Traci Elizabeth Lords (born Nora Louise Kuzma on May 7, 1968) is an American actress, singer, model, writer, producer, and director. She achieved notoriety in the 1980s after it was discovered she had appeared underage in numerous pornographic films.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Lords initially landed a job as a nude model at the age of fifteen, using a false driver's license. After being featured in the September 1984 issue of Penthouse magazine, she appeared in dozens of illegal videos between 1984 and 1986, and became one of the most sought-after pornographic actresses of the era. During May 1986, when authorities discovered she had been underage while making all but one of her pornographic films, distributors were ordered to remove all her material to avoid the risk of prosecution for trafficking in child pornography. The withdrawal of her films cost millions of dollars and her case became the biggest scandal to affect the adult film industry.
After her departure from pornography, Lords enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute where she studied method acting with the intention of becoming a mainstream actress. She made her screen debut in 1988, when she had a leading role in the remake of Roger Corman's sci-fi classic Not of This Earth. Lords followed with the role of Wanda Woodward in John Waters' teen comedy, Cry-Baby (1990). Her other acting credits include the television series MacGyver, Married... with Children, Tales from the Crypt, Roseanne, Melrose Place, Profiler, First Wave, Gilmore Girls and Will & Grace. She also appeared in films such as Virtuosity (1995), Blade (1998), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) and most recently Excision (2012), which earned her Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as Fright Meter Award and CinEuphoria Award.
Besides her film career, Lords also pursued music. After her song "Love Never Dies" was featured on the soundtrack to the film Pet Sematary Two (1992), she got signed to Radioactive Records and subsequently released her debut studio album, 1000 Fires (1995) to a critical acclaim. Despite the poor sales of the album, the lead single "Control" had a moderate commercial success. It managed to peak at number two on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and was included on the soundtrack to the film Mortal Kombat (1995), which was eventually certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 2003, Lords published her autobiography, Traci Lords: Underneath It All, which received positive reviews from critics and debuted at number thirty-one on the The New York Times Best Seller list.