“You only feel this good once. Don’t waste it.”
-Colleen Applegate, aka Shauna Grant
The shelves of libraries and bookstores are lined with biographies of stars who have come and gone. Some stories are inspirational, others filled with tragedy. The story of Colleen Applegate would take several volumes to fully explore. Hers is the story of a Midwestern, peaches and cream, girl-next-door who leaves Minnesota for the bright lights of Hollywood. Once there she found heartbreak, shattered dreams and addiction. On the surface, her story sounds like the prototypical Lifetime movie. If we dig deeper, the story of the woman who would become Shauna Grant was far more complex.
Her journey from cheerleader, to erotic icon, to addict would take a tome the size of Pride and Prejudice to fully tell…and it all happened in less than two years. This star ascended quickly, fell swiftly, and burned out far too soon.
Theories abound as to why this young, beautiful star would end her own life in such a desperate way. Foes of the adult industry are quick to blame her involvement in pornography. Some would say it was her increasing dependence on cocaine and the end of her relationship with a man she saw as the love of her life. Those who knew her paint a picture of a lovely but aimless young woman who felt she had nowhere to go and nothing left to give.
Shauna Grant left no suicide note. In her final months she made recordings of her thoughts, painting a picture of a big-hearted girl with even bigger ambitions…ones she had no idea how to fulfill. We can never really know why she decided to take her life that terrible night in 1984. Fans mourn, friends and family speculate and conspiracies have swirled ’round in the ensuing three decades.
The only tangible things we have left of this young life cut short are the films. The films she made trace the journey of a shy Minnesota teenager into an international sex star. The films made about her show a girl with an aimless ambition that could never be satisfied. Some films are serious examinations into the mind of a young girl. Some are crass, cynical exploitation. All are an important part of the puzzle.
In the coming weeks we will review 6 such films. Three will be a journey through Shauna’s meteoric rise in the the adult film business, three will explore the life of a lost girl in search of something that even she could not name.
The series will take a pause here, as there are several non-Shauna reviews in the pipeline. We will circle back to review the following films soon!
PART FIVE Frontline: Death of a Porn Queen (Coming Soon)
PART SIX Shauna, Every Man’s Fantasy (Coming Soon)
PART SEVEN Shattered Innocence (Coming Soon)