Mainstream Actors Who Turned To The Adult Industry

There's no denying that breaking into the acting business is tough. Some wannabe A-listers spend their entire careers fighting for a chance at the spotlight, taking on minor roles, and appearing in various flops just to get by.

Meanwhile, others resort to alternative methods to pay the bills, such as baring a bit more than they bargained for on camera. "I had to do anything I could to make a living 31 years ago," admitted Jackie Chan to Information Times (via China Daily). "I don't think it's a big deal, even Marlon Brando used to be exposed in his movies." Not everyone shrugs off what they did with such ease, however. In fact, Sylvester Stallone totally hated the script for the racy skin flick he partook in before his Rocky fame. "It was either do that movie or rob someone because I was at the end — at the very end — of my rope," the actor recalled to Playboy (via Rolling Stone). "Instead of doing something desperate, I worked two days for $200 and got myself out of the bus station."

But those are example of celebs who started off with X-rated work before transitioning into the big leagues. There are a select few A-listers, however, that did this in reverse. Be it dwindling funds or simply enthusiasm for the explicit, here are some mainstream actors who turned to the adult industry.

A screeching halt in Dustin Diamond's career

Dustin Diamond played everyone's favorite lovable loser, Screech, on the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell. Ever since the series came to a close in 1993, however, the actor had a bit of trouble remaining in the spotlight. The solution? Starring in his own adult video, of course. 

Diamond later regretted the odd choice on Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now. "The sex tape is the thing I'm most embarrassed about," Diamond said, while admitting his inspiration for it was Paris Hilton, who he claimed profited $14 million from her X-rated vid. "My buddy said, '...where's the Screech sex tape? You got to be worth at least a million.' And I thought, 'Yeah — yeah, maybe.' And that's as simple as it was." But it wasn't that simple, really, because he faked the whole thing.

"I got a stunt wang. I'm not an idiot. I'm not going to really put myself out there," Diamond told the Daily Beast, adding, "I'm an opportunist, really. Needless to say it did not make millions. But I had to take the shot. I don't know anyone who wouldn't."

At the time of Diamond's fake foray into the adult industry, his agent, Roger Paul, offered even more insight into Diamond's possible motivations. "Dustin has been trying to escape the 'Screech' typecast," he told New York Daily News (via Digital Spy), adding, "So this may help me get more bookings." Spoiler alert: it didn't. 

A sizable scandal

Tom Sizemore was once a Hollywood heavyweight, who starred in blockbusters like Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, and Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately for the A-lister, he suddenly became a tabloid regular thanks to countless run-ins with the law and a spiraling drug addiction. The personal downfall translated directly to his faltered career, and his debut in adult films.

Sizemore recounted the low point in his memoir, By Some Miracle I Made It Out Of There, writing that his illicit film was the result of two things: being broke and "hopelessly addicted" to meth. On the advice of the pornographer with whom Sizemore was living with at the time — in a squalid cabin, no less — he performed in the video "with six girls." Of the tryst, Sizemore wrote, "It was disgusting, disturbing and shows you what methamphetamine does to your judgement." He added, "Out of all the ridiculous things I did, that's the one I most want to take back." 

Sizemore headed to rehab soon after, but it took him nearly a decade — from 2005 to 2013 — to "finally [get] clean for real," according to the Daily Mail. He's also had some luck landing high-profile parts again, too, like in the long-awaited Twin Peaks reboot in 2017. So, it turns out his buddy Robert De Niro, who predicted Sizemore's comeback in 2005, was right: "He's a tough kid," the screen legend told the Los Angeles Times. "He's kept his sense of humor. All he ever says to me is, 'Don't worry.'"

Stephen Geoffreys: the star of an adult urban legend?

A cult horror darling in the late '80s, Stephen Geoffreys starred in classics such as Fright Night and 976-EVIL. Playing the same loud-mouthed characters may have gotten old for the actor, as he disappeared from mainstream cinema — thus sparking a rumor about his foray into X-rated darkness.

As Brent Hartinger of NewNowNext put it, the Geoffreys urban legend is one of the "most persistent gay-related rumors of all time." So, what makes people so sure it's Geoffreys baring it all on-camera? According to Hartinger, it's the consensus of, well, people who sat down and carefully studied the skin flicks. Although Geoffreys has seemingly never outright spoken about the gossip, his IMDb page mysteriously lines up with his lack of commercial work, filling it with adult movies under the pseudonym "Sam Ritter," instead.

While we may never get a clear answer on this scuttlebutt, we do have apparent confirmation from Susan Wloszczyna, a reporter for USA Today, who declared in 2005, "It's true!" in reference to his alleged career turn. As for Geoffreys? He's made a return to indie horrors, offering fans a very murky answer about stepping back into the spotlight. "I just got job offers and accepted them," he simply stated to Cryptic Rock. "The main thing is I love to act. I do just like to do things related to acting." We'll let you decide this one.

