Bananas and Burned Bridges: The Tragic Decline and Fall of Porn Star Melissa Hill Part One

Bananas and Burned Bridges: The Tragic Decline and Fall of Porn Star Melissa Hill, Part One

From Vivid babe to paranoid shrieking tweaker, there are few bridges that ex-porn star Melissa Hill hasn’t burned. Hopefully there’s someone left in Porn Valley who cares enough about Lorrie to get her help, or leave her to finally hit rock bottom.

Melissa Hill, April 2019

Part One

It’s excruciatingly difficult to watch someone close to you come undone, ruin their lives and lose everything over drugs.

Methamphetamine is a particularly atrocious drug. I’ve watched tweakers painstakingly disassemble everything from smoke detectors to doorknobs in search of hidden cameras and microphones. Readers of this site have all seen the harrowing ravages of drug abuse in the faces of the adult business’ lost souls over the years. One wishes to reach out and warn those at risk — the dabblers who so often lose their way.

The scourge of drug abuse is worsened by untreated mental illness in the user. Using narcotics as a way to escape one’s demons usually serves to lock them in place, and often to heighten their effects. This is, of course, another patent reality to those on the outside looking in, and again one wishes that the objects of our concern would heed the lessons of history and swallow some good advice.

But history is more of a tragedy than it is a morality tale, as the late Christopher Hitchens once noted. Sadly, some people can’t be told; they have to learn the hard way.

Making Melissa

Lorrie had kind of a fucked up background. I won’t go into the details, because she was genuinely the victim of forces beyond her control; suffice it to say she ended up a nice girl with a somewhat disordered personalty.

She wandered into porn via the amateur video route in the early 1990s, shooting for Mike South among others. Although working with South gave her essential experience, and she remained friendly with him over the years, in reality she would frequently badmouth him, wrinkling her nose at his mention and claiming — by way of defense — that she only had sex with him because the male talent he had booked to shoot with her couldn’t get it up.

The theme of “friendliness” vs. “friendship” is a recurring one in this tale.

The adult business of the 1990s was actually family-like, and as Melissa Hill, she found acceptance in a community. Bright and emotive and good at handling dialogue, she found work in larger features — and she could also take a facial like the best of them. Vivid director (some would say manipulator) Paul Thomas used her so prominently and to such effect that people thought she was a Vivid girl.

Box cover for “The Girl With The Heart-Shaped Tattoo” (1995)

In fact, the right thing for Vivid to have done would have been to sign her, alongside Chasey Lain, Christy Canyon, Taylor Hayes, Jenteal and other stars of the day, but Melissa allowed herself to be treated as disposable and no one at Vivid saw any need to treat her as more than a kind of redheaded stepchild.

I recall several cliques in 1990s porn, including rocker girls, party girls, escorts (then a minority), etc… As someone constantly seeking acceptance, Melissa often latched on to the first hands that stretched out to her. Those hands often did not tabling to the firmest or healthiest of the lot.

My link to Melissa’s world back then was a girl/girl performer — a wonderful. loving gal who remains my friend to this day — who also ran girls as a small-time madam in the mid-to-late 1990s. This mutual friend would be the first person I saw fall into, and be sucked dry by, methamphetamine abuse. I only met Melissa in passing back in those days, but I thought she was quite pretty and had a gleam of intelligence in her eyes that made her even more appealing.

In the wilderness

A glimpse at Melissa’s credits on iafd shows that she dropped off the planet in 2002. Hill tells two stories to explain her time in oblivion. The first centers around the abuse and trauma she says she experienced at the hands of Swedish-born adult director Nic Cramer.

Melissa describes Cramer as a sadist who throughout their relationship used pain, fear and humiliation to keep her under his thumb. I, like others, have heard a few of her harrowing stories, but to the best of my knowledge, no one can confirm or disprove anything. It is not my intention to do either here — whatever transpired between them was clearly traumatic to Melissa for one reason or another.

The second story Melissa tells is that in the early 2000s she had been offered a significant mainstream opportunity: toaster in a production with big money backers. They insisted, however, that she bleach her hair blonde. Melissa says she acceded to their request, but the process severely fried her hair.  The shock and disappointment of this triggered her (in modern parlance) and sent her spinning out of control, she says, until ended up a tweaker driving and roaming the streets of Bakersfield with a dog.

Melissa had made a friend in Los Angeles: the famous rick and roll photographer Neal Preston. Preston, 20 years her senior, had shot her for the insert of a Brian Setzer Orchestra CD. She claims the two also dated briefly.

