Shannon Michelle Wilsey (October 9, 1970 – July 11, 1994), commonly known by her stage name of Savannah, was an American pornographic performer, starring in more than 100 pornographic videos during her career. One of the most prominent adult-industry models of her time, she achieved notoriety within her short (1990–1994) career due to her on-screen presence and personal life. Savannah committed suicide in 1994 after a car accident.
Wilsey reportedly took her stage name from Savannah Smiles, a 1982 movie she enjoyed.
Career and relationships
Wilsey signed an exclusive contract with Vivid Entertainment in 1991. She began using drugs and spending large amounts of money, and reportedly had severe financial troubles despite her substantial income. She also garnered a reputation for being temperamental, leading Vivid to sever its association with her in 1992.
Wilsey became involved in a long-term lesbian relationship with fellow porn model Jeanna Fine, with whom she later claimed to have fallen deeply in love. She also had relationships with musician Gregg Allman, comedian Pauly Shore, bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist Slash, and Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe.
Around 2:00 a.m. on July 11, 1994, Wilsey drove herself and a friend, Jason Swing, home from a night of partying. According to reports, both were intoxicated. One block from her home, she drove her Corvette into a fence, suffering lacerations to her face and breaking her nose. When she and Swing got to her house, she sent him out to walk her Rottweiler, Daisy.
She was found in a pool of blood, but still breathing, by her friend, Nancy Pera. She had shot herself in the head with a 9 mm handgun she kept in her home. After almost nine hours in a coma, she died at 11:20 a.m. on July 11, 1994, at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank, California.
After her death, Wilsey's family traded angry public statements of blame with her friends in the porn industry. Police investigators concluded that she was deeply depressed due to several factors, including her drug use, financial difficulties, and failed relationships. The accident in which she sustained injuries that might have seriously hurt her career, police theorized, was the final factor that led her to take her own life.
In popular culture
The Austin-based rock band Okkervil River has written three songs based on the life and times of Savannah. They are entitled "Red" on the album Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See, "Savannah Smiles" on The Stage Names, and "(Shannon Wilsey on the) Starry Stairs" on The Stand-Ins. The Metal-core band Zao has a song called "Savannah" which references her death as well. In the Swedish film Container by filmmaker Lukas Moodysson Savannah is mentioned several times as well as the circumstances of her death.
No relations set
No events set