Tura Satana, the star of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! died Friday in Reno, NV at the age of 72. She was born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Japan and grew up in Manzanar relocation camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The family moved to a rough neighboorhood in Chicago where Tura was gang-raped at a young age. She formed her own girl gang to survive. At 15 she left Chicago for Los Angeles and became a cigarette girl at the Moulin Rouge on Hollywood Blvd. Over the next few years, she worked as a dancer, a TV actress, turned down a marriage proposal from Elvis Presley, and was cast by Billy Wilder for a significant role in the Shirley MacLaine film Irma La Douce. During filming, she auditioned for Russ Meyer and was cast as Varla in Pussycat! She made a few more movies after that, then retired from show business to raise her two daughters. She went to nursing school and had a second career in that field. As a nurse, she once was shot by a drug addicted patient and on another occasion, she was hit by a car. She spent two years in a hospital and was told she would never walk again. She proved the doctors wrong. She once told a reporter:
“The one thing you’ve got to remember is that you just never accept defeat. Remember to never let life get you down, because there is always something new to learn tomorrow. Life is to be lived, and lived well.”
Here she is in her iconic role:
She is survived by two daughters and two sisters.