The Norman Transcript

Community News Network

November 13, 2012

Sex surrogate's life becomes a movie

SALEM, Mass. — Like a lot of little girls who went to Catholic schools in the 1950s, Cheryl Cohen Greene had fleeting thoughts of becoming a nun.

“I loved the habit,” she said with a laugh.

That possible career path will surprise anyone who sees “The Sessions,” a recently released movie based on a true story about a paralyzed man in an iron lung who wants to lose his virginity and hires a sex surrogate.

Helen Hunt plays the sex surrogate — Cheryl Cohen Greene.

“I thought she did a beautiful job,” said Cohen Greene, 68, the former Cheryl Theriault of Salem.

Cohen Greene, who returns to Salem regularly, was raised in a French Catholic family.

Her life has been a whirlwind since the movie debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won two awards. It went into limited release last month and is currently playing in movie theaters. There is Oscar buzz around both Hunt and actor John Hawkes, who plays Mark O’Brien, the writer and poet who contracted polio as a child and spent much of his life in an iron lung.

O’Brien, who died in 1999, wrote an article about his experience with Cohen Greene. “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate” appeared in The Sun, a literary magazine, in 1990. He also was the subject of a documentary, “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien,” which won an Academy Award in 1997.

Since “The Sessions” made its film festival debut earlier this year, Cohen Greene has been to a movie premiere in Los Angeles, taken part in a question-and-answer session with film critic Jeffrey Lyons, spoken at Yale University, had a sit-down with Playboy magazine, and dined with celebrities in New York City.

“Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) and I had our picture taken together,” she said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo