Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tura Satana Passes On

Tura Satana, who achieved cult stardom with Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! on 4 February 2011 at the age of 75.

She was born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi on 10 January 1935 in Hokkaido, Japan. Her father was of Japanese and Filipino descent, while her mother was of Cheyenne, Scottish, and Irish descent. The family moved to the United States, where young Tura would be interred at Manzanar during World War II. Afterwards the family moved to Chicago. As a young woman she worked as a model and an exotic dancer. When comedian Harold Lloyd took erotic photographs of her, he suggested that she should go into acting.

Miss Satana would make her movie debut with a small role in Billy Wilder's Irma La Douce (1963). She would also appear in a bit part in the film Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed (1964). She guest starred on the series Burke's Law and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It was in 1965 that she appeared as Varla in the film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, directed by Russ Meyer. The film would achieve cult status, as would Tura Satana. It remains her most famous role.

She would go onto guest star on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. She appeared in the films Our Man Flint (1965), The Astro-Zombies (1968),The Doll Squad (1973), Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2002), Sugar Boxx (2009), The Haunted World of Super Beasto (2009), and Astro-Zombies M3-Cloned (2010).

Zura Satana did not have an extensive filmography and her roles would be extremely limited as a result, but she was very good at what she did. Trained in several martial arts, Miss Satana could give the impression of being very deadly and very efficient, but at the same time still remain feminine. Given that female characters of that sort were very rare at that time (as of 1965 there was Mrs. Gale on The Avengers--Emma Peel would make her debut on The Avengers and Honey West would make her debut on her self titled show later in the year), it is little wonder she made such an impression.

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