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The San Francisco Chronicle Remembers the Late Aunt Peg; Public Memorial Thursday

from – In the world of pornography, there are those who simply have sex on film for cash, and those who consider what they do to be an artsy exploration of sensuality.

Juliet “Aunt Peg” Anderson took the artsy aspect to new levels.

From the time she entered the adult film industry in 1978 at the then-unheard-of age of 39 until she died Jan. 10 of a heart attack at 71 at her home in Berkeley, she tried to transform the seamy into acceptable sensuality for older people.

“To my knowledge, Juliet was the oldest woman to ever enter the adult film industry – she was the original ‘cougar,’ ” an older woman who pursues sex with younger men, said Carol Queen, executive director of the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. “But what she did was much more than porn.

“She was as much a sexual researcher as she was a pornographic performer,” Queen said. “I’d call her a sexual health advocate, and that puts her in a bit of a different category from many other porn performers.”

In addition to her 80 hard-core porn films in the 1970s and ’80s, Ms. Anderson worked as a relationship counselor, lectured on sensuality and contributed essays to books such as “The New Sexual Healers: Women of the Light.” In 1991 she developed and marketed a form of erotic massage she called Tender Loving Touch.

In 1998, she directed “Ageless Desire,” a film depicting healthy sex practices for couples older than 50. Billed in a review on as “a sex educational aide rather than a porno movie,” the film was just one of several endeavors Ms. Anderson undertook to promote fulfilling sex among older people. She was working on a sequel when she died.

For her work advocating sensuality, Ms. Anderson received an honorary doctorate in 2007 from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.

The Aunt Peg nickname came from a role she played in several of her movies.

Nina Hartley got her start in the porn industry in 1984 when Ms. Anderson cast and directed her in “Educating Nina.” Hartley went on to become one of the best-known actresses in the industry, making the leap to mainstream film in 1997’s “Boogie Nights” with Mark Wahlberg.

“When I started out, Juliet was indeed an older person, and was a great mentor,” said Hartley, who lives in Los Angeles. “There was a time when pretty enough for porn meant less, but she was pretty enough for anything. She was still striking until the end – and very smart.”

Ms. Anderson was born Judith Carr in Los Angeles to jazz musician Fred Carr and his wife, Dorothy Carr. She graduated from Burbank High School and showed no fervor for a porn career as a young woman, relatives said.

She worked as an English teacher in Japan and Greece, and as a radio producer in Finland. Then, while attending San Francisco State University, on a whim she answered an ad by hard-core film producer Alex d’Renzy. She filmed “Pretty Peaches” with him and was off and running.

“It was shocking when she started out in that career,” said her only sibling, sister Chris Pettit of Sebastopol, the wife of an oil executive.

“As a family we never were involved in her alternative lifestyle, but we always loved her. We respected her choice.”

Ms. Anderson is survived by her sister, her mother in California, one niece and two great-nieces.

A public memorial will be held 7 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission St. in San Francisco.


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