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Born Linda Kay Lowry in East St. Louis, Illinois, cult movie ultra-siren Lynn Lowry got her sexy start in Georgia, where she became a Bunny at the Atlanta Playboy Club. Sadly, the experience wasn't a fantastic one, and after two years in a rather unhappy marriage she packed up her things and her son and with only $40 in her pocket the luscious Lowry moved to New York City.

There she was discovered by Toxic Avenger-director and Troma Films mogul Lloyd Kaufman, who cast her opposite Mary Woronov in the wacko lesbian noir Sugar Cookies (1973) (Picture: 1 - 2).

Lynn's ultimate breakthrough, however, was her portrayal of mute hippie-chick Carrie in I Drink Your Blood (1970) (Picture: 1 - 2). This infamous splatter classic is notorious for Lynn's very special role wherein she cuts off another woman's hand with an electric carving knife.

That's not to say that Lynn was typecast as a crazy bitch. She played a sweet young girl who went quite nuts in George Romero's The Crazies (1973), got all sexed up in Radley Metzger's X-rated Score (1972), and got infected in David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975) (Picture: 1 - 2), along with a myriad of other roles in films and Broadway shows.

It was a total pleasure getting a chance to converse with this criminally underrated actress.

Do you remember the first nude scene you ever saw in a film?
The first nude scene I ever saw in a film was in The Pawnbroker, starring Rod Steiger. I don't remember the actress. I think she was African American, and I was pretty shocked seeing this nude body. I was very young and innocent and definitely not used to seeing naked women on screen.

The actress was Thelma Oliver (Picture:1). That was in 1964, and it was one of the most important early nude scenes in modern cinema. According to my notes, it broke section seven, sub-section two of the Motion Picture Production Rules, where "indecent or undue exposure is forbidden." Do you think maybe the fact that she was black had something to do with it? I mean, they allowed black native girls to have their tits all hangin' out in National Geographic for years when you could never see white girls like that in any other legal magazines.
I absolutely think it had something to do with her being black. There was something earthy and forbidden about it.

What do you think the connection between pretty girls and violence is in popular culture? Is there some reason this formula has been so successful?
The pretty girls are usually portrayed as sweet, innocent victims. And this makes them easy prey for a certain type of person. It's actually unfortunate that this has come about, because I believe a lot of what's wrong with the world has to do with this very issue. They are so successful because there is something sexual about a man dominating a weaker prey. A lot of people really get into that, and of course the audience is usually rooting for the girl to escape. And the heroine does most often get away. It's the Rocky philosophy. Root for the underdog, and she's pretty too.

What was it like working with the great erotic filmmaker Radley Metzger?
I got to go to Yugoslavia and Italy. That was a lot of fun. My room in Yugoslavia looked right out on the sea. Quite beautiful.

It was a pleasure working with Radley Metzger. He was a very elegant gentleman and still is. I had lunch with him last year, and he is still quite the charmer. Cal Culver and Jerry Grant were wonderful and missed by many.

What about your Score co-star Claire Wilbur?
Claire Wilbur is another story altogether. She was a beautiful, talented lady but so very insecure. She absolutely hated me, because she felt that Radley liked me more and was giving me all the close-ups. It was extremely difficult working with her and pretending that I desired her madly. She did not want me to touch her, which is pretty hard to avoid in a love scene. And of course, she comes out beautifully in the film. It was all in her head. Radley sent her home as soon as she was finished. She wasn't allowed to stay for the big party, because she had been so disruptive and caused so many problems.

Any other Score stories?
My only problem with Score was that I had no idea it would have an X rating when it was released. Everything I did was soft, so you can imagine my astonishment to find out I was in a porno, that the men had really gone for it. I was starring in How to Survive a Marriage when the film opened in New York, and I was petrified NBC was going to find out and fire me. That didn't happen, of course.

Many years later, I saw the film with a predominantly homosexual crowd. My God, it was so funny. I had no idea there were such laughs in it. I enjoyed seeing it work and realizing who the film was targeted at. And I really like the scenes with the baseball cap. I don't mean to sound full of myself, but I was awfully cute in that cap.

Score, in spite of Claire, was a real treat, and I got to go to Europe too.

You mention in your bio at lynnlowry.com that you were a Playboy Bunny at the Playboy club in Atlanta. Was that a tough gig?
I became a Bunny when I was twenty and celebrated my twenty-first birthday on the floor serving drinks. I hated being a Bunny.

First of all, it was very hard work. You had to wear three-inch heels, a costume that was so tight it cut off your circulation, and you had to do the Bunny Dip--and it was demeaning. I was Bunny Mia, because the Bunny Mother thought I looked like Mia Farrow. I can't tell you how many times I heard "So how's Frank?"

