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Colleen Marie Applegate|
May 30, 1963
Bellflower, California, U.S.
March 23, 1984 (aged 20)|
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Suicide by rifle to the head|
Colleen Marie Applegate, known by her stage name Shauna Grant (May 30, 1963 – March 23, 1984), was an American nude model and pornographic performer. She ran away from her small town in Minnesota and proceeded to appear in over 30 pornographic films, earning up to $100,000 in her two-year career. Grant killed herself after the arrest of her partner in March, 1984. She was inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame in 1999. She was sometimes credited as Callie Aimes, Callie Aims, or Colleen Applegate.
Born in Bellflower, California, Colleen Applegate grew up in the small town of Farmington, Minnesota. Her family moved there in 1973, when her father took a managerial position with Central Telephone Company of Minnesota. Applegate was a cheerleader in high school and graduated from Farmington High in 1981. She stayed in the small town, working first as a cashier and then as a repair clerk with the phone company.
There, one night in December that year, she consumed a handful of prescription sinus pills in an attempt at suicide. Her father, Phillip Applegate, said that he never discussed the suicide attempt with his daughter; he and his wife at the time (Colleen's mother, Karen Lee Applegate) believed their daughter was merely seeking attention. According to the Frontline piece, the entire family had at least one group session at a counseling center during which no one really talked about the situation.
In March 1982, when the news spread about her overdose, Applegate ran away from home with her boyfriend, Mike Marcell, and moved to California. Applegate left behind her parents, a brother, and three sisters. After her death, her parents divorced.
Adult film career
After arriving in Los Angeles, Applegate and Marcell unsuccessfully pursued several employment leads in the first month. Then Marcell saw an ad for the World Modeling Agency in Van Nuys, which diligently sought attractive new recruits for "figure modeling". Accompanied by Marcell, Applegate visited the agency's owner, Jim South, who set up a photo session with legendary soft-core photographer J. Stephen Hicks, whose work was frequently featured in Penthouse.
Her first pictorial's theme featured a mock camping set and was to be published by Club. Hicks reflected on Applegate's appearance and personality, saying: "I deal with a lot of girls who are new in the business, a lot of young girls and a lot of girls from out of town. Colleen was so incredibly young and naive. She was completely un-hip and non-L.A."
Her wholesome, "girl next door" looks soon landed her work posing for other magazines such as Hustler Magazine and Penthouse. But Hicks advised Applegate to get out of nude modeling quickly, because when all of the magazines had used her, the only thing left for her would be hardcore movies. "You know, you take a typical girl that's used to working at McDonald's or at a shoe store, where she's used to making a minimum wage, and suddenly she's given the opportunity to get made up, and be in front of people who tell her she's beautiful, and make as much money in a day as she was making in three weeks and, um, they change. They change. And that's sad."
Almost immediately, Applegate progressed to filming hardcore photo sessions for Suze Randall.
Applegate's relationship with her boyfriend did not endure their first two months in California; Marcell left her to return to Minnesota and ultimately joined the U.S. Army. Before his induction, he informed some residents of her small town that Applegate was involved with pornography, which caused her family much embarrassment. In the Frontline documentary, Marcell refused to speak to the show's reporter about his relationship with Applegate, except to say that he no longer cared about her.
Ignoring Hicks's advice, Applegate continued working with World Modeling Agency, where she met veteran porn producer Bobby Hollander. Hollander launched her adult film career, suggesting what he felt was a "classy" stage name, Shauna Grant.
As a fast-rising adult entertainment personality, she was featured in Virginia, Suzie Superstar, and Flesh and Laces 1 & 2, among many other films. Her pay rose from $300 a day to nearly $1,500. As Shauna Grant, she made dozens of popular adult movies, usually plot-oriented. In Suzie Superstar, she played the lead singer of a rock band.
Off-screen she traveled in limousines and stayed in first class hotels.
Grant was provided with her own make-up artist, 27-year-old Laurie Smith (who was also an adult star). Smith, who co-starred with Grant in several movies (including Suzie Superstar, The Young Like It Hot, and Bad Girls IV), also became Grant's best friend and fellow cocaine user during that period. She quit the adult film business for a short time following Grant's suicide.
Grant's popularity earned her three acting nominations at the March 1984 Erotic Film Awards. However, despite these accolades and her beauty, Grant had some difficulty getting work due to her cocaine addiction and lack of "enthusiasm" during sex scenes. In some circles she acquired the nickname "Applecoke" and gained a reputation for being flaky.
By industry standards, Grant was early in her career when it suddenly came to an end.
In 1983, Grant retired from the adult film industry after less than a year and just over 30 films and videos, in which she had sex on screen with 37 men, and after contracting herpes and having an abortion. She disliked the industry, although she regarded Joey Silvera well.
