Tura Satana Jurman 1939?-2011

A celebrity who lived in Reno but was unknown to most of her fellow residents died on Feb. 4 at age 72 (her birth year is in dispute).

Tura Satana’s Japanese/Filipino/Cheyenne/Scotch Irish looks and her buxom frame made her childhood difficult. She was reportedly gang raped at age 9. “I wore a 36 D bra when I was 13,” she once told the Chicago Sun Times. Her looks also caught the attention of photographers and movie makers. Her film career began in a Jack Lemmon movie, Irma La Douce, and she appeared in serious TV series like Burke’s Law. But her career veered toward the exploitive with her breakthrough film (to the extent that she could be said to have had one)—Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a benchmark in exploitation flicks. Thereafter, her roles, which featured a stern, in-charge persona, were of the Mark of the Astro-Zombies variety. The Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com, credits her with 10 movies. (In August 2008 there were published reports that Quentin Tarantino was planning a remake of Faster, Pussycat! with Britney Spears in the Satana role.)

After her death, the New York Times noted, “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.”

Satana was married for 19 years to Los Angeles police officer Endel Jurman. They eventually moved to Reno, and she was widowed in 2000. In Reno, according to labor activist Andrew Barbano, she “was a union Reno Hilton security guard and helped win the long fight against Hilton.”

In Reno, she lived quietly, not particularly seeking publicity, but gave occasional interviews and appeared at fan conventions.