The Tragic Story Of Shauna Grant! Here’s The Wild Career And Shocking Death Of Adult Film’s “Suzie Superstar”!

The Tragic Story Of Adult Superstar Shauna Grant…

One of my Facebook friends told me I should look into the story of “Adult Superstar” Shauna Grant, and it’s a sobering tale of overnight success…and a shocking suicide.

Colleen Marie Applegate was known by her stage name Shauna Grant. The Adult Film Superstar was born in 1963 – and achieved her greatest success at a time when the adult film business was exploding, thanks to the advent of VHS…

While she was born in California, Colleen was raised in the small town of Farmington, Minnesota.

Applegate was a cheerleader in high school and graduated from Farmington High in 1981.

Shauna’s Suicide Attempt…

In December 1981, a troubling incident: Shauna reportedly consumed a handful of prescription sinus pills in an attempt at suicide.

Her father has said that he never discussed the suicide attempt with his daughter; he and his wife at the time believing that their daughter was merely seeking attention.

According to a great Frontline documentary about Shauna, the entire family had at least one group session at a counseling center at that time, but no one talked about the situation.

Shauna Becomes A “Figure Model!”

In 1982, Shauna headed to California with her boyfriend. As wikipedia reports, they responded to an ad for models:

“The World Modeling Agency in Van Nuys, diligently sought attractive new recruits for “figure modeling”. Applegate visited the agency’s owner, Jim South, who set up a photo session with legendary soft-core photographer J. Stephen Hicks, whose work was frequently featured in Penthouse.”

Does the name Jim South sound familiar? Or the phrase “figure model?” Well, that’s how they described nude photography then, and South was one of the biggest Agents in that business….in fact, he signed this Star:

Yes, he’s the Agent who originally represented the notorious Traci Lords, not having any idea she was only 15 and a half years old at the time!

You can hear one of his last interviews before he died on this fascinating and disturbing podcast about Traci…you can find out more by clicking on my story here:

Interesting that the same youthful look that Traci had is what appealed to Club magazine as well.

As wikipedia notes:

Her first pictorial’s theme featured a mock camping set and was to be published by Club. Hicks reflected on Applegate’s appearance and personality, saying: “I deal with a lot of girls who are new in the business, a lot of young girls and a lot of girls from out of town. Colleen was so incredibly young and naive. She was completely un-hip and non-L.A.”

Clearly, the camera loved her, and her midwest “innocence” jumped off the page…and her career took off.

Over the next two years, Shauna appeared in more than 30 Adult films, with reports that she was earning more than $100,000 during that time.

She made some very well known adult films during this time, beginning with this classic:

“Suzie Superstar!”

This 1983 film starred Shana as a singer who has a corrupt Manager who is in deep with the mob.

Shauna was nominated for an adult acting award for the film

“Flesh and Laces 1 & 2!”

As her popularity grew, Shauna went from making $300 a day to nearly $1,500.

There are a number of stories online about her career that begin to discuss her drug use around this time, as well as hanging out with people who may have enabled that use.

Grant’s popularity earned her three acting nominations at the March 1984 Erotic Film Awards. However, despite these accolades and her beauty, Grant was reportedly having difficulty getting work due to a reputation she was developing regarding her cocaine use – and even worse for the adult film business, she was earning a reputation for a “lack of enthusiasm” during sex scenes.

Private School Girls

Shauna stars here as a “naughty schoolgirl” who is sent to a private academy to be “schooled.”

Summer Camp Girls

I think you can see where these are all going: Shauna’s youthful looks led her to a number of adult sex romps that made use of her young appearance.


Also made in 1983, Shauna stars as Virginia. When her photographer father brings home his latest girlfriend who’s about the same age as her, Virginia becomes jealous. She has her own plans for daddy and she’s not sharing.


Another film from 1983, “Glitter” was directed by the legendary female adult filmmaker Roberta Findlay.

Here’s a short non-sex scene so you can get an idea of how she came across on camera:

Reports from that time say that in some adult film circles she had acquired the nickname “Applecoke” due to her drug use, and was increasingly problematic in her approach to work.

Shauna’s Shocking Death!

Even though she was at the height of her popularity, what happened next shocked the adult film world.

On March 21, 1984, Grant committed suicide in Palm Springs by shooting herself with a .22.

According to reports, shortly after 7 p.m. she lay down, placed the gun horizontally against her head, and pulled the trigger. The shot passed through her right temple, out the left, and into the bedroom wall, according to police reports. Grant was rushed to Desert Hospital, where, two days later, her life support system was disconnected and she died.

Apparently, Grant killed herself after the arrest of her partner earlier that month. There has been speculation, but no official reason behind her act…a shocking and sad end to what had been a great career to that point.

Adult filmmaker Roberta Findlay, who had just made “Glitter” with Shauna, made the controversial tribute film “Shauna: Every Man’s Fantasy” in 1985, including Grant’s suicide.

As you can see from this newspaper ad from Getty Images, Grant’s career and death were fictionalized in the TV movie “Shattered Innocence” in 1988.

Her parents used the proceeds from selling the movie rights to fund Grant’s tombstone.

Shauna was 20 years old when she killed herself…

Shauna Grant’s story is so sad, but she’s just one of many tragic stories from the adult film world…

Rene Bond was a hugely popular adult star in the 70’s, but she had a tragic death as well…you can read more of her story here:

The Actress Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith didn’t make “adult” films, but acted in a number of software gems like this:

This X-rated farce should have made her a star, but she had demons she couldn’t control…you can read Cheryl’s story by clicking on this link:

If you like these stories, you can go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NO ads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!

Click here and see the “follow” button on the upper right!

Let me know your thoughts on Shauna’s career, and if you like the story, please share on social media!

Categories: Books / Media, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites

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32 replies

  1. So tragic. And so young. I may not have much, I am not famous. But I am pushing 50. No one so lovely should die so suddenly at so young an age. Kudos to anyone who got out of the porno business without succumbing to drugs, alcohol, and depression.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t heard of her, but the suicide of porn stars seems to be a real feature of that seedy business. You did her credit with this feature, John.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cocaine ruined alot of hot tail back in the 80’s. As usual, another great retrospective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie Smith is on her daughter’s Facebook page and looks pretty rough. She was there that night along with one or two girls from Colleen’s high school. That old gang still has some pretty incendiary threads on Facebook about the boyfriend and was he a dick for leaving her out there, or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shauna had a natural innocence and beauty about her. What a shame about her addiction which ultimately led to her demise. The idiot who was pushing that crap on her should had been charged with murder!


  6. Great readingg your blog post



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