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A Star is Porn
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Teri Weigel was a Deefield Beach Beauty Queen on the verge of stardom as a model - until the allure of X-Rated movies proved more seductive


By KEVIN DAVISi
2539 words
17 September 1995
Sun-Sentinel Ft. Lauderdale
(Copyright 1995)

TERI WEIGEL WALKS INTO into her doctor's office in Pompano Beach looking as if she is about to burst out of her clothes. She is dressed in a tight black miniskirt, clinging low-cut blouse, open rawhide vest and three-inch spike heels. Not an unusual outfit for Weigel when she wears clothes at all.

A police officer waiting to see the doctor glances over at Weigel and offers a smile.

"You're not here to arrest me, are you?" Weigel asks playfully.

She sits down in the reception area, crosses her legs and begins filling out a questionnaire. She is experiencing recurrent neck and back problems, the result of a truck accident.

Her husband, Murrill Maglio, sits down beside her. He is carrying a briefcase and a cellular phone.

"Occupation?" Weigel says aloud, reading from the questionnaire. "What should I put down? Model? Actress? Porn star?"

The heads of other patients pop up from behind magazines.

"Just say actress," Maglio says calmly. "That will be fine."

MODEL, ACTRESS, PORN STAR?


It's a question of identity that 33-year-old Teri Weigel faces after a 15-year stint as a fashion model, nude dancer and, yes, actress, with credits in mainstream films and television as well as X-rated movies.

A former Catholic schoolgirl who was crowned Miss Teenage Deerfield Beach and was a homecoming queen finalist at Deerfield High, Weigel has built a career based on her looks and lack of inhibitions.

It started innocently enough in the early 80s when she worked as a model for magazines and department-store catalogues. From there her career escalated to stripping and starring roles in porn movies.

Weigel doesnt try to defend her choices, simply saying, "Its a living." She has never sought the approval of family or friends, only those who buy and rent her videos and pay to see her shows.

And make no mistake, a large segment of America approves.

In 1994, sales and rentals of pornographic movies topped $2.5 billion, representing nearly 13 percent of the total video market. Since 1990, Weigel's contribution to that 13 percent has been two dozen porn videos, including some of the hottest sellers in the business.

For the past two years, Weigel has split her time between apartments in Los Angeles and West Palm Beach while recuperating from injuries she suffered when her truck was rear-ended by a semitrailer.

She's back now in the porn business. This spring, she filmed two new videos in Los Angeles, although she says they may be her last. She is also considering another effort to get more work in mainstream movies and television.

THE X-RATED BOUDOIR of a porn-movie set is a long way from the stable, middle-class home in Deerfield Beach where Teri Weigel was raised. Her parents, both schoolteachers, stressed to their five children the importance of good morals and a solid education.

"Teri was sweet and innocent in those days," recalls John Esposito, Weigel's high-school boyfriend. "She wanted to be an actress, but she never had any aspirations of posing for Playboy or doing porno."


Weigel, who excelled at the uneven bars on her high-school gymnastic team, blossomed into an attractive teenager with bright green eyes and thick brown hair. Her mother encouraged her to capitalize on her looks and get into modeling. Weigel enrolled at a fashion school and immediately found work modeling clothes for department-store catalogues.

"I didn't think it would amount to much," she says.

But as she matured, she found it paid to act the role of the sex-kitten.

Elizabeth Snead, a former model and now fashion writer for USA Today, remembers working with Weigel on catalogue shoots in Miami.


"Her mother used to drop her off and was very protective of her, Snead says. "She didn't even want her daughter doing lingerie ads. None of the other models liked Teri because she was too sexy for her own good. She was voluptuous, and they were all too thin."

After graduating from high school in 1980, Weigel enrolled at Palm Beach Community College to study broadcasting. She continued to model and also landed roles like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in community-theater productions in Boca Raton.

By now, she had visions of the big time. She moved to New York, where she lived with an uncle and found work modeling for teen magazines. But the jobs were sporadic.

