Tura Jurman, 1938-2011

Here was this voluptuous woman with both a commanding and yet feminine mystic to her and I wasn’t sure what to make of her. I was working a loss-prevention for an antiques store at the Reno Hilton and her, a Security Officer for the hotel/casino.

Bold as day, she marched up to me and introduced herself as Tura Jurman. What I didn’t know at that moment was that she had gained cult status for her role in the 1965 movie ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’

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Hell, I hadn’t even heard of the movie — but the world damned well knew who Tura Santana was.

In ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’ Tura played Varla, the leader of a trio of thrill-seeking go-go dancers who kills a man with her bare hands. The trio then set out to rob a wealthy older man who lives on a desert ranch with his two sons.

Tura’s acting debut was a cameo as Suzette Wong, a Parisian prostitute in the film ‘Irma la Douce,’ starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Her other credits include the television shows ‘Burke’s Law’ and ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

Born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaidō, Japan, she moved with her parents to the U.S. before World War II, during which her family was interned at Manzanar Internment camp in Lone Pine, California. She was married John Satana, from which she took her stage name and even dated Elvis Presley for a time.

She was married for 19 years to retired Los Angeles police officer Endel Jurman. They eventually moved to Reno, and she was widowed in 2000.

Tura passed away from heart failure at the age of 72. She’s survived by her two daughters — Kalani Silverman and Jade Fall.

Though it has been years since I’ve seen her, I will miss her.

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