Danielle Martin was born on 3 April 1962 in Sacramento, California. As a child she "had the best of everything… My parents took real good care of me. Then when I was 15 they got divorced. We had a vacation home in Mexico, which my mother and I received in the divorce settlement. So we split to Mexico and lived down there for a year", while her six year-old brother remained with her father.
Life in San Carlos, Mexico, was a blast for the young Danielle. She had always been a wild girl (growing pot plants in her closet at age 12), and soon fell in love with the 22 year-old son of one of her mother's friends. "He didn't believe I was a virgin… But I was kind of dorky in high school. So no one even wanted to screw me… So the first guy that came to me and said he wanted to screw, I was like (nodding head vigorously, smiling)… I was scared of course, but I said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m gonna do it.’ But before I got laid, my mom was uptight about any guy over eighteen touching me. She was like, ‘if he touches you… statutory rape!’"
He eventually took her virginity, and her mother agreed to let her 15 year-old daughter move in with him. It didn't last though, as the love lives of both mother (37 years-old at the time) and daughter were heading towards disaster. Danielle's boyfriend, and his 30 year-old best friend (who was having an affair with Danielle's mother) were killed in a car crash. Following their deaths both mother and daughter left Mexico and moved to Tucson, Arizona.
Life back in the States was not easy for Danielle. She was used to socialising with her mother's adult friends and drinking alcohol; now she found herself held back a year in high school and treated like a young teenager again. “It was that whole ‘suburbia’ thing for me. I was curfewed, would go roller skating, went to my first concert – The Who.” She eventually obtained a fake ID and started hanging out in bars. Around the age of 16 Danielle had her first bisexual experience, later stating, "I fucked some bar owner and his girlfriend. They were like into high-heel shoes, had this Jacuzzi -it was hot. But I like pretty girls. Thiss girl wasn't that pretty. But I was… curious, you know."
By the time Danielle graduated at 18 though, friction with her mother resulted in her running away to LA in order to become a movie star. She didn't see or speak to her mother again for 3 years. “When I was in L.A. originally, I did get a scholarship to attend this acting school. And this old man who said he could get me in the mainstream movies took me to a producer’s house saying, ‘Now he’s gonna put you in a movie, so you better be nice to him.’ And this guy was 80, I was just 18, and I’m like, ‘Naaaaaahh! No way . I’m not gonna fuck this guy.’”
Life in LA was not easy. "I slept on Malibu Beach for a couple weeks near the lifeguard's station. Eventually I got a job at a sporting goods store in this little mall right across the street. And I met this girl who was 16, a runaway. She got a job, too. We slept together on the beach. Her grandma felt sorry for us, so she bought us a mobile home right across the street from the ocean. And then my girlfriend kicked me out. That's when I got a full-time job hostessing at a restaurant. I was only making like $400 a month. Actually, when I first got to LA, I'd gone into Jim South's office, and I was appalled at the fact… I mean, I was like, 'I will never, ever do that, 'cause I'm gonna be like Marilyn Monroe. I'm not gonna have that slapping me in the face later'… that was my attitude. And then six months later after my girlfriend and I had completely broken up, I ended going back to South's office. At that point I was living with a guy, working full time, making 400 lousy dollars a month after taxes and everything, and had to come up with half the rent. But I didn't have it. So I went back to Jim and he set me up with a job… for Velvet magazine, I think. A photo shoot. And I got a hundred bucks for the whole shoot - eight hours one hundred dollars… So the next day I called Jim up, and I'm all I-Spy secretive because I didn't want my boyfriend to find out. And I find out Hustler wanted me to do a shoot for 'em. At the time they paid like $1,500 for three days work… So after that I modelled for practically every magazine. Then one day I was leaving Jim's office and that girl Monique-something… I was with her in her car and she was gonna give me a ride home, and she said 'Oh, I'm gonna go and try out for this porno movie. You wanna come along?' …We were like 'Whoooo!' So we went to Ted Paramour's house, and all Monique did was read lines and show off her body. I was just surprised at how easy the whole thing came off. At first I was thinking maybe she'd have to fuck all these old guys to get the job… I just said 'Fuck it… might as well try it…' But see, at least in porn you don't have to fuck to get the job. In straight acting, you have to fuck to get the job."
