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Lori Williams
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Born:  March 23, 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Biography
Filmography
Gallery
"Lori Williams: Beyond Pussycat" DVD
YouTube Video



Biography:  She's just awesome!  Lori Williams worked pretty hard in the 1960s, then mostly retired from acting at the top of her game (outside of a few appearances in later decades).  The bedazzling blonde beauty became most popular for her role as one of the three women baddies in the cult film, "Faster Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill!" (1966).  That movie, which initially made Lori nervous, turned out to be the best thing for her and has an incredible following to this day.  As a matter of fact, a 1980s hair metal band, Faster Pussycat, took its name from this film.

    Lori started out as a member of choreographer David Winters' dance troupe.  She had a lot of uncredited, no dialogue parts in many beach and Elvis movies that became the bulk of her filmed work.  Her first credited role was that of a beach girl in "A Swingin' Summer" (1965).  Unlike most beach movies, this was actually a legitimate film with a realistic story.  Most notably, Lori had a spotlighted dance scene with Mike Blodgett who she recalls as "fun to dance with".

    The role that really propelled her to mainstream stardom was that of Billie in Russ Meyers' cult classic, "Faster Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill!" (1966).  Meyers was a pioneer in sexploitation movies.  This movie did not have nudity, and he was working on making it more of a legitimate film.  It's pretty kooky, but then, so was the subject matter.  Billie joins Rosie and leader Varla on a mad trip of self-destruction that raises plenty of havoc and ends in their own deaths.  When this movie first came out, it was loved by the drive-in crowds, but ignored by everyone else.  The strong, cult-like following that made it a hit on TV and home video didn't come until years later.

    This notable success was followed by a small role in the beach movie, "It's a Bikini World" (1967).  Williams then left the Hollywood scene to get married.

    Who would expect a Hollywood bombshell to come from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?  Probably not Lori Williams.  When she was in her teens she began taking classes at that city's Town Modeling Agency.  Modeling pretty much lends itself to acting.  Acting, coupled with her dancing talent, was used at the Pittsburgh Playhouse where she landed a small part in "Daddy Long Legs".  After high school graduation, Lori went to Los Angeles to visit a friend for the Summer.  During that time, she got a job working and modeling at the Wilhelmina Agency.

    She earned enough money modeling by day and being a girl-on-a-swing at a bar at night to take dance classes, again.  Her teacher was the renowned choreographer David Winters.  Winters was best known for playing A-rab, one of the Jets gang members, in the stage and film versions of "West Side Story".  He later focused primarily on behind-the-scenes work, choreographing many of the beach and Elvis Presley movies.  Many of the most famous dance sequences in Hollywood musical history are due to David Winters' talent.

    Winters was impressed with Lori.  He took Lori and Teri Garr (who achieved great success years later) out of his class to dance in some of the films he was working on.  David and Lori developed quite a close friendship, almost like brother and sister.  Still, David was very skilled and very tough.  Lori had to go on auditions even if David was the choreographer.

    In 1963, Williams was working as a dancer in the Paul Newman film, "The Prize" (1963).  A speaking role was created for a young woman.  As Lori told me, "Paul Newman came up to me and made his selection.  He told me that I was great and that I was just ideal for that role.  He wasn't trying to make a pass at me or anything like that.  Paul wasn't that way.  He was very professional."

    She kind of got that role through a little white lie, though.  To get this role, you needed a SAG card (Screen Actors Guild).  Lori said she had one of these, even though she didn't.  "You needed a speaking job to get one.  I never had one before," she confesses.  Since the new scene was going to be shot after lunch that day, Lori raced down to the Screen Actors Guild to get her SAG card now that she landed a speaking role.  That was a close call, but a smooth move.  This is when her onscreen acting career really started to pick up.

    Since becoming a SAG member, David Winters kept Lori plenty busy in 1964.  She was in six teenage-themed drive-in movies that year!  These included:  "Kissin' Cousins", "Viva Las Vegas", "Roustabout", "Pajama Party", "Get Yourself A College Girl", and "The Disorderly Orderly".

    In 1965, four more of Lori's movies were released.  The Elvis movies, "Girl Happy" and "Tickle Me" were undoubtedly the biggest hits.  However, the most important movie for Lori that year was, "A Swingin' Summer".  This was the first time she received a credited role, practically doing what she had always done.  Besides being one of the girls we see wandering around Lake Arrowhead, Lori had a great dance scene with Mike Blodgett.

