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Rebecca Steele

Jeanette Dee Rogers was born January 17, 1962 to an enlisted sailor and a teenage mother JoAnn Skeeter in Norfolk,Virginia. The sailor took off before the baby’s arrival. A young Marine named Markvart married the pregnant JoAnn instead. The couple divorced soon after. For a while, JoAnn Markvart raised Jeanette in an apartment nestled among the honky-tonks of East Ocean View, Virginia, but she eventually sent the girl to live with relatives in Bent Creek, in Appomattox County, Virginia. Jeanette bounced between Norfolk and Bent Creek for the next several years. Before long, JoAnn married another sailor, Joel Anito, and had two more children, Priscilla and Joseph. JoAnn Anito became troubled by her firstborn’s visits. An angry Rogers set the laundry on fire. She spiked her mother’s bath water with broken glass. JoAnn Anito stated “A psychiatrist told me that when she came home, if I had any knives or anything, I should secure them because she was capable of killing me. They told me that when she was about 7.” She quit school in seventh grade. At 15, she was pregnant. She married her baby’s father, who lived near Bent Creek, and became Jeanette Moore, but the marriage didn’t last. When her son, Brian, was still a baby, she left him with her husband’s parents and took off. When she was in her late teens bought a motorcycle and in her off hours running with a gang. At a North Carolina bar, she was jumped by other bikers, dragged into the woods; they broke her ribs, even shaved her head. Years later, she told of having been kidnapped by a rival gang, too, and held prisoner for months. For years, she traded on her body and charms. Rogers had a body, lithe and firm, which she loved to show off. Her family says she traded favors for cash with a Bent Creek neighbor while still a preteen. Once her mother had her institutionalized, and she performed stripteases in the hospital. Using her beauty, she got men to give her money, jewelry, and even a Corvette. She worked Norfolk’s go-go bars. When she was 18, she headed to California to make movies. She moved west, got a house in the San Fernando Valley. Out of this was born Rebecca Steele. She had earned an international following as Rebecca Steele, a centerfold model and actress in scores of X-rated movies. Her endlessly alluring good looks were sure to please, but it was her energy and spirit that kept fans coming back for more. Rebecca Steele movies tended to be the sort the porn industry turns out by the hundreds; shot in bad light, with bad sound, on cheap tape, with little thought given to plot or actual acting. Performers weren’t paid well, though some, like Steele, earned more by agreeing to onscreen acts that others refused. Adult Video News, the trade paper of the porn industry, estimated that adult film performers engage in as many as 50 sexual contacts per workday. At the time Steele made most of her movies, male performers rarely used condoms, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases among her co-stars was not the routine it is today. Sometime in the early 1990s, she was infected with the HIV virus. Apparently unaware of her illness, she moved to Hawaii to dance. Many adult film performers join the stripping circuit, where a performer with a national following can make thousands of dollars a week. She made bigger money as an exotic dancer in Hawaii. After seven years in Honolulu she moved back east, to bounce among Norfolk, New York and Florida. She stripped, raised pit bulls, kept snakes. And she fell ever deeper into drugs. She was jailed in Florida on a cocaine charge in the mid-1990s. She lived large, dressed well, and partied without a care. But these times didn’t last, and she wound up back in Norfolk with little to show for all life and acting. She was flat broke, on the run from creditors, and half a step from being homeless. She had fallen into drugs and spent days in a chemical fog. Also, she was suffering from full-blown AIDS. By the time she turned 42, Rogers had been through so many marriages that her mother couldn’t name all her exes. In the mid-1990s, She married yet again, becoming Jeanette Rogers. In 1999 she was back in the Virginia Piedmont, with another husband. The marriage broke up, and she moved in with one “J.D.” On Christmas Eve, 2000, he threw her out of his car on a roadside near Crewe, Va. She sought help at a truck stop where Rick Mills was sitting in his car. Mills agreed to drive her to Norfolk the next day. In the late spring of 2001, the couple moved to an apartment on Norfolk’s Willoughby Spit. They got construction jobs on a new department store, and for a while, the money was good. But both used copious quantities of cocaine and other drugs. The cash didn’t last. The couple bounced among Ocean View motels and apartments, growing ever more lost in drugs. Eventually, Mills moved to Richmond without her. He got work. He cleaned up. But he had started to miss her and went to her. The happy reunion gave way to another bout with drugs. Miserable, the couple attempted suicide together in Richmond in April 2002; they split a 100-count bottle of Carisoprodol, a prescription muscle relaxer. They both woke up in Chippenham Hospital. Once released, they lived for a while in another motel, then moved back to Norfolk. Around the same time, she began to complain of chronic diarrhea, and in short order dropped to 90 pounds. A thrush infection bloomed in her mouth. The symptoms went undiagnosed until she and Mills tried to donate plasma at a Wards Corner clinic in the fall of 2002. Then she found out she had AIDS. While Mills checked himself into a hospital in July 2003 to straighten out. An emaciated Rogers began abusing the prescriptions written for her by doctors treating her AIDS. In the fall of 2003, she overdosed on pills four or five times. The AIDS medicine appeared to be working. She put on weight. Whatever odd glamor Rogers had enjoyed earlier in life clearly was vanished from it now. She and Mills lived in a room at the M.D. International Inn. They ate meals she cooked in the room’s microwave. Her life kind of deteriorated. All she had were a few things in a bag. On Friday, Jan. 16, Mills picked up Rogers’ prescriptions, and she immediately dived into a bottle of Carisoprodol. She passed her birthday in a stupor. Her death came two days after her birthday, on the floor of a worn motel room on East Little Creek Road in Virginia. On January 19, Mills left for a roofing job. On his return, the motel manager told Mills he’d discovered Rogers incapacitated in a hallway. Mills found her cross-legged on the floor of their room, surrounded by strewn clothes. Of the 100 pills in the bottle, 13 remained. He called for help. Norfolk paramedics arrived. She told them she didn’t want treatment and signed a form saying so. The rescuers left. Just before midnight, Mills woke and found his fiancee lying on the floor. The same paramedic crew returned to declare her dead. Her obituary, two sentences long, failed to mention her peculiar fame. Only a handful of people turned out for her funeral. No one from the movies, no co-stars or directors or producers from her glory days. Mostly just family, and not all of that; her son didn’t make it, either.

Personal Info

Stage Name Rebecca Steele
Real Name Jeanette Dee Rogers
Profession(s) Actress
Death in Norfolk, Virginia, USA  (drug overdose)
Birthplace Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Years Active 1989-2004 (Started around 27 years old)
Piercings None
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