Bic. When Juliet and I worked together we would say that we will always be friends, seems to be true, we had breakfast together 3 weeks before her death."
"Juliet was a great assistant," he continued. "She had a great eye for dressing the set, did make-up when needed, and could crack the whip to keep the rest of us moving. And sometimes when a male was having trouble keeping it up, Juliet would lend a hand or whatever it took. Away from the biz I probably spent more time with her than anyone else."
"She was very health-conscious," Emerson noted. "When I saw her last month, her body was still pretty doggone toned and healthy."
"She was doing an essential kind of massage," said another acquaintance. "She had an amazing touch with her fingers; it would melt you. If she would just run her nails down your arm, it felt great."
"Her mom is still alive, and she spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with her mom and her family," Kevin noted.
"Juliet and I talked, just in passing, about what she would want done if she died," Kevin said. "She said she wanted to be cremated, and I've talked to her family a little bit, and we talked about donations to the Humane Society in lieu of flowers or any of that."
A memorial service is planned for Anderson on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at San Francisco's Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission St. (near 11th). Doors will open at 6 p.m., with the service beginning at 7. There will be no charge, but donations will be accepted. RSVP required to firstname.lastname@example.org; please indicate if you were a personal friend or a fan.
A gallery of Juliet Anderson photos can be found here.