Candida Royalle R.I.P. (1950-2015)

Candida Royalle died age 65, on Monday 7 September, at her home in Mattituck, Long Island, after a long illness. Candida had suffered for years from recurrent bouts of ovarian cancer.

According to her longtime friend and porn performer, Annie Sprinkle, “A few weeks ago she had to go to the hospital for a few days. Her doctor, whom she loved a lot, told her she had run out of treatment options and to begin basic hospice care. She had planned to move to Manhattan this fall to be closer to more friends in what she thought would be her last few months or year. Then just about five days ago, Candice started slipping away quickly and it became evident that it was unlikely to recover.”

Candida - 1960s
Candida Royalle was born Candice Vitala in New York on 15 October 1950. She eventually moved to San Francisco in 1973 – “I went there with a backpack as I was only going to stay for six months. I stayed for six years.”

She began shooting loops in 1975 for Jerry Abrams, who also discovered Constance Money the same year. Candida’s first full-length feature film was The Analyst (1975). Over the next six years she appeared in dozens of loops and movies, including some of the of the best US-made porn films of the time: Easy Alice (1976), Hard Soap Hard Soap (1977), Pizza Girls (1978), Hot Rackets (1979), Sunny (1979) and Delicious (1981). By the time she retired in 1981 she had become one of the most famous US porn stars of the late 1970s.

Candida - 1970s
Although she would later say, “I didn’t grow up saying, ‘Oh, I want to be a porn star!’” she admitted, “I thought there was nothing wrong with it. I was a part of a culture that was exploring sexuality wildly, and openly.”

In 1984 she established Femme Productions along with her then husband Per Sjosted. The idea was to create adult films from a female perspective. Her first film was financed by her Swedish husbands’ father, who had made a name for himself producing Swedish Spaghetti Westerns, while simultaneously running a chain of adult cinemas.

Candida - 1990s
Following her death, Candida’s friend and fellow porn star, Nina Hartley,said, “[Candida was] a true pioneer, visionary, artist, friend and mentor. She set the standard for ethical, conscious and ground-breaking adult entertainment. As beautiful inside as she was on the surface, she was a stickler for proper treatment of performers before it was trendy. She was laughed at for thinking women’s perspectives on sexuality were important, but everyone stole that idea from her. She started the ‘couple’s porn’ phenomenon, which continues to this day.”

Nina went on to say, “She was a fierce, proud feminist… A dedicated heterosexual, she was kind enough to let me flirt and dance with her. She had style, dignity, self-worth, intelligence to burn and never gave up on love. She enjoyed the finer things in life without shame. She loved her home, her cats, her friends and the life she made for herself, on her terms.”

Candida remains one of the true icons from America’s Golden Age of porn. Her full biography can be found here.

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