Once the lover of Elvis and one of the biggest exploitation stars ever, Tura Santana created the kick ass, take-no-prisoners female persona that grindhouse movies still emulate today.


Although born in Japan to a Japanese and Filipino silent film actor and a Native American and Scottish circus performer mother, Tura Santana's family moved to the US shortly after WWII, taking residence in Chicago. Santana began to take up martial arts after being attacked at the age of 10 by a group of men. Over the next 15 years, Santana went 'Bill Kill' on her attackers, getting revenge on each personally. After a failed arranged marriage, Santana moved to LA and started burlesque dancing at the age of 15.


In the years following, Santana became quite the established dancer, performing around the country. She eventually caught the eye of Elvis whom allegedly purposed to Tura, but she declined. In 1965, Santana played Varla in Russ Meyer's