One of the side effects of visiting famous gravesites is that the deceased often become much more real to you. When you stand at someone’s grave and feel the finality of it and touch the cold marble of the headstone you realize that this was a tangible, living human being - not just the hype that you’ve read, or the image that you’ve seen.

This was certainly the case when the Death 2ur visited the gravesite of Shauna Grant. We all know the basic, sensational story - a young woman leaves a rural community to go to California and make it big in show business. She is consequently exploited by the jackals of the industry who prey on just such naiveté.  But what we often forget is that this was someone’s daughter, sister, or friend. She was a real person with very real people who cared about her.

The Death 2ur went looking for Shauna Grant and found Colleen Marie Applegate. She is buried in the farming community where she was raised. Colleen is interred in a small cemetery very near cornfields and farmhouses. Her grave had fresh flowers. We could picture her parents and her sisters or brother leaving them recently. To her family she is not just some footnote in the history of pornography. Colleen’s parents followed her to California and tried to convince her into coming home by offering her a fully-paid college education. But the allure of stardom was unbreakable.

Colleen took that same, clichéd path – trusting the wrong people. She started “modeling” and eventually began making adult films. She left the industry for a time and tried to go straight, but when her last boyfriend, who was also her drug supplier, went to prison, she needed quick cash. She went back to making adult films. On March 21, 1984, Colleen Marie Applegate locked herself in her bedroom, and lying on her bed, placed the barrel of a 22-caliber rifle against her right temple, pulling the trigger.

Finally, the Applegates were able to bring their beautiful daughter home.

St. Michaels Cemetery - Farmington, MN

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