I was also a very skinny Bunny, and often customers would request another Bunny with bigger tits. And they weren't hard to find. Finally they put me in the back to play bumper pool, cause when you lean over, you look bigger.

Yes, I was a bad Bunny. I never brushed my tail or did my nails right. I was not a favorite of the Bunny Mother. And the other girls were all about "being a Bunny". They would go places to advertise the club for free. I was a Bunny who wanted to make money. They were Bunnies as a career, and that's kind of sad.

What is your favorite movie? Do you have a favorite erotic movie?
My favorite movie of all time is It's a Wonderful Life. I believe this film is brilliant and shows what America was like in the past, when people had respect for one another. Jimmy Stewart is perfect and flawless, and after you see the film, you just feel uplifted. What a great feeling. What a powerful film to be able to evoke all those feelings.

My favorite erotic film is Swept Away. Giancarlo [Giannini] is very sexy and the relationship between him and the woman is incredibly sensual (Picture: 1 - 2), ending in love and then the horrible reality of life. If he just hadn't tested her, they could have lived forever in love on that island. Well, I guess that's a fantasy, cause reality always shows up. The film is a masterpiece.

I was totally blown away by your silent role in I Drink Your Blood. You were only in there for a few scenes, but I thought you totally stole the show! Was it tricky to not be able to speak and still give such a memorable performance?
It was my first feature film. And it was a pretty wild experience. I was introduced to sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll for the first time--and by drugs I mean grass, by the way.

It was a difficult role to portray, especially the scene when I cut off the lady's hand. It took hours to shoot, and it was a very hot summer day. I wanted there to be a kind of innocence and purity mixed with the horror of the act.

David Durston was wonderful to work with, and the cast and crew made the work a fun adventure. I also fell in love on the shoot with the cinematographer, Joe Mangine, who was not given credit because he had to leave the film for another commitment. I loved working on this film. It changed my life.

Can you give us an idea of what it's like to go to work and then be expected to take your clothes off? I really don't think many people have a grasp on what that's all about.
I have done a lot of nudity in my films. It's not something I really wanted to do, but I was hoping these films would be a stepping stone to bigger and better films. I treated the nudity as I would any challenging part of a character. It was integral to the plot, so I simply did my job.

It really isn't so difficult once the crew has seen you naked. After that, they are busy with their own jobs and could care less. Everyone was always extremely professional in dealing with the nudity. They brought me a robe when I wasn't shooting and tried to make me as comfortable as possible.

Of course everyone these days does nudity. Halle Berry won an Academy Award for showing her body, and her acting was excellent as well. The only difference between then and now is the actresses today make a lot more money.

Which actresses would you point out as influences on you?
Katharine Hepburn is probably my favorite actress. I think she has an enormous emotional range and a tremendous capacity for evoking feelings in the audience. She can make you smile, laugh out loud, or break your heart.

I also love the beauty of Audrey Hepburn, and the wickedness of Bette Davis. Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Jessica Lange, and Annette Bening are also among my favorites. I like classy women with a strength that means business and yet a vulnerability that allows you to share their heart.

Tell us about getting cast in Shivers.
I met [Shivers producer] Ivan Reitman in New York for lunch, and he set up an on-camara test for me. I think they had seen my work in The Crazies and felt I would be right for the part, and I was cast.

I went to Montreal for the shoot, and it is such a beautiful place. I really enjoyed my stay there.

Working with director David Cronenberg was fabulous and great fun, he was very easygoing and pretty much let me do my own thing, and yes, he did have his shit together. It was one of his first films, and it was important for it to be a success. I believe it did very well for them financially, and of course the rest is history.

The only difficult thing about the shoot was working with Paul Hampton. I felt that the two characters were really in love and cared about what happened to each other. That chemistry, however, was missing in our scenes.

One interesting story is that I was not supposed to be in the swimming-pool scene. I had gone home, and they flew me back to do the final scene. It was a hoot, all those crazy Canadian extras really got into it, and it was such fun giving Paul the parasite. To this day, my favorite visual of myself is me coming up out of the swimming pool.

Do you enjoy appearing at fan conventions?
Dealing with fans at conventions is a pleasure. Everyone I've met has treated me with kindness and respect. Every now and then you meet someone who is a little off the wall, but even they have been extremely polite. It's wonderful to be remembered and have your work appreciated. I've also been cast in two films this year, and I have a brand new website, which you mentioned earlier: www.lynnlowry.com.

Are there any stars you'd like to meet?
I would love to meet Mel Gibson. I think I'd be pretty ga-ga over him.

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