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French’s parents discovered how she made a living in 1982, when she became the first hooker ever to appear on Donahue without a disguise. “I was absolutely terrified,” she recalls. “It was one hell of a way for your parents to find out you were a hooker. On the other hand, it was one hell of a way for your parents to find out you were a hooker. I was on Donahue. I wasn’t exactly calling from jail.” In 1988, French penned a titillating tell-all, Working: My Life as a Prostitute. In it she revealed that Atlanta is a choice location for prostitutes because of the airport. There are a lot of layovers, she explained, literally. French was married to Atlanta criminal defense attorney Michael Hauptman for more than twenty years before they divorced. They met at a lecture she gave and cemented the bond when he helped defend her after she was busted for prostitution—while she was serving on the mayor’s task force on prostitution. These days, the self-described “retired whore” devotes her time to painting and drawing.
Film Career In 2005 French played a sleazy bar owner in Atlanta indie filmmaker Joe Christ’s black comedy That’s Just Wrong! The film’s narrator is a wise-cracking Boston terrier.
Agent Career French wrote an article for the October 1991 edition of Atlanta, “Confessions of a Talk-Show Pimp,” about her sideline of booking salacious guests for tabloid TV.
This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue