“Tura Thursday” is a regular series celebrating the legacy of the late, great Tura Satana, best known as Varla in the 1965 Russ Meyer cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. This series is curated by Tura’s longtime manager, friend, confidant and CEO of Tura Satana Productions, Siouxzan Perry.
This week we are featuring another excerpt from Tura’s soon to be published autobiography My Kick-Ass Life. This excerpt involves an encounter with the iconic actor Steve McQueen (BULLITT, THE GREAT ESCAPE) during Tura’s burlesque touring years:
From Pensacola, I was booked into the Old Towne Club in St. Louis, Mo, for Mr. Bud Elliott. When I first went to work for Bud, he was very cool. He knew I was a good dancer, but he wasn’t sure how much of a Prima Donna I would be. When it turned out I was not a Prima Donna at all, he loved to have me at his clubs.
I will say that once Bud saw the rapport I had with the audience, I became one of his major draws. I played them at least twice a year if not more and I would be there a month at a time. St. Louis became my second home because of the audiences there and the guys I met. I even met Steve McQueen there. He was staying in St. Louis for some stage show or movie premiere.
One night I got a call at the Gilded Cage and it was Steve, “hey Babe, I caught your show and thought that you were fantastic. Can you do some of the things you do on stage in bed?”
“Who the hell is this and what business is it of yours, what I can do in bed? But to answer your question, Yes, I can do anything in bed I can do on stage. So what’s it to you?”
“This is Steve Mc Queen and I would love to have you come up to my hotel room tonight. What would it cost me?”
“First of all, I am no prostitute! Secondly, I don’t care who you are; you don’t get me any night of the week. I have someone I am seeing and I don’t cheat, unlike you.”
Shortly after that conversation, he came down to the club and made the request in person. He didn’t look well then and I wasn’t about to lose what I had with Elvis (Tura was dating Elvis Presley at the time).
I told Steve the same thing I said on the phone. He said I didn’t know what I was missing. I told him that I wouldn’t miss anything. With every rejection; it seemed to turn him on even stronger. I finally had to go back into my dressing room and just shut him out. He finally left, but he left a message to come on up to his room if I changed my mind.
I thought to myself, “that will be a cold day in hell!”