Cult Actress Tura Satana Dies at 72

Feb 07, 2011

Angry Asian Man pays tribute to Tura Satana, aka Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi, a multiracial actress "best known for kicking ass and rocking some gravity-defying cleavage in director Russ Meyer’s 1965 cult exploitation classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" The star died last week in Reno, Nevada at the age of 72.

If you’re not familiar with Satana’s work, then you’ve probably heard of director Quentin Tarintino’s popular "Kill Bill" series, which was inspired by Satana’s work back in the ’60s. The New York Times has more:

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 spent part of her childhood in the Manzanar internment camp near Independence, Calif., before her family settled in Chicago. Her Asian background and looks and the fact that she developed early led to frequent harassment and assaults, and she led an itinerant lifestyle, working as an exotic dancer and nude model. She even posed for erotic photographs taken by Harold Lloyd, the former silent comedian, who suggested she pursue an acting career.

…Ms. Satana’s portrayal of Varla as a brazenly violent but unapologetically feminine woman who frequently upbraids the men who dare to ogle her — when a gas-station attendant tells her he believes in "seeing America first," Varla replies, "You won’t find it down there, Columbus!" — earned her a cult following that endured long after the drive-in era. In later decades, the influence of Ms. Satana’s no-nonsense attitude could be seen in pop-cultural artifacts ranging from "Xena, Warrior Princess" to Quentin Tarantino’s "Kill Bill" movies.