"I couldn't make a decent living," she says. "And then an agent in Paris called and offered me work, so I moved to France."

She lived in Paris for two years, modeling for international fashion magazines and catalogues.

"I lucked out," she says. "They had gotten rid of the Twiggy style and were into the round, baby-doll-face look. I fit right in."

Over the next few years, Weigel traveled all over the world Africa, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland for photo shoots. Back in Deerfield, her family and friends watched her rise as a globe-trotting model with amazement.

"She was a big deal around here," John Esposito remembers.

Then the work began to slow down, and Weigel decided to move back home.

"I'd done well," she says, "but I was lonely."


Shortly after she returned to Florida in 1985, she met Murrill Maglio, 10 years her senior, who was playing keyboards in a rock band. They quickly became inseparable, and soon Maglio began guiding his girlfriend's career.

A FEW MONTHS LATER, THE FOR-mer beuaty queen decided to take her clothes off.

An editor from Playboy had called after seeing her modeling photos. The magazine was interested in having her come to Chicago for a test shoot.

Weigel was hesitant, but Maglio encouraged her. Though she had enjoyed some success in Europe, she knew she was probably not destined to be the next Cindy Crawford. Playboy was another option and a chance at stardom.

"I was afraid," Weigel recalls, "but Murrill thought it was the chance of a lifetime. He kept asking, 'Are you going to do Bur-dines ads for the rest of your life?"

Maglio found nothing offensive about his girlfriend posing nude.

"When you're a model you're half-naked anyway," he says. "I didn't see any difference."

The glamour of working for Playboy and the $500 per day fee for the photo shoot was enticing. Plus, Weigel would receive another $15,000 if she was chosen as a Playmate of the Month.

"With modeling, theres no guarantee when the next job will be," she says. "You take what's offered. I did, and it changed my life."

She flew to Chicago and posed naked for the first time. She was relaxed and comfortable, and the Playboy staff decided they had a potential star.

Telling her family about this new direction in her career was harder for Weigel than taking off her clothes.

"My mother thought I had totally lost my moral values," she says. "She had no idea what Playboy was all about."

Teri's parents, Bill and Lucille Weigel, have never spoken publicly about their daughters career as a sex star. They politely decline requests for interviews.

Weigel appeared on the November 1985 cover of Playboy and was selected as the April 1986 Playmate of the Month. That same year she married Maglio.

In her Playmate biography Weigel wrote that her aspirations were to "become a successful model and eventually make it as a screen actress." Her biggest joy was "to make people happy."

The Playboy executives loved her. She was a hard worker, energetic and sexy. She spent three years making personal appearances for Playboy, including TV guest spots and nude videos.

Her status as a Playboy star led to small roles in movies and television, including appearances on The Young and the Restless and the sitcom Married . . . With Children. Her movie credits include such titles as The Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Cheerleader Camp, Predator 2 and Marked for Death.


With work coming regularly, Weigel thought the acting career she had always dreamed of was close to becoming a reality. She and Maglio bought two new cars and a home in the San Fernando Valley. They were living high, hanging out in Hollywood's fancy restaurants and clubs, partying with the stars.

And then, in August 1990, Weigel was injured in an automobile accident and was unable to work for four months. About the same time, her relationship with Playboy began to sour over business matters. Soon she and Maglio were broke and forced to sell their home and move to an apartment.

One of the last things Weigel did for Playboy was a nude video. During production, a co-worker suggested that doing porn was a good way to earn extra money. At first Weigel dismissed the idea, but now with her career in jeopardy, she began to consider that option more carefully.

AS FATE WOULD have it, their neighbors in the apartment building were Fred and Patti Lincoln, who produced hard-core videos. Weigel and her husband got to talking with the Lincolns about doing a video.

"We watched some of their videos," Maglio recalls, and I said to Teri, 'You know, you could do this better than any of those people.'"

Weigel was reluctant, but they needed money, and the Lincolns seemed like a nice couple.

"We decided to try it," she says. "It was a gamble, but we felt it was the right thing to do. We had no idea what to expect."

