Tura Satana as Varla in Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! (1965)
Iconic cult actress and femme fatale Tura Satana passed away last week, at the age of 72. The death was announced by her longtime manager, Siouxzan Perry, who said the cause of death was believed to be heart failure.
Born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaido, Japan, to a father of Japanese and Filipino descent and a mother who was Cheyenne Indian and Scots-Irish, Ms. Satana had been a gang member, martial artist, burlesque dancer, actress, stunt woman, nurse, police radio operator, bodyguard, wife and mother – but it was her breakout role as the “brazenly violent but unapologetically feminine” Varla in Russ Meyer’s 1965 exploitative girl gang saga Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! that earned her an enduring cult following.
Tura Satana, by Molly Crabapple (2008)
Renowned film critic Richard Corliss called her performance “…the most honest, maybe the one honest portrayal in the Meyer canon and certainly the scariest.”
“A woman, like my character, was able to show the male species that we’re not helpless and not entirely dependent on them,” Satana said of Varla, in 2008. “People picked up on the fact that women could be gorgeous and sexy and still kick ass.”