PORN VALLEY - Peggy McGinn had been Marilyn Chambers' best friend - and Marilyn hers - for the past 25 years, and for the last 10, McGinn has represented Marilyn's legal interests. Now, with Marilyn's death, McGinn has the unhappy task of helping to settle her affairs, since Marilyn's daughter McKenna, at 17, is unable to do so, and since Marilyn's ex-husband Bill Taylor is currently undergoing hospitalization.
It's a daunting task, made all the more difficult because McGinn is not very familiar with the adult industry where Marilyn gained the bulk of her fame and with which she has been identified throughout her adult life, and because McGinn is feeling her own deep grief at Marilyn's passing.
"I just want the pain to stop," McGinn sighed during a phone call to AVN yesterday. " I can't go for ten minutes without sobbing. I talked to her [Marilyn] every day. I would see her all the time, and she was healthy and happy, and we just went to New York to sign the contract for the Broadway play. Everything was great. She just nailed everything. The producer called me, just sobbing."
It was McGinn whose job it was to deal with the police and the L.A. coroner regarding Marilyn's body.
"This was completely unexpected," McGinn said, "and I feel terrible, because I told the coroner, 'I wish I would have been there,' and she said, 'Peggy, if you were sitting right next to her on the couch, it wouldn't have helped.' I took some pictures of her place. I went to her house on Monday, immediately, because I had to feed her cats and her dog and McKenna didn't want to go back there by herself, and the police had it taped off prior to that."
It is believed that Marilyn died of a massive heart attack.
Inside the mobile home, McGinn found stacks of memorabilia from Marilyn's career, including copies of all of her movies and several Ivory Snow boxes with Marilyn's photo on the cover - and the blood.
"Marilyn had two cats and a dog, and we're trying to find good homes for the cats, but nobody's going to want the dog," she explained. "That's how Marilyn got the dog; it was a rescue. I just talked to one of her neighbors, and the dog, even though he's little, he hates everyone. In fact, we believe the small amount of blood that was beneath Marilyn was because the dog was biting her all night, saying, you know, 'Mom, get up!' And that's what the coroner thinks. Because originally, they thought that she hit her head, because there's a small table at the edge of her couch that was turned over."
"What she did was, she was sitting on the couch - I know her whole routine because she does this, this, this," McGinn continued. "It's like OCD. She calls McKenna, and then she calls me and then she goes to bed. She does this every day. She had just gone to the Rite-Aid to get a card, an Easter card for McKenna and some stuff for her Easter basket for the next day. I talked to her at about 5:00, and then she left for Van Nuys about 6:00. There's a time stamp of when she bought the stuff at Rite-Aid at 6:51 Saturday night, and I called like at 8:00, going, 'I guess you fell asleep,' because she goes to sleep really early. We listened to her messages, McKenna and I, on Monday, and McKenna was on the phone - because she talked to McKenna like ten times a day. McKenna is on the message going, 'Mom, you're not picking up. You're not answering your cell phone, you're not answering my text.' And then there's a message - that was like 9 o'clock. And then there's a message at like 9:54 from the neighbor, and she said, 'Marilyn, I love you, but please shut up your f'ing dog.' Now, that dog barks only when Marilyn's not there. That dog does not bark when Marilyn's there. And the neighbor, who I saw again today, said on the message, 'Please, Marilyn, the dog is going non-stop inside your house. Can't you hear that?' So we can only ascertain that she died between 7:30 and 8:30."
Marilyn's "death" had been reported in the mainstream press at least twice over the years, and the subject has long been a joke among her friends.
"Seka called me," McGinn stated. "Actually, she called Marilyn's phone, and it was so sad, because she said, 'So, you're not dead, either, are you?' I said, 'Seka' - because you know, Marilyn's been pronounced dead twice before - not pronounced dead, but it was announced in the papers - so everyone that's calling is not believing it. So I said, 'Seka, honey, I'm sorry,' and she just screamed in pain."
"What's really odd, and a lot of people don't know this - we were never going to put it out - Marilyn said, 'Don't you dare, because it's a jinx, until I die,' and now she's in heaven telling me - Do you know that John Holmes died on Marilyn's birthday, and Linda Lovelace died on Ron Jeremy's birthday? So once when we were all sitting at dinner, the two of them look at each other and they pause and they go - Ron said to Marilyn, 'If you die on my birthday, I'm going to be terrified.' And everybody said, you know, 'Get a lottery ticket on when he's going to die, because it'll be on her birthday,' and I don't even know what his birthday is. But I thought, isn't that odd."
Jeremy's birthday is March 13.
Of course, the one who will suffer most is McKenna.
"McKenna's prom is this Saturday, and she wasn't going to go," McGinn recounted, "and I said, 'McKenna, we've been planning this for years' - both of our daughters are best friends - and I said, 'You can't do that,' so I sent her off to the mall today to get shoes, just to get her out of the way. She's handling this really well. I'm not. I must be strong for her."
"We were all supposed to spend Easter together, so she called her mom about 50 times," McGinn continued. "McKenna was staying at her dad's, which is only about a mile away, and her dad just went in the hospital a week ago. She said, 'Peggy, I'm prepared for my dad's death, but now my mom?'"
While it's unclear what McKenna's financial situation will be for the foreseeable future, she has plans to enter college next month.
"You know, Marilyn was not going to take this play in New York ["Deep Throat The Play"] without McKenna, and she just got her acceptance for college," McGinn said. "We did all the paperwork a week ago, and Marilyn said, 'I'm going to be so lonely and devastated without her.' I said, 'No, you're not. The play opens in May,' and so we arranged the contract for it to start in May so she could be here to send her daughter off, and I said, "Marilyn, you guys are going to fly back and forth. You're making a ton on the play so you'll be able to see her; you're off three days a week.' And she goes, 'Oh, my goodness, that's wonderful.' But this is how we planned it, and it's so sad. I was looking through some papers and I found the original contract, and it calls for rehearsals to start on [April] the 7th and the play was to open on the 16th, and with her writing and my writing, when we were doing it, in red ink, it says, 'No.' It says, 'Even if it costs me this part, I've got to be here for my daughter's graduation.'"
But with Marilyn's death, the play's opening has been pushed back to July, and producer David Bertolino has announced that the play will be dedicated to Marilyn's memory.
"He's just devastated," McGinn said.
A public memorial for Marilyn will be held on April 22nd, at a time and place to be announced on Monday.