Danielle was a natural. Her innocent girl-next-door looks, blonde hair, firm body and tight little arse (apparently John Leslie rated it among the best in the business - "he loved my ass. He was just like, 'doggie, baby…'") made her an instant success in the porn industry. She also truly enjoyed fucking: "I like missionary best 'cause I like to look at their arms… They're over me and I'm all 'Ooooooh take me, baby." Furthermore, it was her age. Annette Haven, Seka, Jessie St. James and Desiree Cousteau were all stunningly beautiful women, and were at this point appearing in some of their best films to date; but they were all established porn stars and had been around for years. Only Veronica Hart appeared on the scene around the same time as Danielle, but even she was already in her late-twenties. Danielle was young, as she herself admits, "I was like an 18 year-old blonde. And it was like, 'Shit, who cares if she ain't got tits? She's eighteen!"
The original idea was for Danielle to take the Platinum Porn Star mantle from Seka. "I believe Seka was one of the first pretty blonde girls willing to fuck in front of the whole wide world. Then I came along… I only had the singular name 'Danielle' because Bobby Hollander wanted to fashion me after Seka. She was kind of spacing out by that time… not working that much anymore." Seka, described as 'the Marilyn Monroe of porn', was a hard act to follow, but Danielle was professional, enthusiastic and lacked inhibitions. "I didn't have a problem with it. When I grew up, my parents always walked around the house naked. I mean, I could walk into the bathroom and my dad would be standing there shaving in the nude. I didn’t think anything of it. They raised us to believe there's nothing wrong with the human body, and you shouldn't be ashamed of it… my parents were open about the skin thing. My stepfather – he was really like my dad most of my life – he’s a wealthy lawyer. If I ever felt shy to be seen naked, that was okay, too. They obviously respected my feelings."
Her enthusiasm for hardcore sex in front of the camera propelled her forward. Often she would upstage older and more experienced actresses, as was the case with Annette Haven in 'Memphis Cathouse Blues' (1981). Jerry Butler claimed in his autobiography that she's "a very hot lady… I've had some good sex with Danielle… sometimes she'll start touching her pussy and doing things just for my pleasure; it's like a show within a show." Her big break came in with 'The Blonde Next Door' (1980), released in early 1982. “That was my first major role. I did ‘Night Dreams’ before that… just a small part, in one scene.” In ‘The Blond Next Door’ she plays a sexually frustrated housewife who abandons her husband because of his inability to make her climax. The ensuing screwball comedy sees her sucking and fucking numerous men and women, before finally returning to her husband.
She later recalled watching the film in an adult theatre with her boyfriend. "I was getting hot seeing myself up there on the screen with John Leslie, so I started playing with my boyfriend's cock, slowly jerking him off as we watched the movie. When it came to a slow scene I leaned over and sucked him off. Then I moved over about seven or eight seats to where this older guy was sitting and got him off too. Well, I was still hot after seeing myself in action so I just got up and moved over to where this other guy was sitting. He didn't look at me or say anything. All he did was move over to make it easier for me. So I jerked him off and he shot his wad real quick and made a few grunting noises. I said 'Hey! That was me up there on the screen.' He just nodded, put his cock back in his pants, and just kept watching the movie."
Danielle went on to star in dozens of hardcore films involving group, lesbian and bisexual sex, bondage and fetishism (although never anal - "I'm saving my asshole…If I ever get married, my husband can have my asshole"). However, despite easily entering and remaining within the ranks of the industry's premier porn actresses, she never really fulfilled her potential. This was mainly due a string of possessive boyfriends constantly interrupting her career. "I loved it [making porn films]. But I only worked in spurts. I would have a boyfriend and I'd quit for about two years… after I got back into porn, I'd eventually quit again, because boyfriends don't like you making porno. Now it’s different. Nowadays they don’t mind pimping their wives out. The guys are getting married to these ladies and they don’t care. But, still, you know how guys don’t want anybody fucking their girlfriend."
