Tura Satana, American actress, Died at 73

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Dead, Tura Satana on February 4, 2011 at the age of 73, she was an American actress and former exotic dancer.

Born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaidō, Japan on July 10, 1938, her father was a silent movie actor of Japanese and Filipino descent, and her mother was a circus performer of American Indian (Cheyenne) and Scots-Irish background.

After the end of World War II and a stint in the Manzanar internment camp in Lone Pine, California, she and her family moved to Chicago.

Satana moved to Los Angeles by the age of 15, using fake identification to hide the fact she was a minor, began burlesque dancing.

She was hired to perform at the Trocadero nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and became a photographic model for, among others, silent screen comic Harold Lloyd, whose photos of her appear in Harold Lloyd’s Hollywood Nudes in 3-D.

Satana dated Elvis Presley but turned down his marriage proposal, although she did keep the ring. Satana married a retired Los Angeles police officer in 1981, and remained married until her husband died in October 2000.

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.

Tura became soon after an exotic dancer in Los Angeles.

The single thought of enjoying the sight of a very young and big-breasted Oriental hoochie-cooching on stage seemed to dissipate the patriotic elan of many American males: she turned out to be a real success.

In that time, dancers travelled from city to city, to propose a more elaborate production than the ones seen in these more sordid times (no lap dances or Champagne Room nonsense).

It’s a complete tragedy that no existing film footage of Tura performing her craft with real passion exists.

Here are some famous names that Tura worked with in those years: Rose Le Rose, Maxine Martin the Skyscraper Girl, Tempest Storm, Candy Barr and Stunning Smith the Purple Lady.

She later found employment in a hospital, a position she kept for four years. She had studied nursing at Firmin Desloge Hospital. She was then briefly employed as a dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1981, her back was broken in a car accident. She spent the next two years in and out of hospitals, having two major operations and approximately fifteen others.

Among the other politically-charged bands emerging from that same period (System of a Down, Korn, Rage Against the Machine), Tura Satana’s 1996 debut “All is Not Well” placed the one-of-a-kind Miss B. on the musical map; unlike other albums of that period, this CD features Tairrie rapping and decrying issues which were far too disturbing to be discussed: the lyrics furiously tackle the horrifying realities of rape (Victim), botched abortions (Put Your Head Out), child abuse (Break) and spousal battery (Cycle of Violence).

With loud and hammering guitars accompanying her, Tairrie used this CD as her first attempt to purge the tortured memories of her own past; it’s a long, personal battle that would continue for the next decade, all the way up to My Ruin’s “Prayer Under Pressure” record.

Although “All is Not Well” isn’t the best album released during Tairrie’s career, it certainly isn’t the worst either, as it foreshadows what was to come in the near future.

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