    1966 was an even better year for the young Ms. Williams.  Her first released movie was, "Our Man Flint".  "I loved doing this movie!" she recalls.  "I wasn't credited, but there was a great scene with James Coburn where I was in a bikini, just looking great.  That part was a lot of fun."  But the film that brought her the most attention was one made by a Hollywood underdog, the low-budget sexploitation director Russ Meyers.  "I had no idea who Russ Meyers was before I worked with him.  I thought this was going to be a regular movie.  This movie didn't have any nudity or swearing like his other movies, but it was still thought of as really exploitative.  It also had more violence than I was used to in a film."

    Regarding "Faster Pussycat!  Kill, Kill!" nowadays, "It's a trip," Lori simply states.  She agrees that it's an odd little film, but greatly appreciates the following.  "I'm always asked about this movie, and I love to talk about it.  I did an interview about the movie for the TCM channel a few years back."

    Williams was so busy working under contract that she really couldn't take advantage of her role in FPKK.  Only six weeks after the movie opened, she worked in a Las Vegas revue for Andy Williams for the next six months.  Because of this, she couldn't accept any acting offers during that time.  She was also asked to pose for Playboy Magazine several times and had to decline.  That would have been a really good thing for her career, since she was moving into the super-sexy, bad girl parts.  At least she had a good time working for Andy Williams until the show closed.

    As Lori explains it, the lull in her career continued because she met her then-husband in Las Vegas.  Tony was a musician in Pennsylvania.  They went back East and got married.  Just before this, she was planning to go to Europe to act in the sexy, Barbarella-type movies that were on a hot streak at the time.  She didn't go to Europe, because of her marriage, and took a two year break.  During her time on the East Coast, she continued modeling until she became pregnant with daughter Julie.

    Williams' marriage folded in 1969, and she returned to Hollywood.  She made many recurring appearances on the show, "Love, American Style" as one of the blackout players.  "This was like a big party!" she describes the experience.  She later had a part as one of the ill-fated passengers in the film, "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972).  Another role came in 1974 with the gangster film, "99 and 44/100 Percent Dead".

    "I was only 31 when I gave up acting," Lori states.  "I was still getting the teenybopper roles because I hadn't changed that much in appearance since the 1960s.  I didn't mind that, but I didn't want to be the oldest one of the set."  After an embarrassing experience when her age was pointed out by the casting director to the producer, Lori quit acting.

    "I did do an episode of Baretta in 1978 and I loved it!  Because I was getting older, I was starting to get more interesting work."

    Williams teamed with casting director Gene O'Havens and started a casting company.  Until the mid-1980s, the pair was very successful and cast a number of episodes for popular TV series and the movie, "Alligator" (1980), among other projects.  "It was too much work for one person.  After Gene dropped out, I got into real estate," says Lori.  She continues to live quietly outside of show business, for the most part.  Since the 1990s, though, she's done a number of film festivals and celebrity autograph conventions.

    The popularity of "Faster Pussycat!  Kill, Kill!" has kept the acting careers of Tura Satana (Varla) and Haji (Rosie) going strong.  Those two have continued to do a lot of sexy B-movies.  Lori, however, has expressed interest in recent years of returning to mainstream acting.  "I'd like to play a mother figure in a soap opera or sitcom," she's said.

    Lori Williams has had an interesting show business career.  It will be even more interesting to see what happens next!

"Lori Williams: Beyond Pussycat" DVD:  In 2009, Lori Williams hired Polar Blair's Den to make a DVD documentary of her life and entertainment career.  At first, she had only her family and friends in mind of whom to share this with, but this became such a big, elaborate project that she thought it would be great to use as an advertising tool for agents and casting directors.  Polar Blair's Den made "Lori Williams: Beyond Pussycat" to be of feature-film documentary quality.  Footage from "Faster, Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill!" and a 2006 interview with Turner Classic Movies act as the centerpiece to the program, but footage of her many movie and television appearances, musical montages, and slideshows all add to giving us the definitive look into the onscreen and offscreen worlds of Lori Williams.  This is the absolute best documentary you will ever see on the lovely Lori Williams!  Click the picture below to find out more about this grand project!

Lori Williams Beyond Pussycat

Filmography:  COMING SOON!


YouTube Video:

It's a Bikini World (1967)

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