Numerous people close to Penthouse Pet turned B-Movie Queen Julie Strain are reporting that died today after a nearly two-year battle with dementia. She was 58.
Born in Concord, California, Julie Strain thought of herself as “a painfully thin ugly duckling in high school.” By the age of 13, she was already 6′ tall. She credits an early boyfriend who was a bodybuilder for helping her fill out her form.
While in her twenties, she was thrown from a horse and landed on her head. The injury gave Strain retrograde amnesia and the start of cognitive difficulties that would eventually take her life.
After two years of recovery, Strain decide to travel. She made it out to Las Vegas where she was discovered at a 1989 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Robert Duran fight by agent John Rockwell and brought to Los Angeles.
In L.A., she did one pictorial for Playboy, who later decided to not make her a Playmate. Penthouse photographer Suze Randall convinced her to do one for Penthouse instead. Through Penthouse, she became the Penthouse Pet in the magazines June 1991 issue and became Pet of the Year in 1993.
By then, her film career was already underway.She made her motion picture debut in a small role 1990’s Leslie Nielsen vehicle, Repossessed. And while she would have cameo, extra or walk-on roles on A-list films such as Out For Justice, Double Impact, Bugsy, The Doors, The Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Beverly Hills Cop III, her forte was the B-movie. Films with titles like Wasteland Justice, Fit to Kill, Bikini Hotel, The Rowdy Girls, and Sorceress that by-passed the theaters and went directly to the shelves in the back of the video stores. Her output was so notable and in such a volume that Premiere named her the “Queen of the B-Movie.”
In December of 1994, Strain met Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman at a signing at Golden Apple comics in L.A. Soon after, the pair were married. Eastman was then owner of Heavy Metal magazine. Strain would soon appear in the pages and the occasional cover of the series, being a model for artists such as Simon Bisley, Milo Manara, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell and Olivia De Berardinis.
Strain would also be front and center in Heavy Metal‘s forays into other media. She voiced one of the main characters in the animated film Heavy Metal 2000 and the main character in the Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 video game. Heavy Metal also published her autobiography, Six Foot One and Worth the Climb in 1997. Strain and Eastman would divorce in 1997.
News of Strain’s deteriorating health was announced on her Facebook page on July 12, 2018 by her boyfriend, Dave:
Julie says hello and sends everyone her love. I am sorry to report that Julie is currently in poor health due to a…
Dave delivered periodic updates throughout the year until he came to one in November where the situation became grave:
Hello Julie Stain fans and friends,Julie’s care at home has become more intensive due to complications of dementia,…
Today’s death announcement come almost a year to the day after a false reports of her death circulated on the Internet, causing many of Strain’s fans to question today’s news. However, her passing today has come from a more reliable source, her friend de Berardinis, who relayed her news of peaceful passing from boyfriend Dave Gram: