According to most bio’s on the internet, Kandi was born as Linda Jean Smith in Shawnee Mission, Kansas in either 1956 or 1957. It would appear that it was mostly based on writings of a man San Francisco in the late 90’s who claimed to be involved with Kandi before and during her porn career. His writings can be read here. According to the book Tales of Times Square, she was from Georgia.
After her death others claiming on the internet to know her and they went to school with her, claimed she was born Kandie Barbour in Alabama and during her junior high School years lived in Dothan, Alabama. Court records also indicated this info to be correct and that she was born February 15, 1959.
UPDATE January 24, 2014:
Kandi was born Kandie Lou Dotson in Russellville, Alabama on February 15, 1959 to Albert Edens Dotson (Born January 06, 1918 – Died May 18, 1962) and Annie Louise McKinney (Born January 07, 1923 – Died February 24, 1978). Kandi’s mother remarried a Harold Barbour later in 1962. He was listed as being deceased on Kandi’s mothers death certificate. Kandi Apparently used her stepfathers surname Barbour following her mothers marriage to him and chose to use it for her career in porn. Sometime later she went back to using her birth surname Dotson.
Here is the text written by Kandi’s classmates as well as a yearbook photo.
Kandi Barbour in 1973, age 14.
“I personally knew Kandie and was a classmate of hers. Kandie Barbour lived in Dothan, Alabama and was a student at Girard Junior High School from 1972-1974 (now known as Girard Middle School). I don’t know where she was born or where she went after she left Dothan. I do know that she was in the7th and 8th grades during the 72-73 and 73-74 school years. She was a very sweet and quiet girl. She did not appear to be any older than the other girls in her grade, so I doubt she was as old as is commonly believed. She was likely born in 1959-60. This is her picture from the 1973-74 Big Reb, which is the Girard Junior High School yearbook. I scanned it myself. Her name is listed as “Kandie Barbour.” I have been unable to find out anything about her parents other than the fact that they were much older and that Kandie had what was described as a “bad home life.”
“I grew up with Kandi. She went by the name Kandi Barbour all through Jr. High and High School. I don’t know where she was acutally born, but she grew up in Dothan, Alabama. She lived down the street from me with her alcoholic father. There was never a mother as long as I knew her. I think she was actually born in 1959 and would have graduated HS in 1978 but she dropped out when she was about 16 or 17 and left Dothan. I never knew about her life afterwards until many years later. RIP Kandi, I will always have fond memories of playing tennis and swimming with you at the Azalea Tennis and swimming club.”
While the two accounts of Kandi’s early life were similar, there were some differences. Perhaps Kandi’s month passed away or could’ve left if Kandi’s father was indeed an alcoholic. Could have Kandi after leaving Dothan, Alabama ended up in Shawnee Mission, Kansas and used the alias Linda Jean Smith (and apparently Linda Gene Smith as well)? (Update June 25, 2016) From what I’ve gathered, Kandi went to live with her mother in Atlanta after her stepfather died. She was still living in Atlanta at the time of her mothers death in 1978.
It would seem Kandi began posing nude for men’s magazines in 1978, at age 19. She began appearing in many publications, including Swank Magazine starting in early 1979. She was allegedly discovered by photographer Diana Hardy, who was credited as a photographer in some of her earliest shoots. Soon after she would also begin doing hardcore photoshoots, movies and loops. She did most of her work in California, but at one point lived and danced in New York as well. More info about her movie work can be found at the IMDb and IAFD.
From those who knew her in the porn industry, she was described as a sweet, well-meaning girl, but had deep insecurities about herself, despite her beautiful looks, and found flaws in her appearance. Others suspected she had mental illness issues and possibly issues with alcohol and drugs. By the mid 80’s, she had largely moved to Hawaii to dance and did so into the 90’s dancing a Club Hubba Hubba in Honolulu (read more here and here. It’s also believed she had a least one son (possibly a second one as well, it’s unclear). She would also sporadically feature dance at clubs across the united states during the mid to late 80s, including stints in NY and PA. She moved back to San Francisco in 1996 and lived there until her death 16 years later. More about her later years will be the subject of the next entry of this blog.
UPDATE November 30, 2014 Investigators spent quite a bit of time trying to locate the supposed son of Kandi’s, but could find no information of his existence.
If anyone knew Kandi and has further information or corrections, please feel free to comment.