Melissa Hill, in pink wig, with Brian Setzer.

 

Preston took pity on her and eventually moved her into a spare room in the lovely Studio City home he purchased in June 2004.

Melissa describes a reclusive life after returning to Los Angeles from the wilderness (she blames her reclusiveness largely on fear and PTSD caused by her relationship with Cramer). Her day-to-day life consisted of shopping, housework, assisting Preston, and tending to his father, an old-time Broadway man with a lifetime’s worth of stories about the Great White Way.

At some point Melissa had met and became romantically involved with a luckless drug dealer who ended up going to prison for a long stretch. She dutifully waited for him, his things packed (more like piled) alongside her own at Preston’s house. But when he was released, he returned home across the Atlantic without a second glance, never having contacted the pining Melissa.

Cut to 2012: through some great effort, Melissa ventured back into society just around the time that the campaign against AHFs Measure B was in full swing. Though she still had trouble getting places on time, sand missed the chartered bus, she did manage to make it to a protest march that started on Hollywood Blvd.

It was around this time that Melissa began giving away her ex’s things, including his coke stash, which she turned over to the ape-ish porn PA (and sometime companion) Shelley Bartolini. She would (and continues to) feign friendship with Bartolini, but would confide to others that he had been dropped on his head as a baby. Anyone who has ever tried to converse with this gorilla would instantly accept the story as true.

Melissa’s mood swings and jealous, vitriolic attacks were jarring, and reportedly it was Bartolini who would in time give Melissa the nickname “bananas”.

In Part Two, “Methlissa”, Hill makes enemies, is displaced, and turns to social media to channel her anger and drug-fueled paranoid conspiracy theories. We will meet Todd Bridges of “Different Strokes”, Scott Baio of  “Charles in Charge”, and others as our tragic tale continues.

6 Replies to “Bananas and Burned Bridges: The Tragic Decline and Fall of Porn Star Melissa Hill, Part One”

  1. geno69

    Sadly I can believe most of the claims in this article.

    I used to be a big fan of Melissa’s until I had a strange run-in with her online years ago. I had a smallish website that had pages dedicated to handful of porn stars I liked. It had harmless content, pictures, a short positive bio and movie list. Someone claiming to be her sent me some bizarre, paranoid emails. She demanded to know who I was and what my intentions were. I told her I was merely a fan and I didn’t make any money from running my site. She wasn’t happy with my reply and sent some more rambling emails. I soon got tired of the whole ordeal and deleted the whole website, apologized and had to eventually block her.

    Needless to say, it put me off her and I wondered if it actually was her. Then around the time August Ames died I was looking through twitter, reading the various tweets and seen Melissa posting. I looked at her twitter and posts, and noticed the writing style matched the writing style of the emails I got, which confirmed to me it was really her. After seeing her messages and some video clips she posted, I seen that she has major issues and needs professional help. I really hope she gets it.

  2. spawn777

    I hate to encourage you to continue to disparage anyone, but to imply something without even a little context isn’t much better. What was the side comment about Paul Thomas about? Manipulative?

  3. Sam Langhorne

    The photos say it all. What a waste. Sad.

    Instead of pretending to be an activist, maybe she should be encouraged to get her mental and physical health in order, otherwise she might end up like Shelley Lubben, dead in a filthy trailer park, alienated from her own family, with multiple restraining orders against her.

  4. xxxReporter

    spawn777 – On the issue of Paul Thomas, people who have been in the business for a while have heard stories of how he allegedly has encouraged people to go beyond the limits with which they are comfortable. “I got her to do a _______ scene, something she said he’d never do!”, that kind of stuff.

    I’m not saying it’s objectively true, and it’s certainly highly subjective thing in any event, but as I noted, people have made the claim over the years.

  5. nobody important

    I don’t know if she still does it, but she once ran a support group for people in the industry. The irony is that I have no idea how she managed it because she really needs personalized, professional mental help for her own personality disorders. She was really just trying to help herself because counseling is sadly lacking for performers. We owe these girls better. I sincerely hope she gets well.

    Unfortunately, she disappears inexplicably from social settings and is a thief, which are common signs of drug abuse, especially with meth users. I should have seen the signs. Like the article said, she’s friendly, but she’s not your friend.

  6. jeffreyblush

    Don’t care if Mike South got mad at this piece. It’s 100% true. Melissa is a very nasty woman who bullys people on social media and starts trouble a lot with pretty much everyone. Not sure if she’s crazy or a drug addict or both, but she’s menace.

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