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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Cult film-maker Russ Meyer dies
Russ Meyer
Russ Meyer's many films include Vixen and Heavenly Bodies
Adult film-maker Russ Meyer, one of the pioneers of the porn movie industry, has died in Los Angeles aged 82.

Meyer - nicknamed King Leer - produced, directed, wrote, edited and shot over 20 films, including the 1965 cult hit Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

His trademarks were violence and busty women, though by modern standards his films featured little graphic sex.

His biggest success was 1970's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which Meyer co-wrote with film critic Roger Ebert.

Born in Oakland, California in March 1922, Russell Albion Meyer got his start in film when his mother, a nurse, gave him an 8mm camera.

During World War II he made training films with the Army Signal Corps and shot newsreels in France and Germany.

He then turned his hand to photography, shooting some of the earliest Playboy centrefolds.

He made his film debut in 1959 with The Immoral Mr Teas, one of the first "nudies" - soft-core sex films - to turn a profit.

He sealed his reputation with low-budget, black-and-white titles such as Lorna, Mudhoney and Motor Psycho.


However, his fame now chiefly rests on Faster, Pussycat!, in which three go-go dancers embark upon a vengeful murder spree.

A favourite of Quentin Tarantino and John Waters, the film remains popular on the arthouse circuit.

Quentin Tarantino
Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino is a fan of Meyer's work
Meyer refused to apologise for his films, which made him rich and are now discussed in American college courses.

"I've always played well at the Ivy League," he said. "I have never encountered a berating woman."

With the rise of the "skin flick", however, his work fell out of favour, and he spent much of his later years working on his autobiography.

Married three times - his second wife was actress Edy Williams - Meyer had no children.

His spokeswoman said he had suffered from dementia and died on Saturday of complications from pneumonia at his Hollywood home.

When a cult film's not a cult film
17 Oct 03  |  Entertainment


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