The final days of Hollie Stevens: A first hand account from Robert Rhine

Recently I spent the last few days in a room in a San Francisco hospital cancer ward with my best friend Hollie Stevens who is dying. She is 30 years old.

Hollie has always been like a surrogate daughter to me and she requested that I come up from LA to be with her, so I slept on a chair in her room for a couple nights, not wanting to miss a precious moment in the life of a truly astonishing, inspiring, sweet spirit and someone who I love dearly. I’m not the only one touched by this precious soul. At least glance Hollie had 33,650 unanswered emails. There are so many of Hollie’s friends on our G&C social sites that I wanted to let you know what’s going on. Also, a story about Hollie broke in several San Francisco newspapers, so a feel I can now tell you from my perspective.

A lot of you already know of Hollie’s brave battle with cancer, which began as a massive tumor in her breast and has now spread to her liver, bones and now brain. Hollie’s the strongest fighter I know (not to mention a kickboxer and wrestler) and she has lived longer than any doctors expected. But her days of miracles may have run their course.

I first met Hollie in 2006, when she was just 24 years old and I interviewed her for Girls and Corpses Magazine. A strikingly beautiful, tall blond (rising even taller on platforms) Hollie has always been real traffic stopper (literally). We hit it off immediately and I honestly have never met anyone so bitingly funny, bright, honest and a proud adult performer famous for, amongst other things, Clown Porn. Hollie’s a true exhibitionist, free-spirited artist and experience junkie. Nothing scared or intimidated her (until she met Cancer).

Over the years Hollie has graced the pages and cover of Girls and Corpses Magazine and she has done too many events with me to count — including many years sitting with me at our exhibition tables at Comic-Con, Fangoria, AVN and APE, Las Vegas trips, Guys Choice Awards, Scream Awards and dozens of G&C signing parties, bondage balls, fetish parties, readings, clubs and wild events. I even took Hollie with me to a weekend at the regional gathering of Mensa where we both spoke and Hollie screened Clown Porn for all the ‘geniuses.’Classic!

If it was off the wall, Hollie was there, probably performing something that you would never,ever, forget.

Hollie even went with me to the funeral of my business partner Stephen Miller (i2006) who was tragically killed by a grizzly bear. Hollie has been an integral part of Girls and Corpses Magazine and has also contributed superb writing, such as the piece she wrote on her good friend Gidget Gein (after he passed). She’s also a wonderful artist and her artwork hangs in Hyaena Gallery in Burbank.

Then came Hollie’s massive breast tumor, bouts of radiation and her mastectomy followed by loads of chemo. The first time I saw Hollie really sick was several months ago when I took her to her favorite restaurant for sushi. I watched her limp to the table and decline an order for her favorite dish and I knew she was really sick. The cancer had already moved to her bones and a rod was inserted into her leg and hip.  But Hollie didn’t use a cane. That’s not her style.

For the past few days, I have sat by her hospital bed in a cancer ward on a floor you never want to be. There’s no good news on this floor and occasionally you hear the intercom blasting ‘Code Blue!!”

I held Hollie’s hand as I walked beside her to brain radiation and woke up almost hourly to an annoying loud beeping alarm as her pick line (a plastic tube inserted in her heart) was clogged with a blood clot. It made for exhausting nights for Hollie and was not helped by the endless succession of nurses and doctors who flowed into the room checking her vitals and upping her painkillers, as her pain rose from a 5 to an 8 (which would be a level 9 and 15 for civilians not able to tolerate a bondage pro’s and regulars pain levels).

Hollie never ever complained. Not once. I’m so happy we were able to spend some joyful moments together before the radiation to her brain became more painful and the pain drugs made her very drowsy. I even wheeled her down to the gift store and took her on a buying spree and told her to buy whatever she wanted. Hollie picked some wild knee socks, a book on miniature golf (which actually was a miniature golf course with a tiny club and golf balls), groovy striped sunglasses, trashy magazines and of course tons of candy and blow pops. I also wheeled her around the street in front of the hospital (see attached photo).

My cousin, Nicole, also bought Hollie some silly socks and a box of chocolates that I brought to the hospital and Hollie and I scarfed together the entire thing in one night.

I also went to Hollie’s favorite sushi joint, (in SF) and picked up a load of sushi, which we enjoyed together in her room while watching Adult Swim. I also brought her back Thai shrimp noodles one night and pizza and presto garlic bread on another night, (from her favorite Italian joint).

I’m so thankful I had this time with Hollie. She’s still funny and bright and, yes, sexy, and even though she has lost a lot of weight and her long legs are dotted in bruises, Hollie still rocks the hospital.

It’s hard to say for sure how much time Hollie has left and I’m not going to state the doctor’s dire predictions. But I know she will hang in there longer than anyone will even believe.

I am just home now and I really miss her. I would have rather been in no other place than in that hospital room with Hollie and I’m ready to return on a moments notice when needed.

