Adult film star boasted of sleeping with celebs and ran sex shop before overdose

For years she was the UK's hottest star.

Throughout the 70s, Mary Millington was the epitome of risque glamour, constantly in adult magazines, X rated movies, pictured in newspapers and was a vocal campaigner against censorship.

But beneath the glitz was desperation and gloom and a story which ultimately ended in tragedy.

As a bullied teenager Mary dreamed of stardom but at 4 feet 11 inches was too small to be a fashion model.

In the heady days of the early 70s, when sexual freedoms were growing, she embraced them with gusto, getting unconventionally married at 18 with the couple enjoying wife swopping parties, voyeurism and having numerous open affairs.

When she came fourth in a Moss Dorking contest she decided she loved being the focus of a photographer's lens but more importantly, her mother was ill with cancer and money had to be found to pay for her care.

She decided glamour modelling was the way to go and soon began appearing in softcore magazines before starring in numerous European hardcore movies. One of her first films, Miss Bohrloch in 1970, won the esteemed Golden Phallus Award at the Wet Dream Festival held in Amsterdam. Other popular titles she starred in included Oh Nurse and Wild Lovers.

She once proudly declared: "I treat sex as something to be enjoyed, something to be savoured, something to cling to, something to be indulged in whenever possible. The old slogan of ‘Make Love Not War’ was a very good one."

In 1974 she met sex business magnate David Sullivan – the current billionaire owner of West Ham United – and the two began a passionate affair, with Mary appearing frequently in his magazines including Whitehouse and Private. If she was on the cover sales would go through the roof.

Her appearances in the popular "t**s and titters" sex comedy film Come Play With Me – which ran in a cinema for a record breaking four years – cemented her mainstream fame as she toured the UK promoting it and opening shops and restaurants.

At the height of her fame she was receiving thousands of fan letters every week but even after finding success, continued working as a call girl and publically claimed to have slept with countless high-profile figures.

In 1978 her notoriety grew when she was posing with a policeman outside 10 Downing Street and took her top off for which she was arrested. But far more serious trouble was around the corner.

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With her magazine work declining as she turned 33, her behaviour became more bizarre. Devastated by her mother's death which made her depression and anxiety worse, she was taking more and more cocaine and the kleptomania (an urge to steal things) she had kept under control began to get worse.

Her and Sullivan broke up and she opened up her own sex shop called Mary Millington's International Sex Centre.

It was constantly raided by the police and she publicly claimed crooked officers were trying to force her to pay protection money. A big tax bill made her depression worse and she was arrested for shoplifting in June 1979, and then for stealing a necklace on August 18.

The next day she went to bed and washed down an overdose of anti-depressants and paracetamol with booze.

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Her last act was to call a friend and ask him to sing "Goodnight Sweetheart" to her. Tired of her erratic behaviour, he put the phone down.

She left four suicide notes. In one she wrote: "The police have framed me yet again. They frighten me so much. I can't face the thought of prison… The Nazi tax man has finished me as well."

In another note to David Sullivan, she said: "please print in your magazines how much I want porn to be legalised, but the police have beaten me".

She was buried in the same grave as her mother in South Holmwood, Surrey.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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