Dr. Cliff Interviews tura satana!

Tura Satana. If you're reading this, I probably don't need to explain who she is. Read this anyway. Ms. Satana, through only a couple of roles in B-movies in the sixties, became the Bettie Page of the decade. She was an exotic beauty with a staggering body, wrapped in tight clothes and too much make-up.

She also hinted at a simmering violence just under the surface, a volatile mean-streak. If Page was the ultimate kitten, Satana was a lioness in the wild. There was a sense that one could end up as a date or a victim! This, of course, added up to pure libido dynamite.

And then, she disappeared. And, like Bettie Page, she wasn't fully appreciated until relegated to obscurity. These days, every hipster and near-hipster in town knows the name and the face and the body. 'Astro-Zombie' and 'Faster Pussycat KILL KILL!' are probably fast movers on the cult shelf at your local video store.

I came across the legendary Ms. Satana at a Russ Meyer film festival, September 1999. She was a little older, sure, and not quite a buxom bean-pole any more, but that huge personality was still there and better than ever. After some email exchanges, she agreed to answer some questions for the inquisitive dr. cliff readers.

These days, Tura owns an engine-rebuilding facility in Long Beach, CA. Tura also has her own
website, and usually answers fan email personally.

Dr. Cliff: How come you stopped making films? Was it a conscious decision or did offers just stop coming in? I envision a lot of people looking back, wishing they had a film in the can with you in it.  
  TS: I stopped making films because there wasn't that much of a call for someone who was built like me and I was never one for the casting couch. I had my two daughters and I felt that I should spend more time with them and help them grow up to be young ladies. Besides, the offers that were coming in were not offering enough money for me to do. I would imagine that there are a few of those producers who were around then, that might wish that I had played in one or two of their films, but I'm not sure about that. At least I hope that there are!
Dr. Cliff: We think of Astro-Zombies and Faster Pussycat as cult legends today, but did the rest of Hollywood even notice them at the time?  
  TS: No, those films were not noticed when they first were released. At that time, they were just some low budget films that were a little risqué.
Dr. Cliff: I didn't know until I surfed your site that you dated Elvis. Tell us something personal (but not too embarrassing) about the King. Like if he sucked his teeth after he ate, or he tied his shoes a weird way, something like that. He's such an icon that we tend to forget that at some level he was just a guy.  
  TS:3. Elvis was all guy. He loved women and he used to like to come and watch my dance routine so that he could learn some of my moves. He used quite a few of my dance moves in his routines when he first started entertaining. He was a very lonely person in a room full of people.
Dr. Cliff: How much of Varla (in FPKK) was really just Tura Satana at the time? Your angry delivery of those over-the-top lines is pretty convincing. "ya ain't gonna find it down THERE, Columbus!" Did you ever just get disgusted with the guys who came to see you dance?  
  TS: A lot of Varla was really Tura Satana at that time. No, actually I really enjoyed my audiences in the theaters. I had quite a rapport with my audiences. I used to talk to them and crack jokes with them. Most of my audiences consisted of quite a few women, because I used to twirl tassels during my routine and was very adept at it. I even had a fan club of 150 women, who were in my class of tassel twirling whenever I was in town.
Dr. Cliff: From your time as a burlesque dancer- did you have a big production with costumes and boas, or were you more of a down-and-dirty grind artist? Were you a house dancer or did you travel?  
  TS: I had a very flashy costumes with very large headdresses and made like kimonos. I had props that I traveled with all over the world. My Buddha was quite large and very heavy, plus the knives and swords. I had what most people would term as a production number and my dance routine usually lasted anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes per show.
Dr. Cliff: Despite your career in burlesque, and your work with Russ Meyer, I've never seen a Tura Satana photo showing anything more than cleavage. Is there a long-lost trove of Tura nudie shots somewhere, or are you actually a little modest at heart?  
  TS: Actually you could probably find some photos of me that are semi nude, but I didn't pose totally nude, except for one person. That was Harold Lloyd, when he was still alive. He was actually the person who told me that I should get into films, because the camera loved my face and body. I don't think that he ever published his photos for anyone but himself. I actually am very modest. I was raised by a very strict father and mother.
Dr. Cliff: You have an unusual, exotic beauty. Where are your parents from? Do you have kids, and if so, did they get your looks?  
  TS: Thank you for the compliment. My father was from Japan and the Philippines, my mother was American Indian and Scots-Irish, with just a touch of German thrown in. Yes, I have two girls and they did get my looks and their fathers. My sisters and I, look very much alike.
Dr. Cliff: What's your favorite thing to eat?  
  TS: I love all oriental foods, I love fish, chicken, beef and all types of vegetables. I have always loved lots of vegetables, including lots of rice.
Dr. Cliff: Do those new Ford 'Triton' truck motors have the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the old 460's? I love that V-10 and I want to put it in a 1964 Lincoln. Wanna go for a ride?  
  TS: I'm not sure about the Ford Triton trucks, but I don't think so. I would have to take a look at one to be sure. If I am not mistaken, I think that it is Dodge that has the V-10 engine and I am not too sure on how well they work just yet. We haven't rebuilt any of those motors yet. Once we have rebuilt one of those then I can tell you more about them. No, I never really cared for Ford Products. I prefer GM or foreign motors. They seem to be built to last a little longer.
Dr. Cliff: Waxed or unwaxed floss?  
  TS: I like to use both, just as long as I can floss after meals. My youngest daughter is a dental assistant, that is looking for a job right now, but she also wants to go back to school to become a dental hygienist.
Dr. Cliff: You were pretty much invisible for several years. Do you get the occasional stalker-type fan, or have your fans been mostly respectful of your privacy?  
  TS: Basically because I didn't think that there was anyone who really cared where I was or what I did. I have had many of my fans who eventually found me, when I was working at the security profession that I was working. When they found me, they were surprised to see that I didn't look much different from when they had seen the film. Most of my fans have been respectful of my privacy. Also, I know that most of them are a little afraid of me, since most of them know that I do all my own stunts and that I am very proficient in Aikido.
Dr. Cliff: Tell us a little about the car accident and your recovery. Are you ready for some cameo work on TV? Is there someone I can call & threaten, to scare up some work? I want more Tura, and I'm not afraid to step on some toes.  
  TS: The auto accident occurred in 1981. I was rearended while I was stopped, by a 1 ton truck. The driver had no insurance, no valid drivers license. I spent approximately 2 years in and out of the hospital. I had 3 surgeries to bring the feeling back into my left leg and hands. I had to go to Canada twice to get chymopapain injections into the lower spine so that I could eventually walk again. At first, right after the accident, the DR's didn't think that I would ever walk again. I told them, "Just Watch Me!" Yes, I am ready for some cameo work on TV and in films. Right now, I am helping a guy write a film script for a film that is a definite Tura Satana role and it would be a lot like some of the things that I have done before. I would love to do this film, because it would be something that my fans would love.
Dr. Cliff: Do you maintain the website yourself, or does someone else do that for you?  
  TS: No, my website is maintained by a friend of mine. Her name is Leeza Gallentine. She does a great job too.
Dr. Cliff: When I get back to Los Angeles, October 2000, can I be your dentist?  
  TS: Yes, you can be my dentist as long as you don't hurt. I don't like to be hurt by my dentists, like I was when I was a child. I once had a nerve ground out of a tooth, without any anesthesia. I didn't like it and neither did the dentist when I got through!

Another ferocious woman interviewed! This could be habit-forming...
Visit Tura Satana at her website for more info-


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