Good Bye Tura Satana:
A Memorial To One Of The Greatest
Goddesses Of The Grindhouse Era
On February 4th, 2011, the world got alittle less awesome, for you see, the great Tura Satana passed away. Tura might not jump to mind right away for most, but to those of us in Grindhouse know her well. Tura Satana was, for those who aren't aware, the star of such films as "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" and "Astro-Zombie" and to fans of Rob Zombie's films, she was Varla in "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto". Tura was not really in many films, less then 15 total, but like my dear friend Maila Nurmi, it wasn't the amount of films you were in, it was the iconic presence you brought to the few films you were in.
I mention Tura Satana being alot like Maila Nurmi, and in an eerie sense she was, where Maila had a short but memorable career followed by life in the everyday world, which near the end embracing the cult fandom that deems them a goddess of film and culture. Serious, its weird, where Maila dated and almost married James Dean, Tura Satana dated Elvis Presley for along while and turned down his offer of marriage. Tura worked before acting as a Burlesque dancer, she had many cameos and short appearances in films as a dancer, as well as having a popular burlesque style show she did in Hollywood, gaining her, among other bits of acclaim, a mention by William Hanna (of Hanna-Barbara Cartoons) as his favorite "unclothed dancer of all time" where he wrote that her figure and facial features made her "the ultimate woman, who is well aware of how to use her body.", even while she was acting in films, Tura continued her dancing, claiming it was her real first love. Tura's acting career was tragically cut short though, while working on The Doll Squad in 1973, Tura was shot by a former, jealous, mentally unstable lover who had become obsessed with her and refused to let her go.
After that shot, Tura believed her acting career over. She still danced for awhile, but also took a job as a nurse at a hospital, which she kept for many years, she then would spend many years working as a dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department, where she she worked until 1981, when a car accident damaged her back and caused her to be in and out of hospitals for 2 years having two major surgeries and 15 minor ones, she also met her late husband while working there, they were married until her husband's death in 2000. It wasn't until around 2004 or so, that Tura realized, and then embraced the fact that film lovers on the internet were still raving about her and her small body of work, up until the day she died of heart failure last week, Tura spent alot of her time at grindhouse film festivals, and conventions like ComiCon and such where you find many a former star signing and interacting with the fans. Tura was said to state many times that once she was aware of her fanbase, she realized how much she was loved and how much impact her work and legacy had on the world of film. "I never dreamed that being a high class stripper who acted because Russ Meyer liked my tits would have gained me so many fans, even all these years later. Its an amazing feeling." she would say.
Tura Satana died of heart failure on Febuary 4th, in Reno Nevada, she was 72, and will be very missed... And now, as I tend to do, I'd like to give you all afew images of Tura in her hayday, as a tribute to a great person whom I will not soon forget... Whereever you end up Tura, be it heaven or hell, I know you'll be kicking ass and taking names. Rest in peace.
gonna miss ya darlin...