Update: Hollie has been released from the hospital. All radiation and chemo have been stopped so she can go home with hospice care for her final days… as she wanted.

photos: Robert Rhine


Girls and Corpses Magazine






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23 comments on “The final days of Hollie Stevens: A first hand account from Robert Rhine
  1. What a beautiful piece about life and death, and most of all, love. Thank you, Corpsy. I’m so glad you got to spend this precious time with Hollie. I’ve been blown away by her beauty, creativity, humor and charm since the first time she was on my show back in 2004. She is truly one of the great lights of the world, the Queen of Clown Porn and so much more.

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  3. I wanted to know what can refrain from a bee in single’s life so that’s forth it not who could not give an true answer.

  4. Pingback: Rest in Peace Hollie Stevens

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  6. Thank you, Robert. I was lucky enough to have known Hollie, worked and loved with her and she’s all that and more that you write of. Hollie was not your average person, nor your average girl, and those who got to spend time with her know her on a very different level. Sure, she was a clown ( who stumbled upon porn), but she was also very quiet on a personal level, introspective, smart, funny and loved to laugh. This was the woman I knew, and the woman I already miss.

  7. I think I saw Hollie’s ghost last night. I used to live with her and she always laughed at every stupid thing I said. I’m going to say all my Tibetan Prayers for her. It takes three hours. I am looking forward to the reading but right now I’m drinking and crying. I wrote a long story about Hollie and I sent it to you (or the people helping her from the email address I got from the SF Weekly article). She was my hero. I miss her. You seem like an angel. Thank you for this story.

  8. I first saw Hollie on Howard Stern’s TV show in 2003/4 and could see immediately (through the clown make-up ;)) what a sweet girl she was.

    I never saw any of her work but a few months ago I read somewhere she was sick, and recognised her from Stern.

    I hoped she would pull through, it’s very sad she didn’t. But I am very glad to hear there were people she loved with her at the end.

    Thank you for being there.

  9. I have worked with many adult girls over the years but Hollie was by far the nicest kindest open minded person I’ve ever met. She was special and she was too young and good of a person to die. I was really hoping she would overcome this but I am very sad to learn she didn’t. Thanks for this personal story.

  10. I had the chance to hang out with Hollie and Eric before she passed. We had a total blast and I’m very thankful for the memories. I only wish I’d been able to see her one last time. Thank you for the post, for you were there when many others could only be there in spirit. Rest well, Hollie. You are missed.

  11. “Hollie” was my sister. Everything I have read decsribing my sister has been accurate. She was so independent. She moved to CA with nothing. I admired her for that. I was jealous of her for being able to do that. She was so much more than “Hollie” the porn star. I wish that a real obituary could be made, for the real person. When I see one of these girls on TV I now think of them as someone’s sister or daughter. To me, she is still the same little girl that used to dress up and dance like Micheal Jackson. The same little girl that used to watch wrestling with me and our dad, which always ended up in a battle royale in the living room, with her always ending up the champ. She used to get so embarressed when I’d pick her up from school in my truck blasting “Dueling banjos” but would sing along with the rest of the songs when we pulled away. We were as close as a brother and sister could get that were 8 years apart. She hung with me and my friends. Did things that teenage guys do in a small town. She was one of the guys. It broke my heart when she moved away. She tried to hide this part of her life from me. I think she thought I wouldn’t love her anymore because of it. What a person does for a living doesn’t define the person. A walmart greeter isn’t just a walmart greeter. He’s a father, grandfather, son, uncle and someone’s friend. I ask the same be said for my sister. This wasn’t her. It was her job. She was so funny. We shared the same sense of humor. We’d talk for hours about nothing. That all changed when I recently found out what she did. Not because of the actual job but because of everything it took to hide the job. I don’t know why I am even writing this on here. I just want her to know how much I love her and I miss her and I am sorry for what she thought happened. This life destroyed our relationship. It’s something she may have been proud of out there but obviously wasn’t proud enough to tell me. Something she was ashamed of when it came to me. I guess I will never have the chance to tell her that it didn’t matter. She was and always will be my little sister. I’m so very sorry it ended the way it did. I’d like to think the reason she never called was the cancer or meds but I’ll never know. She never gave me the chance to show her how compassionate I could be or show her how much I did love her. I’m sorry I will never have any closure. I’m sorry we didn’t have enough time to make things right. A part of me is gone. The person I felt closer to than anyone in this world. This will haunt me the rest of my days. Maybe I deserve that. I love you Sis.

    • Hi Brother ‘Stevens’ –

      I wrote the account above you commented on and I would love to speak to you at:

      Your comment touched me and made me very sad.

      My deepest condolences for your loss.

      Hollie (Tia) was an amazing soul.

      Robert Rhine

    • Tia’s brother,
      Please accept my condolences for your loss. She was a very special person, funny as all hell, kind, and down to earth. We will all miss her!!
      Much Love,

    • I can truly understand what you are saying. Her mother and brother never got to say good-bye. They didn’t know what her living was either, but when all was said and done it didn’t matter……. they loved her unconditionally. When she slipped into eternity her Mom was not there to hold her hand because of Laura and Eric. When her Mom is called home, her and Tia will never be separated again, especially from the likes of Laura or Eric!

