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When Melissa Mounds Beat Up Russ Meyer

August 2, 1999: Debra Angela Masson, aka Melissa Mounds, girlfriend of famed director Russ Meyer has been convicted of battery and elder abuse. A jury last week found Masson, 39, guilty of three counts of beating Meyer, 77, at his Hollywood Hills home earlier this year.

At about 1:40 a.m. May 26, prosecutors charged, Masson attacked Meyer as he was sleeping on a couch. He awoke during the beating and later required treatment at a hospital. “Basically the injuries consisted of abrasions and contusions to the forehead,” said Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Karine Philips, who prosecuted the case. “He was bleeding pretty significantly from the head. He had a black, swollen eye.” Although Masson claimed at trial to have been acting in self-defense, prosecutors showed photos of her taken the day of and day after the attack in which “she did not have any visible injuries,” Philips said.

Masson will be sentenced today in Hollywood Municipal Court. She faces a maximum of three years in jail and up to $18,000 in fines. Masson must also obey a criminal protective order that requires her to keep 100 yards from Meyer at all times. Under the terms of the order, her only contact with Meyer — her off-again, on-again boyfriend for the past 14 years — can be through an attorney.

Meyer, in recent years, has suffered several small strokes.

“What makes it particularly egregious is … that very frequently she would belittle him about his memory being gone and his mind going,” Philips said. “It seems she was pretty much counting on the fact that he wouldn’t be able to remember what happened to him.”

Meyer’s films are filled with countless big-breasted women, and Masson, who has roots in Ohio, was true to type. Under the stage name Melissa Mounds, Masson starred in Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1989) and Cats Will Be Cats (1988).

“She apparently had a career in adult films, adult entertainment,” Philips confirmed. Fittingly enough, Masson met Meyer in Las Vegas. But now, their relationship appears doomed. “He’s pretty scared of her,” Philips said. “There was evidence of a prior incident where she had again sent him to the hospital because she had smashed his hand with a rock.”


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