Jean Jennings was born in Florida on 13 February 1957. She ran away from home as a teenager and came into contact with Lenny Camp. FBI Agent Bill Kelly worked in Miami at the time and knew of Camp: “Lenny Camp used to photograph probably thousands of girls between the ages of fifteen and eighteen or nineteen, and he sampled the merchandise on frequent occasions – even with the young ones.” Camp was later sentenced to fifteen years for taking pictures of underage girls, but in the early 1970’s he supplied most of the models for adult films shot in Florida.
Jean Jennings was only seventeen when she made her first porn film ‘Full Moon Murders’ (1974). Porn actor and director Fred Lincoln was also in the movie. “I met Jean Jennings in Florida when Sean Cunningham did some movie down there… Jean Jennings came to us through Lenny Camp. He’s the guy who gave us the girls. He knew all the girls; he was probably giving them Quaaludes and fucking them all… When I met Jean she was high on Quaaludes. That was what that prick Lenny used to – get all the girls strung out. That way they’d do what he told them.”
“I was nice to Jean Jennings during the filming. I mean, she was sweet: a beautiful, blond kid. And I guess Lenny Camp got jealous and told Sean ‘This guy Freddie Lincoln better stop talkin’ to this girl, or I’m pullin’ all my girls off your movie!’… But what Lenny did was the worst thing you could possibly do, because now Jean wanted to know ‘Why was I ignoring her? Why aren’t we flirting anymore? What happened? Am I losing it?’ You know, you’re talking about a kid who’s just discovering her sexuality. And all of a sudden, someone’s not fallin’ for it; holy shit! That destroyed her… She was a pretty cool little girl. God, she was so sexy. So beautiful! When we finished the movie, I took Jean Jennings and another of Lenny Camp’s girls back to New York with me. He didn’t like losing this girl – the only one who had a brain in his whole fucking stable. So back in New York, we’re having a birthday party for Jean at Bernard’s, and she asked, ‘Could you buy me a drink?’ I said ‘A drink? What are you talking about? Are you underage? You’re underage! Shit!”
Lincoln always claimed he never realised Jean was underage: “How old was Jean when I met her? I don’t know. Jean was almost six feet tall, and she was the most beautiful creature! Who the hell ever knew she was a little kid? Do you know what the fuck could’ve happened if they knew Jean Jennings was underage? She could have destroyed us all! With Jean, you know, this was child pornography, and I wasn’t into that. We thought these were legitimate girls. I had no idea how old she was. I guess it would all have to come back to Lenny Camp, though, because he was the guy that would furnish their fake IDs.” Porn actress Sharon Mitchell is more candid about the situation though: “People were surprised that girls started in porn when they were underage, but I wasn’t surprised because I started underage, you know?”
Once in New York Jean Jennings originally decided that she no longer wanted to appear in porn films, but soon changed her mind and over the next two years starred in a further eight films – three of them before she turned eighteen. The last of these underage movies was ‘The Defiance of Good’ (1975). In it she plays Cathy Taylor, a young girl sent to a psychiatric ward by her mother for sniffing dope. She is then brutally raped by the inmates and an attendant, before eventually being tortured by one of the doctors. Porn actor and occasional director Bill Margold was scathing towards the film: "A pubescent piece currently attempting to expand zippers is blonde Jean Jennings, star and primary orifice of ‘Defiance’. She has that ‘my clit is sugar-coated and if you lick it, you'll get cavities’ look about her. ‘Defiance’ has that ‘I've seen most of this before and better’ look, and while Jean gives an earnest performance, her writhing is wasted as the story sinks into sub lit sexual depravity with synched in sighs and slurps. There is also a sextet-de-sucking scene as smiling Jean takes on a host of holes a la Green Door. ‘Defiance’ is only a painful experience to those viewers who have been waiting to see some stylish flogging and stomping for the torture is minimal at best."
While in New York, Jean Jennings came to the attention of Jason Russell, husband of Tina Russell. Lincoln recalled: “Jason Russell fell in love with Jean Jennings, and you know what? He became a jerk, not a prick. Everybody fell in love with her. I fell in love with her when I first met her. Vinnie Rossi just went completely ape-shit.” Not everyone was impressed with her though. Porn actor Tim Connelly recalled: “Jean Jennings was total white fucking trash from Florida. She was underage. Hot. Cute. Sexy. Young. Blond. Tight body. Unbelievably perfect – except that once you heard her talk it was all over. She was just dumb and ignorant… It was a big turn-off – except for a guy like Jason Russell.”
At the time Jason was still married to Tina Russell. According to Connelly: “Tina was estranged from Jason because he was with Jean Jennings. And she was a mess… Whenever I saw Tina… she was on dope and drunk every time. You know, just fucked up… I think she was trying to kill herself. Slowly.”
Jean’s relationship with Russell did not last though, and according to Lincoln, after quitting porn in 1976 “Jean Jennings went to Italy. That was cool with me. Did it break my heart? No, I was fine. I mean, I never get jealous.” In November 1977 she married mainstream actor Joe Spinelli and had a child with him. They divorced in July 1979.
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