The Lincolns developed a script, rented a house in Sherman Oaks and began production.

On the first day, Weigel showed up on the set shaking with fear. "It was scary," she remembers.

But by the time the cameras started to roll, the Lincolns had put her at ease.

"They said if you can't do it, it's no big deal, she recalls. "They treated me like a star. It was fun."

Patti Lincoln explains that doing a hard-core film was not much of an adjustment for Weigel, who had already filmed soft-core videos for Playboy.

"You just do what you've been pretending to do," Lincoln says. "She was a natural at it."

But doing hard-core films meant that Weigel would be having sex with men other than her husband.

Weigel and Maglio say it has never bothered them because they see it as a job and are secure in their relationship. Maglio has had minor roles in some of the videos, but he usually lets professional actors do the sex scenes with his wife.

Suddenly, Weigel had a new career. To ensure her future in porn, she had her breasts en-larged, inflating herself to a size 36 double-D. Her two dozen films include titles like Friends & Lovers I and II, Raunch III, Starr, Teri-Fied and Wicked.

Weigel says she has never worried about getting AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease. The actors and actresses were tested before every shoot.

Her performances drew rave reviews from the skin magazines. One writer said she had "the best body in porn." In 1992, she won the Viewer's Choice Award for "starlet of the year" from the Fans of X-rated Entertainment (FOXE).

"She's special because she's the one and only Playboy crossover," notes FOXE founder William Margold.

Having star power can be extremely lucrative off-screen, so that's where Weigel and her husband began to concentrate their efforts.

They put together an elaborate traveling strip show in which Weigel sings and dances on-stage amid lights, lasers and thumping bass-driven music. The three-act show usually includes audience participation in which men are invited to frolic onstage with Weigel and pay $20 to have their picture taken with her. The couple also sell videos and T-shirts.


WHILE WEIGEL SAYS SHE was having a great time, her status as an X-rated star did not go over well with her family in Boca Raton. Her parents tried, unsuccessfully, to talk her out of the business.

"People around here were proud of her until she crossed the line," says former boyfriend John Esposito. "We couldn't believe what she was doing. She definitely was not the same person I knew in high school."

Weigel brought her nude-dancing act to South Florida twice in 1992. By then, her parents had stopped speaking to her.

Playboy wasnt thrilled with the turn in Weigel's career either and cut off any further dealings with her. According to Playboy, she was the first Playmate among the 450 who have appeared in the magazine to make a hard-core video. Playmates who do so are no longer allowed to represent Playboy, a spokesman explains.

With Playboy out of the picture, Weigel posed for Penthouse, continued to make porn movies and traveled with her strip show. By now she was earning a decent living at an indecent trade and growing more comfortable with her profession.

"It took me two years to finally accept that what Im doing is what I want to do," she says. "And I did it for myself instead of doing it for others."

Weigel and Maglio formed their own company, T&M Enterprises, and started a fan club and a newsletter.

Then, on Oct. 31, 1994, while they were driving to another show in West Virginia, their truck was struck from behind by a semitrailer.

"If we hadnt had our seatbelts on, we'd probably be dead," Maglio says.

Weigel suffered injuries to her neck and back, forcing her to cancel her show. While recuperating, she had plenty of time to think about the future, and decided it should include mainstream TV and movies.

Whether she can actually make that jump remains to be seen. Porn star Marilyn Chambers (Behind the Green Door) tried but never achieved acceptance or respect. But Traci Lords, the notorious underage porno star, has enjoyed a modest success, most recently appearing as a semi-regular on Fox's Melrose Place.

Some people believe it is too late for Weigel, the one-time Snow White, to put her clothes back on and play the role of the girl next door.

"She was on the right track, but she got sidetracked," says John Esposito. "Every time I see her, I hope she will be different. But she isn't."

Weigel insists she has never become a different person.

"I'm the same girl I've always been, she says. Im an entertainer, and I dont lie about what I do. I make people happy."

PHOTOS BY JOHN CURRY, SUN-SENTINEL

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