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Farewell, Pussycat: Remembering Cult Movie Actress Haji

The iconic, reclusive Russ Meyer "vixen" died recently at age 67.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

September 6, 2013 - 10:00 am

Fastpukiki4
I’m ashamed to say I’m more than a month late with this sad story, but it wasn’t until I got an email from one of her old acquaintances that Russ Meyer “supervixen” Haji had died on August 9.

The 67-year-old starred in numerous cult films (Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks) but is best remembered as one of the femme fatales in Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which is widely considered the Citizen Kane of crap.

If you imagine that female trio as a kind of unfunny Marx Brothers who know martial arts, Haji’s “Rosie” is the girl gang’s “Chico,” a second banana tomato with dark, exotic looks, unplaceable “foreign” accent, and the least inclination to do bodily harm.

Like her sister in cinematic crime, Tura Satana, Haji had — or claimed to have had — a wild childhood:

I came visiting here with my family from another galaxy, and we landed in Quebec and Montreal. I never ate when I was a child. I lived off air.

Haji also claimed she’d dropped out of school at age five, and started stripping at fourteen.

About her most famous role, Haji recalled:

You just didn’t see women taking over and beating up men in those days. Russ did something no one else had the imagination to do. And he was smart to use three bodied-up women, so whether the picture’s good or not, you still sort of stare at it.

Haji wasn’t a fan of the spotlight, and only made rare appearances at fan “cons” in her later years.

According to my correspondent, Haji was quite happy living quietly in Malibu, on the “good side” of the Pacific Coast Highway, along the beach she loved.

She is survived by her daughter — and her many fans.

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(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).

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"If you imagine that female trio as a kind of unfunny Marx Brothers who know martial arts, Haji’s 'Rosie' is the girl gang’s 'Chico'...."

What a fun observation! Must rewatch and see if the anology holds up in other ways. (Varla as Groucho with cleveage? Billie as Zeppo? Or would the girl they kidnapped be more like Zeppo?)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Man, Tura Satana passed away about two years ago..and now Haji? RIP, ladies...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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