Anneka Di Lorenzo: What Happened to Her? How Did She Die?

Anneka Di Lorenzo found immense success working as a model in Penthouse Magazine in the 1970s, hoping to make it in the Hollywood industry. After landing a controversial part in the movie ‘Caligula,’ her life turned upside down as the dark side of the industry took a toll on her. Decades later, in 2011, when her lifeless body was found on the shore of California, an investigation was launched that eventually uncovered some disturbing truths about her life. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Lethally Blonde: Hollywood Thriller’ takes the viewers on a journey of Anneka’s life, which was filled with highs and lows.

Former Penthouse Model Anneka Di Lorenzo Was Found Dead on a San Diego County Beach

Leroy Paul Thoreson and Patricia Jane (Hull) Thoreson gave birth to Marjorie Lee Thoreson Vasta on September 6, 1952, in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to her parents, she shared the household with her three sisters—Barbara A. (Thoreson) Zezza, Susan Mary (Thoreson), and Jodi K. (Thoreson) Servin. With dreams of becoming a famous actress since childhood, she dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of 15 after her parents got divorced in the 1960s. To support her ambitions, Marjorie worked as a receptionist and a cocktail waitress. Meanwhile, she took on different aliases in her teens, including Priscilla Shutters, under which she got in trouble with the law as she received sentences for charges like auto theft, possession of a tear-gas gun, and passing false checks.

Image Credit: Find a Grave

When she was just 17 years old, Marjorie lied about her age and began nude modeling, featuring in Pix under the name Connie Stodtman. While taking acting classes, she also participated in several beauty contests under the alias Susan and, eventually, Anneka Di Lorenzo. In 1973, she reportedly wrote a letter to Penthouse Magazine and sent some of her photos in the hopes of getting the attention of Bob Guccione, the founder and publisher of Penthouse Magazine. Soon, she signed a contract with the adult magazine and even became the Penthouse Pet of the Month in the September 1973 issue of Penthouse. She made waves in the industry and even earned the title of Penthouse Pet of the Year in 1975. By that time, she had been staying at Bob’s mansion and started relying on drugs and alcohol.

In 1976, Bob gave her the role of Messalina in the movie ‘Caligula,’ in which Anneka was made to perform several intimate scenes. Instead of serving as her break in the industry, her role in the film made it difficult for her to find work in mainstream movies, as the Italian film was heavily criticized upon its release in 1979. The following year, she was fired after a fallout with Bob. In order to get back to her, he published photos from her intimate scenes in ‘Caligula’ in the June 1980 edition of Penthouse. In 1981, she filed a lawsuit against Bob for sexual harassment, alleging that he forced her to have sex with his business associates. After nine long years, she won the lawsuit and was granted $4 million in damages, but she lost it when Bob won his appeal by painting a negative picture of her in the court.

After the entire debacle, Anneka decided to separate herself from the spotlight and lead a normal life. She started taking regular jobs and trained as a yoga instructor. In 2000, she even opened a short-lived branch of The Forever Young Experience Inc. under the name Anneka Thoreson with a guy named Philip Felice Vasta. On June 21, 2001, she tied the knot with Philip, and together, they brought Jessica Marie Thoreson into the world. However, her marriage, as well as her business ventures, failed. By 2010, she had gotten divorced and was dealing with mental health issues, like anxiety and paranoia, while living with her sister Susan Thoreson in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles.

Working as a nursing assistant at the time, on January 4, 2011, two joggers came across the naked and lifeless body of the 58-year-old former model on the shore in Camp Pendleton, California. When the police arrived at the scene of the crime, they discovered that she had abrasions and contusions across her body, superficial lacerations to both her wrists, and a severe injury to her left chest. As the investigators dived deeper, they found her vehicle parked a mile away from where her body was discovered. Upon inspection, they found several suspicious items, including a steak knife with bloodstains and a bag containing a bloody shirt and a sports bra. A couple of days later, her autopsy results indicated that she had a fractured cervical vertebrae and a fractured thoracic vertebrae.

Moreover, the medical examiners found hyperinflation in Anneka’s lungs with fluid, consisting of sand deep in her airways and sinuses, all of which suggested that she had died by drowning. There were also a few shallow cuts on her wrists and two stab wounds on her chest, none of which were fatal enough to kill her. Upon interviewing Anneka’s loved ones, the investigators learned that she reportedly had Bipolar Disorder, as per her medical reports from September 2010. The former Penthouse model allegedly left Los Angeles in her 2001 Mazda 626 sedan in the early hours of January 2, 2011. Reports suggested that she stayed at Motel 6 on Raintree Drive but never checked out. Her last phone call was made from the I-5 Vista parking area. Then, on January 4, 2011, her body was found on the beach near Camp Pendleton.

The Manner of Anneka Di Lorenzo’s Death Remains a Mystery

After digging deep into the death of Anneka Di Lorenzo for nine months, the investigators were still unable to figure out how Anneka Di Lorenzo got from Vista Point to the beach. With no concrete evidence of how she ended up drowning on a San Diego County beach with several injuries to her neck and back, the authorities asked the public if anyone remembered seeing her near Interstate 5, where her car was found abandoned. Even though they had declared it to be suicide, something that her family denied, they also doubted that she might have met someone on New Year’s Eve weekend that caused her death.

However, the detectives did not find any evidence of foul play. Given her rivalry with Bob Guccione, they even tried to link him to the case, only to find out that he had already died in 2010 from lung cancer at the age of 79. One of the naval investigators working on the case stated, “The main unanswered question that we have is how she got from her vehicle to the water. We know her life ended in the water, in some circumstance, we just don’t know how.” To this day, the manner in which she died remains unknown.

Read More: Maddi Kingsbury: What Happened to Her? How Did She Die?