Mary Ruth Quilter was born out of wedlock, and grew up without her father, John William G. Klein (1899-1973). She was bullied at school due to being born illegitimately, and suffered from low self-esteem throughout her childhood and teenage years. After marrying at a young age she took the surname Maxted, and lived in Dorking. She had to nurse her terminally ill mother for more than ten years, and began her porn career to pay for her care. Mary Millington became a glamour model in the late 1960s. Soon after this she met the pornographer John Jesnor Lindsay, and began appearing in 8 mm hardcore porn loops which sold well in Europe. One of her first films was Miss Bohrloch in 1970. Miss Bohrloch won the Golden Phallus Award at the Wet Dream Festival held in November 1970 in Amsterdam. Maxted starred in around twenty short hardcore films for John Lindsay, although only five (Miss Bohrloch, Oral Connection, Betrayed, Oh Nurse and Special Assignment) have so far resurfaced. She then returned to modelling for British pornographic magazines such as Knave and Men Only. She also appeared in softcore short films by Russell Gay (Response, 1974), Mountain Films (Love Games, Wild Lovers) and Harrison Marks (Sex is My Business, c. 1974). Sex is My Business was shot late on a Saturday night at a sex shop on London’s Coventry Street. The storyline concerns a powerful aphrodisiac being dropped by a customer, the potency of which renders the shop’s staff and customers sex crazy. Maxted, dressed in a short see-through dress, is the film’s main focus of attention, playing a member of staff who drags a customer into the back room for some multi-position sex, thoughtfully turning on the shop’s CCTV camera so others can watch. Sex is My Business was considered something of a lost film until a Super 8 mm film print of the film was located and privately transferred to DVD in 2008. The film subsequently made its internet debut on 26 July 2008 at the (now defunct) site ZDD Visual Explosion. in 2010 Sex is My Business is set to be included as a special feature on the DVD re-release of Come Play With Me.
In February 1975, Maureen O’Malley, her co-star in Sex is My Business introduced her to adult magazine publisher David Sullivan. Although she was still married, the pair became lovers. He rebranded her as Mary Millington. In her first Whitehouse appearance Sullivan claimed that she was the bisexual nymphomaniac sister of the magazine’s editor Doreen Millington, and so gave Mary her new stage name. She became well-known thanks to her appearances in Sullivan’s porn magazines such as Whitehouse and Private. She soon became the most popular model in any of Sullivan’s magazines. She then had a small part in Sullivan’s 1977 softcore sex comedy Come Play with Me, alongside Alfie Bass and Irene Handl Although critically panned, the film was highly successful, running continuously for four years at one London cinema. It then became one of the first British films to sell in large numbers on the new VHS format. This was followed by a larger role in The Playbirds (1978), in which she was cast as a policewoman working undercover as a nude model. Although her poor acting ability was evident, The Playbirds was a commercial success. Like Come Play with Me it was extensively trailed in Sullivan’s magazines. At the height of her fame she was also working behind the counter in Sullivan’s sex shops, mainly in the Whitehouse shop in Norbury. She continued working as a call girl, which she had done since her early modelling days. She then made a cameo appearance in Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair (1979), which was a flop, and Queen of the Blues (1979). She appeared in other sex movies such as Eskimo Nell (1975), Intimate Games (1976) and Derek Ford’s What’s Up Superdoc! (1978). Millington’s final appearance was in the Sex Pistols film Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle directed by Julien Temple, which was released theatrically in March 1980. However, neither she nor her punk rock co-star Sid Vicious lived to see the completion of the movie. Her co-star in the film Liz Fraser remembered “I was next to this girl called Mary Millington, and she and I had a great chat together…. and then we went into the pub for a lunch during the filming of that and someone said “she’s a porn star” and I said “I don’t understand what do you mean” and he said “porn, p-o-r-n” and he said “she’s naked and she does everything in all these films” but she was lovely and so I met my first porn star”.
One of Millington’s most outrageous moments was being photographed topless outside 10 Downing Street. Mary Millington, while posing for an innocuous picture with a policeman outside Number Ten, decided to unzip her top, exposing her breasts for the photograph, much to the surprise of those present, including fellow Come Play With Me actress Suzy Mandel, Whitehouse photographer George Richardson (who took the picture anyway) and the policeman in question (who tried to confiscate the film). According to Simon Sheridan’s biography of Millington, “For this stunt Mary was conditionally discharged and bound over to keep the peace”. Millington’s film Come Play With Me still stands as one of the longest-running films in British movie history, and ran continuously at the Moulin Cinema in London’s West End from 1977 to 1981. In a publicity stunt for the second-year anniversary of the film’s opening, both Suzy Mandel and Millington posed in lingerie on the Moulin cinema’s marquee. In 1978 she was approached to appear in a hardcore porn film called Love is Beautiful, to have been directed by Gerard Damiano. However, despite Millington and Damiano being pictured together at that year’s Cannes Film Festival, the movie (meant to have been produced by David Grant’s Oppidan Films) never materialized. Potential co-stars may have included Harry Reems, Gloria Brittain, and Lisa Taylor. That same year she turned 33, and found herself being replaced by younger models in Sullivan’s magazines. She began to spend more time working in her own sex shop, selling illegal material. The shop was raided by the police on numerous occasions, and she claimed the police threatened her and forced her to pay protection money.
She had always been prone to neurosis and depression, which was exacerbated by her cocaine habit. Her mother’s death in 1976 also affected her deeply, and her behaviour became unpredictable, which led to her breaking up with Sullivan. Her life had begun a downward spiral into drug use and depression following the raids on her shop. A few months prior to her death she had received a large tax bill which she was unable to pay. Her kleptomania became more pronounced in the last year of her life, with arrests for shoplifting in June 1979, and again for stealing a necklace the day before her death. Millington committed suicide at age 33, by an overdose of tricyclic antidepressant anafranil, paracetamol and alcohol at her home in Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey. Her husband found her dead in her bed on 19 August 1979. She left four suicide notes which were found near her body. In one of them she had written, “The police have framed me yet again. They frighten me so much. I cant face the thought of prison…The Nazi tax man has finished me as well” In another note, to her solicitor Michael Kaye (partly published in Private magazine no 59 ) Millington wrote “the police have killed me with their threats…the police have made my life a misery with frame ups. The tax man has hounded me so much- I will be made bankrupt, he mustn’t get anything of his £200, 000 demands. He is a religious maniac.” Millington was a member of the N.C.R.O.P.A. (National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Acts). After her death N.C.R.O.P.A founder David Webb wrote “Mary was a dear, kind person and we much admired her courage in standing up to the bigotry and repression which still so pervades the establishment of this country. She obviously had tremendous pressures put on her as a result and there is no doubt in my mind that these must have contributed to this tragedy.” She was buried at the St Mary Magdalene Church, Betchetts Green Road in the village of South Holmwood, Surrey. Her grey granite tombstone is situated at the side of the churchyard and bears the surname “Maxted” – her married name. She is buried in the same grave as her mother, Joan Quilter, who died in 1976.
- November, 30, 1945
- United Kingdom
- Kenton, Middlesex, England
- August, 19, 1979
- United Kingdom
- Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England
Cause of Death
- St Mary Magdalene Churchyard
- South Holmwood, Surrey, England
- United Kingdom