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Candida Royalle, feminist erotic filmmaker, dies in Mattituck at 64


Candida Royalle, a feminist erotic filmmaker and pioneer of the sex-positive movement, died from ovarian cancer at home in Mattituck on Sept. 7.

She was 64.

Born in Brooklyn as Candice Marion Vadala, Ms. Royalle starred in pornography until 1984, when she launched Femme Productions with the intention of producing “adult films from a woman’s perspective,” her friend Annie Sprinkle wrote in a public Facebook post.

In doing so, Ms. Royalle helped launch the couples’ erotica market.

“Pornography can reboot a couple’s sex life,” she wrote in a 2012 New York Times piece. “It can give you ideas, or help you get in touch with what turns you on.”

One year after beginning her career behind the camera, Ms. Royalle co-founded one of the first porn star support groups, Club 90, of which she was an active member up until her death, Ms. Sprinkle said.

In 2004, Ms. Royalle wrote “How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do.” She was also an animal rights activist and prolific public speaker, lecturing everywhere from the Smithsonian Institute to the World Congress on Sexology.

A founding member of Feminists for Free Expression, a nonprofit group dedicated to defending women’s rights and freedom of expression, Ms. Royalle received a doctorate in human sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 2014.

Ms. Royalle, in a photo taken by Daniel Nicoletta in San Francisco in the mid-'70's, during a performance at a Salon. (Credit: courtesy, Facebook)
Ms. Royalle, in a photo taken by Daniel Nicoletta in San Francisco in the mid-’70’s, during a performance at a Salon. (Credit: courtesy, Facebook)

According to Ms. Sprinkle, Ms. Royalle had been suffering from ovarian cancer for the past five years. She had reportedly planned to leave the North Fork this fall in order to be closer to friends.

“Then, just about five days ago, Candice started slipping away quickly and it became evident that [she] was unlikely to recover,” Ms. Sprinkle said.

Ms. Royalle’s three cats will need new homes, Ms. Sprinkle said. Anyone interested in adopting them can email Barbara Carrellas.

[email protected]

Photo Caption: Ms. Royalle, seen here in a 2009 photo, died of ovarian cancer last week. (Credit: courtesy, Facebook)