Marie Louise Hartman was born in Berkeley, California, U.S.A. on March 11, 1959  to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. She had an older sister and two older brothers. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1977 she graduated from Berkeley High School. In 1985 she graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State University's School of Nursing. In the same year she obtained the nurse licensure but she never practiced the profession because she wasn't psychologically ready for the death of the patients. She was a registered nurse until her license expired in 1986.
In 1976 Hartman was inspired by American pornographic film The autobiography of a flea. In 1979 during her second year of study at San Francisco State University's School of Nursing Hartman started erotic dancing at Sutter Cinema and Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco. She entered the sex industry in order to exercise her right to sexuality. She intended to explore her exhibitionism in a safe environment and have sex with women without interpersonal relationships. In 1984 Hartman started pornographic acting under the stage name of Nina Hartley after she was offered  to act in the American pornographic film "Educating Nina" directed by American pornographic film actress Juliet Anderson. She chose the first name Nina because it was easy for the Japanese tourists to pronounce and the last name Hartley because it was close to her own real name and sounded like a real last name. In 1997 Hartman acted in the American non pornographic drama film "Boogie Nights" in which she played a serially unfaithful wife. In 1996 Hartman acted in the Canadian film “Bubbles Galore” in which she played a pornographic film actress and producer named Bubbles Galore. In the same year she appared in the music video for the rap song “How do u want it” by American rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur. In 2001 the American pornographic actor Lexington Steele stated that the greatest sexual experience of his life was with Nina Hartley. In 2006 she co-authored with I. S. Levine the essay book “Nina Hartley's guide to total sex”. In 2008 Hartman acted in the American satirical pornographic film Who's Nailin' Paylin? in which she played the 2008 United States presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. In 2012 she was interviewed on the sex industry in the American documentary film After porn ends. In 2016 she was interviewed on masturbation in the American documentary film Sticky: a (self) love story.
Hartman’s sexual orientation is bisexual. She is modern pagan and buddhist. She was in a polyfidelious relationship with a man and a woman from 1981 to 2000. She legally married the man in 1986 and divorced him in 2003. After the divorce she married the American BDSM pornographic film director and long-time friend Ernest Greene. She lives in Los Angeles with him in a house equipped with a BDSM dungeon.
- Baby Doll Lesbian Orgies (2004)
- Barnyard Babes (2005) (V)
- Belladonna: Fetish Fanatic (2005)
- Bomb Ass White Booty 2 (2005)
- Diary of a MILF 9 (2008)
- Guide to Porn Stars Sex Secrets (2006)
- Nina, Shayla and Kylie's Barcelona Home Video (1997)
- Who's Nailin' Paylin?
Nina on the cover of the movie Sweatin' to the Oldies
- AVN Hall of Fame
- XRCO Hall of Fame
- Urban X Hall of Fame
- 2009: AVN Award – Best Non-Sex Performance – Not Bewitched XXX
- 2005: AVN Award – Best Specialty Release, Spanking – Nina Hartley's Guide to Spanking
- 2005: AVN Award – Best Specialty Release, BDSM – Nina Hartley's Private Sessions 13
- 1991: AVN Award – Best Supporting Actress, Video – The Last X-Rated Movie
- 1989: AVN Award – Best Supporting Actress, Film – Portrait of a Affair
- 1987: AVN Award – Best Actress, Video – Debbie Duz Dishes
- After porn ends
- Juliet Anderson
- Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre
- Sticky: a (self) love story
- The autobiography of a flea
- Nina Hartley’s profile in the Internet Movie Database
- Hartley’s profile in the Internet Adult Film Database
- Nina Hartley’s profile in the Adult Film Database
- About Nina!, nina.com Nina Hartley official website, http://www.nina.com/ninahartleybio.php
- Nina Hartley, Internet Adult Film Database, Peter Van Aarle, http://www.iafd.com/person.rme/perfid=hartley/gender=f/nina-hartley.htm
- The Young Turks, Legendary pornstar Nina Hartley, video, TYT Network, January 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7zdMt40NzI
- Christina Doxstader, Interview with Nina Hartley, AIPdaily, 2008. http://aipdaily.com/interview-with-nina-hartley/
- Ask Nina Hartley Anything: Sex, Politics and Sexual Politics. Plus Porn!, subreddit, Reddit, Reddit Inc., August 27 2015. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3inn2o/ask_nina_hartley_anything_sex_politics_and_sexual
- Sheldon Ranz, Interview: Nina Hartley, Shmate: A journal of progressive jewish thought, Shmate, Spring 1989.
- Nina Hartley biography, Dodoodad, 2017, https://dodoodad.com/nina-hartley-biography
- Naked News, Eila Adams in The Schmooze, video, Naked News, Naked Broadcasting Network, November 22 2015, https://www.nakednews.com/eila-adams-the-schmooze-nina-hartley-w50666
- Kelly Strickland, Nina Hartley reflects on career in porn, The Daily Californian, Independent Berkeley Students Publishing Company, February 11 2010, http://archive.dailycal.org/article.php?id=108210
- Cheryl Wischhover, Why I'm still doing porn in my late 50s, Cosmopolitan online edition, Hearst Communications, May 19 2015, http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a40596/nina-hartley-porn-late-50s/.
- Amanda Lewis, L.A.'s BDSM power couple, and their sex dungeon, LA Weekly online edition, LA Weekly, November 13 2014, http://www.laweekly.com/arts/las-bdsm-power-couple-and-their-sex-dungeon-5207357.
- Nina Hartley, AVN, AVN Media Network, 2017, https://avn.com/porn-stars/nina-hartley-250651.html.
- Educating Nina Harley, Juliet Anderson, Fuck Cuts Productions / Domain Girls, 1984.
- Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson, New Line Cinema / Lawrence Gordon Productions / Ghoulardi Film Company, 1997.
- Bubbles Galore, Cynthia Roberts, Remo Girlato / Greg Klymkiw, 1996.
- How do you want it, in Internet Music Video Database, https://imvdb.com/video/2pac/how-do-you-want-it.
- Roger T. Pipe, Porn star interviews - Lexington Steele, Excalibur Films, 2001, http://excaliburfilms.com/interviews/sub/lexington_steele.htm
- Nina Hartley, Nina Hartley's guide to total sex, Avery Publishing, 2006.
- Who's nailin paylin?, Jerome Tanner, Hustler Video, 2008.
- After porn ends, Bryce Wagoner, Christy Taylor Barnes, 2012.
- Sticky: a (self) love story, Nicholas Tana, Nicholas Tana, 2016.