She was the quintessential Russ Meyers woman – a curvy figure with a tough-as-nails attitude. Tura Satana, the star of exploitation film director Meyers’ cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, has died yesterday in Reno Nevada. Satana’s manager stated that the actress’ age as 72, though some sources list her year of birth as 1935.
In Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Satana played the leader of a gang of go-go dancers who kidnap a young couple and after they kill the boyfriend force the girl to accompany them on their continuing crime spree.
Satana got her instincts for show business and her exotic looks from her parent’s unique mixed heritage. Her mother was a circus performer of American Indian (Cheyenne) and Scots-Irish background while her father was a silent movie actor of Japanese and Filipino descent. As a teenager, she traveled to LA to try her hand first as a blues singer then as a model. When modeling for Harold Lloyd, who had developed a passion for photography in his later years, the former silent film star advised her to give acting a try.
Following her first film roles as a prostitute in the 1963 Jack Lemmon comedy Irma La Douce, Satana found herself appearing as a dancer in such movies as Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963) with Dean Martin and Elizabeth Montgomery and the James Coburn spy-spoof Our Man Flint (1966). After Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Satana headlined the exploitation films The Astro-Zombies (1968) and The Doll Squad (1973).
After starring in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Satana worked mainly with cult film director Ted V. Mikels in such films as The Astro-Zombies (1968), The Doll Squad (1974) and Mark of the Astro-Zombies (2002). She has also appeared as herself in various documentaries and TV shows including The Incredibly Strange Film Show (1988), A & E’s documentary called “Cleavage”(2003),Strip de velours (2005) and Sugar Boxx (2007) which is currently in post production and co-stars fellow Russ Meyer alumna Kitten Natividad.