Nevertheless, she co-starred with some of the biggest actresses of her time, such as Annette Haven, Lisa De Leeuw, Dorothy Le May, Kay Parker, and later with Amber Lynn, Stacey Donovan and Shanna McCullough. She also worked with some of the industry's biggest directors, namely Henri Pachard, Svetlana, and the Mitchell Brothers. Danielle is coy about the whole affair though: "I don't remember… I was just talent. I was just like 'Oooooh… I'll fuck everyone'."
Danielle was one of the few established porn stars to successfully make the transition from film to video during the mid-1980's Her name became synonymous with hot, hard and exciting sex, while her picture on a video box cover guaranteed increased sales. In 1983 she also managed to finally patch up her differences with her mother, after the latter accidentally came across Danielle at the Chicago CES convention. Until that moment she had had no idea that her daughter had become a porn actress. By 1988 though, after eight years in the business and dozens of films, Danielle decided to quit hardcore.
Following her departure from porn, Danielle became addicted to crack cocaine. In an attempt to kick the habit she left LA and moved to Nevada, where she worked as a prostitute in a brothel from 1989-1991. AIDS was still a prime concern as "up in Nevada… [we] used to get our AIDS test once a month… And we used rubbers… Not only that, once they test you in Nevada, they lock you up; you go into the whorehouse and can't leave. You're a prisoner, because they can't be responsible if you go out and fuck someone. You could contact a disease, pass it on to a customer." Fear of AIDS was one of the main reasons she hesitated to return to porn.
By the early 1990's though the adult industry's attitude towards AIDS had changed. Negative publicity caused by the death of John Holmes resulted in increased awareness. Danielle claims that now "The stars go in every three months for an AIDS test. And if you don't have your paperwork updated every three months, you're not working." As a result, in 1990, she returned to make 'The Lust Squad', her last hardcore film to date. "I made that film when I was 27 years-old… that's when the money started going down… I put in three sex scenes the day I filmed The Lust Squad and made $1,000. But back in the old days when you got $1,000, you'd agree to do one guy-girl, one girl-girl, and maybe an orgy. But you wouldn't always have to do that… Now they're like 'Unless you're fucking, you don't get any money.’” Just before making the film she finally decided to have breast implants. "That was my 'fuck you' to the industry. I was like, 'I got tits and you can't have 'em now… I got 'em done for myself, and I think it's the best thing I ever fucking did."
By 1992 Danielle had moved to San Francisco, where for the next few years she worked as a stripper and house girl at the New Century Theatre. In 1993 she married, “for four and a half months”. A return to porn is still a possibility as she states, "I wouldn't mind making a few more movies just for the hell of it… I want to get into some fetish films… [Spanking films] Yeah! I would love to get into some of that. I did some enema fetish films a while back." However, she realises that "you can't be an actress forever. It's short-lived. There's always another pretty face out there… it's a man's fantasy. Men are always looking for another pussy to conquer." Whatever the future may hold, Danielle believes it will always revolve around the sex industry. "When I was eighteen and I first started dancing, I thought I was gonna go in, take one days work, and stop. Never in my life did I think it would become a career. But when I was twenty-eight, I turned around and said 'this is like a career now'… The skin business, stripping, Nevada, whatever it is, it's gonna be what I'm gonna do because it's what I know how to do best."
Danielle may be considered one of the connecting links between actresses of The Golden Age and The Video Age in the US adult entertainment industry. She had an insatiable appetite for sex in front of the camera and appeared in some extremely erotic films, ranking her as one of the top ten US porn stars of the early 1980's.
CLUB KASCHA INDEX PAGE