On March 14, 1983, she was a multiple nominee and presenter (with John Leslie) at the 8th Annual Adult Film Association Awards show at the Coconut Grove Ambassador Hotel. While her desire to act in mainstream films had generated no offers, she was so prestigious at the time that famed director Francis Ford Coppola was seated at her table.
That night she agreed to work on her first adult film in 10 months. Matinee Idol was due to begin filming in eight days in San Francisco, California. A few days after the awards show, her Minnesota boyfriend flew to Los Angeles to see her but Grant forgot about his arrival. Grant and Smith had partied and slept in the days following the awards show and lost track of time. At the same time Jake Ehrlich, another boyfriend and cocaine dealer of Grant, telephoned from prison saying that their relationship was over and that Grant needed to move out of his Palm Springs home.
Grant persuaded her friend, veteran porn performer Kelly Nichols, to take the role intended for Grant. Grant also had the option of returning to Minnesota. Her parents offered to pay for her college expenses, but she believed she would no longer be comfortable at home in Minnesota.
On March 21, 1984, Grant committed suicide in Palm Springs by shooting herself with a .22 Long Rifle. Shortly after 7 p.m. she lay down, placed the gun horizontally against her head, and pulled the trigger. The shot passed through her right temple, out the left, and into the bedroom wall, according to police reports. The gun was discharged from such close range that the bullet left virtually star-shaped holes. Brain dead, Grant was rushed to Desert Hospital, where, on March 23, her life support system was eventually disconnected.
Grant's funeral was held on March 28, 1984, at St. Michael's Church, a Catholic parish near the center of Farmington, Minnesota. Members of the adult film industry did not attend the ceremony, believing their presence would only exacerbate the family's anguish. Instead, they contributed flowers and letters. Grant was buried in her favorite color, pink.
She was buried at the Saint Michaels Catholic Cemetery, Farmington.
- Adult filmmaker Roberta Findlay made the controversial Shauna: Every Man's Fantasy (1985), about Grant's suicide.
- Grant's career and death were fictionalized as the basis for the television movie Shattered Innocence (1988), starring Jonna Lee, a film that bears little resemblance to Grant's actual life. Her parents used their proceeds from selling the movie rights to fund Grant's tombstone.
- The musician Klaus Flouride honored Grant in the song "Dancing with Shauna Grant", from his album The Light is Flickering (1991). The song also mentions Virginia and Suzie Superstar, both of which are films that Grant starred in.
- Pop-punk band J Church wrote a song about the life and suicide of Grant called "Girl In A Magazine", which appeared on their 7" This Song Is For Kathi (1992).
- Christian metal band Mastedon wrote a song called "Innocent Girl", in memory of Shauna Grant on their debut album It's a Jungle Out There! (1989). The lyrics were written by the former Kansas lead John Elefante and his brother Dino.
- American death metal band Ripping Corpse wrote a song for their album Dreaming with the Dead (1991) about Grant, entitled "Deeper Demons". The lyrics question why such a tragic fate befell "little Colleen".
Notable television appearances
- Frontline: "Death of a Porn Queen" (June 8, 1987), as herself (archive footage; originally produced as a local special report for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul)
- Hard Copy: "Shauna Grant" (June 18, 1990), as herself (archive footage)
- John Baxter (February 10, 2009). Carnal Knowledge: Baxter's Concise Encyclopedia of Modern Sex. HarperCollins. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-06-087434-6. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- "Masseuse 3 and Café Flesh 2 Top XRCO Awards". avn.com. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 9:50. PBS.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 17:25. PBS.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 17:54. PBS.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 38:00. PBS.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 46:05. PBS.
- "Death of a Porn Queen". Frontline. Season 5. Episode 13. June 8, 1987. Event occurs at 46:25. PBS.
- Shauna Grant at Find a Grave
- Johnson, Thomas S. "Feeding on Shauna Grant: Ritual Cannibalism in Two Documentary Retrospectives". Journal of Popular Culture. 36 (1). pp. 25–43.
- London, Michael (May 6, 1984). "The Death of Colleen". Los Angeles Times. pp. R3–R9.
- London, Michael (May 13, 1984). "Death of a Dream". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 1.
- London, Michael (May 19, 1984). "Small-Town Girl Meets Death in Porn World". Syracuse Post-Standard. p. A-9. Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times.
- Matsuo, Alex (June 25, 2014). "10 Adult Entertainers Who Died Tragically Young". TheRichest.
- McNeil, Legs (2004). "Shattered Innocence (Los Angeles/Farmington, Minnesota, 1983–1984". The Other Hollywood, The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry. Regan Books, Harper Collins. pp. 359–370.
- Patrick, Riley (1997). Shauna Grant. The X-Rated Videotape Star Index II, A Guide to Your Favorite Adult Film Stars. Prometheus Books. pp. 612–613.
- Rosenberg, Howard (June 16, 1987). "Porn Queen: Uplifting and Sad Documentary". Syracuse Post-Standard. p. D-7. Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times.