Model, actress and consummate poster girl Julie Strain has passed away after a long battle with dementia, multiple outlets are reporting. The death of the statuesque actress had mistakenly been reported around this time last year, but this time it’s been confirmed by friends and Strain’s partner. She was 58 years old.
Julie Strain was one of the most prolific and recognizable B-movie actresses of the 1990s and 2000s, moving into acting after receiving the notoriety of being chosen as Penthouse Pet of the Year in 1993. She seemed to relish the opportunity to play gun-toting bad guys in particular, and B-movie geeks know her well for her series of collaborations with “girls and guns” kingpin Andy Sidaris, which included starring roles in the films Enemy Gold, Fit to Kill, The Dallas Connection, Day of the Warrior and Return to Savage Beach. In fact, she apparently loved making those movies, saying the following in an interview in 1997:
“I am the chick that they call when they want a gun-toting amazon-bitch-Barbarella-merciless-bitch with a machine gun. Vampires, witches, sorceresses, double agents – that’s what I do and I like to headbutt people in fights and kick them and spit on them and bust them in the balls.”
Strain was also very much associated with fantasy comic book magazine Heavy Metal, where she was a frequent cover model, and eventually the wife of publisher (and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator) Kevin Eastman. Her image was that of the confident, assertive glamazon—at 6’1’’ plus heels she towered over many of her male co-stars. In fact, she essentially became the de facto face of Heavy Metal in 2000 when she contributed both the voice and likeness of protagonist Julie in the film Heavy Metal 2000 and its videogame spinoff Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2.
The B-movie world will certainly miss one of its most familiar faces. Here she is, as a character named “Jewel Panther,” scrapping with another combatant in Andy Sidaris’ Enemy Gold.