  12. Hollie Stevens meant so much to so many people. Hollie Stevens was the name Tia Kidwell used professionally in porn, in movies and her art. She saw porn as the new rock and roll. I assure you Tia kidwell and Hollie Stevens were always the same person and she was proud of all that she embraced. She saw the exploration of human sexuality as I do, a legitimate genre in art and exploration of the human experience.

    Tia Kidwell taught me to embrace all of life, she taught me TOTALITY. I am always future tripping she taught me to experience the present as it is happening. She taught me to live in the moment. Many people have tried to teach me and have failed miserably Hollie manifested it in my life.

    Hollie was my best friend and loved me unconditionally always even when I started many Art Wars with other artists and fans. She appreciated my battles but reminded me to celebrate who I was just as she always celebrated herself.

    She used to tell people how much I hate blondes, the American archetype, the cheerleader, the princess and the girl next store. She taught me that people and things are not always what you think they are. She taught me to believe in the right people and she taught me this the first time we met while shoving a gun in my ass.

    She friended me on Myspace in 2006 and I was like Oh brother another Internet Superstar just friended me. She’s either a complete oppurtunistic asshole hipster chic or a mail order bride sex site represenative or a fake profile of some creepy dude. She was none of that she was real.

    I decided to test her and asked her if she would rape and kill me with a gun in my movie “What is Art?” Immediately she said “yes”

    Just hours before she was to fly to a porn shoot in LA she showed up at my Berkeley Apartment and we went over the script. I was tied up, cut and pissed on. Many ladies did many things to me then she shoved the gun in. Pulled the trigger and the blood splattered all over her face, breasts and dress. She removed the gun, took off her dress cleaned up and visited a little then went to the airport. I didn’t know who this person was but I was impressed. I was not used to this level of professionalism by artist in the Bay Area. You should see the watercolor she painted of this. She painted John Cougar Mellencamp in the painting between the gun and my asshole. She hated Mellencamp’s music but loved when I teased her and would drunkenly call her and sing his songs to her, especially “Jack and Diane.”

    You should also check out her RAPE painting she did one time when we drunkenly painted watercolors at an SF bar. She always said that Purple was the color of rape which is really grape. The running joke was “I’m going to grape you in the mouth”

    Later she came back to visit, let me photograph her up close gynecological like for a Sexgoblin and Alchemical Transsexual portraits as well as be interviewed by me for my movie. I was blown away by her insights, point of view and most of all her authenticity. I was not expecting to meet someone so profound, beautiful, funny and genuine. I have met a lot of people in my life but no one but Hollie has had such a profound and lasting affect on me.

    Hollie and I grew real close real fast. Quickly we became best friends. I called her my Coyotel High Priestess Indignatary and my bodyguard. She was actually my bodyguard several times. Who would have thought? She was also my bullshit guard. She could see bullshit coming hard and fast and gracefully she rose above it every time escaping drama on all levels when I seemed to have disaster coming from all directions and I always wanted to play with it. Hollie was the quite center of the hurricane that modern artist must deal with in our time. This skill she taught me probably saved my life many times. Her and I could attract the unstable dangerous types. Yet she stopped all disasters before they manifested. Tia Kidwell taught me to “NOT ENGAGE THE DISTURBED NO MATTER HOW APPEALING OR BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE”. She knew how to be sacred in any situation even as she was dying and in much pain she was sacred with her feet on the earth and defiant yet humbled. Once when she was home a hospice nurse asked her what she wanted and Tia replied “I want to be healthy” In Satanic fury she gave death the middle finger and lived it to the very end and also in the end embracing even death as a new experience and a part of lives totality.

    We never fought. Hollie loved me unconditionally and I loved her unconditionally. We did give each other shit about things we liked and hated though. I told her many times how I hated fucking clowns. Not because I am afraid of them or any typical explanation but because they are fucking banal and stupid! She would say “No! clowns are great!” and I’d say, “Fuck you Hollie the clowns you love are the wrong clowns. They are idiotic when they should be sacred. All indigenous cultures had sacred clowns that uplifted our lives and brought us out of the shit haze of the mechanical mind. The clowns people know now just do stupid shit and keep the blinders on us all never teaching us that life has it’s sacred sublime moments, peak moments when we know why we are alive and why we want to continue to do this. Modern clowns are infantile and one dimensional like most American people, art and culture”

    She’d then reply, “No clowns are fun” and I’d bust out laughing but I would continue on my rant. Now that I really think about it Hollie was a Sacred Clown who used the cliché trappings of clown culture kitch and sideshow and porn to show us how to live life to the fullest and not take everything so seriously. She showed me that all life is sacred but spend the most time with the most sacred. Never forget too always HAVE FUN and to laugh at it all. Something I need to learn in this life so that I could grow.

    I love you Hollie Tia Kidell Stevens My SACRED CLOWN you are with me. I AM YOU. You will always live forever in my life. You are life.

    Steven Johnson Leyba

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