Was this actor triple-dog dared to pivot to the adult industry?

Scott Schwartz had an iconic role in cult holiday classic, A Christmas Story. Once playing Flick, who memorably got his tongue stuck to a flagpole, Schwartz then decided to shatter childhood hearts worldwide when it was revealed that he was working in the adult industry — both on-screen and off. 

Although the actor prefers to remain mum on the subject, he decided to spill the goss during an interview with blogger Jerry Saravia. "In the adult film industry, I worked for a talent agency, a production office, a video salesman... about any job you can think of I did but truly I don't speak of it too much." Going on to explain that it was a matter of "dollars and cents," the actor simply had to do "whatever it took."

So, was there a particular reason the former child star couldn't find work in mainstream Hollywood? In an interview with Rediscover The 80s, Schwartz revealed, "Puberty had a lot to do with [it]. My face changed and I didn't grow very much, still being 5'2" at age 15-19." He went on, "I never decided not to act anymore ... I still act or work when people call and ask me." Instead, Schwartz said his longtime side gig away from acting was working for a trading card company, along with running a collectibles shop with his dad in Southern California for over 24 years.

An accidental, X-rated turn

1979's art flick Caligula is essentially an adult movie — considering it's owned by Penthouse and produced by Bob Guccione, the founder of the mag itself. Shockingly enough, the film stars industry greats such as Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell, both a part of Hollywood royalty. 

According to the Daily Mail, Caligula was banned in England for 30 years, and, at the time of its release, even Roger Ebert called it "shameless trash." As it turns out, nobody expected the movie to be as explicit as it was — including its leading stars. 

The script was written by Gore Vidal, a well-respected screenwriter of the time. Per Daily Mail, it was actually Vidal who convinced A Clockwork Orange star McDowell, to star as Caligula. As McDowell recalled, "When Gore told me it was Bob Guccione, I asked: 'But isn't he a pornographer?' Gore said: 'Malcolm, just think of him as one of the Warner Brothers. He just signs the [checks].'" As for Mirren? The actress reflected years later, "The film was like being on an acid trip. It has its good moments and it has its bad moments and is a fantastical journey." Allegedly, the two stars didn't engage in any lewd acts on camera and were only "partially nude." So, what happened? As Daily Mail revealed, after filming was complete, Guccione went back and shot more explicit scenes on his own, thus making this flick a massive con in Hollywood history.

Family matters that left this star unemployed

Jaimee Foxworth rose to the A-list by starring in Family Matters, playing one of the daughters in a show about the Winslow family. As Rolling Stone detailed years after the show's run ended, it was the arrival of their neighbor, Steve Urkel, played by Jaleel White, that suddenly sparked "Urkel mania," causing the show to center more around him — and less on the Winslow clan. As cast members slowly started disappearing, Foxworth found herself cast away and written out of the series, too. 

According to the Huffington Post, after four seasons, the former child starlet was unemployed and desperate for work. At 19, she decided to turn to the adult industry to make ends meet, all while struggling with drugs and alcohol, to boot.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Show years later, Foxworth detailed how her foray into the seedy industry all began with a swimsuit calendar. From there, she realized she could make so much more on camera, agreeing to shoot "an explicit sex scene with another actress." As she recounted, "It was, to me, the quickest money. I was so naïve, and I was drinking." Being a former child star, Foxworth explained, "I'd never lived a normal childhood. I always went to auditions ... When I was on Family Matters, I thought the money was never going to stop. I thought I was never going to be broke. So I say to young girls, always have another option."

Girl meets adult world

Boy Meets World starlet Maitland Ward ditched her family-friendly sitcom roots in 2019 in favor of racy adult entertainment. Um, what? "I've been opened up to so many more opportunities because I do this," Ward explained to TMZ. "I think I would be limited if I stuck in just a certain typecast situation."

The former teen icon knows she's definitely turned heads — thanks to her online promotional work. Per Fox News, Ward has advertised her work on her Instagram page, which has led to fan confusion about whether or not she's an adult film star. While some were shocked, others decided to be a bit more playful, such as one follower writing, "Why can't Topanga be part of his too??" — a reference to Ward's Boy Meets World co-star, Danielle Fishel.

Ultimately, the adult starlet has loved her transition into her new industry. So, how exactly did she get started? "It all started when I started doing cosplay, which I really genuinely love doing," Ward revealed to In Touch in September 2019. "I started doing this kind of film, professional stuff, not very long ago ... I felt ready." Speaking to TooFab, the redhead noted that she took baby steps with her career change. "It was all tiptoes, over this five-year journey. It was all tiptoeing to the next thing, dipping my foot in the water. And each time I liked it, so I dipped more until I was just completely submerged."