Actress Nora Louise Kuzmas' stage name was adapted from "Tracy Lord," the high-toned character played by Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940). Any resemblance between Traci Lords and Hepburn begins and ends here. A onetime Penthouse "Pet," Lords told the producers that she was 18 when she was starred in her first X-rated film in 1983; in truth, she would not reach adulthood for another three years. By that point, Lords had already appeared in nearly 80 hard-breathing movie vehicles -- which, when her underage status became public knowledge, were immediately rendered illegal and removed post-haste from virtually every video rental shelf in the country. Since this tempest-in-a-teapot scandal, Traci Lords has emerged as a competent adult leading lady in theatrical films like John Waters' Cry Baby (1990) and Serial Mom (1994), television series like Melrose Place and Bandit, and the Stephen King TV miniseries The Tommyknockers (1993).
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Became a nude model for adult magazines as a teen.
- Stage name was derived from a friend's first name and Hawaii Five-0 actor Jack Lord.
- Appeared in dozens of pornographic films beginning at age 16; these films were later deemed illegal by U.S. authorities after her true age was discovered.
- Made her first legal adult film, Traci, I Love You, in 1986, a day after turning 18; it was also her last porn movie.
- Studied acting at Lee Strasberg's Theater and Film Institute.
- First nonadult feature film was the Roger Corman-produced Not of This Earth (1988).
- Recorded her debut solo album 1000 Fires in 1995; the first single, "Control," peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Dance Chart.
- Released her autobiography, Traci Lords: Underneath It All, in 2003.
- Recorded the single "Last Drag" in 2011.
- Works with the charity Children of the Night to help victims of sexual abuse.