Cult Actress Jillian Kesner Was A “Firecracker!” Celebrating All Of Her Most Empowered Roles!

Celebrating “Firecracker” Jillian Kesner!

First of all, thanks to the Facebook friend who shared this poster:

I just had to know what this was all about, and I’m glad I did! My “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown” has the story of an empowered Actress who was just as powerful off camera!

Jillian Kesner was born on August 9, 1949 in Portsmouth, Virginia and grew up in Denver, Colorado.

In 1969, Kesner moved to Los Angeles, California and worked as a model before embarking on an acting career in both movies and television.

Jillian made her impressive film debut as fiery juvenile delinquent Carrie in the drive-in gem “The Student Body.” She met her future husband and noted cinematographer Gary Graver on this film!

June Fairchild was also in the movie:

Fairchild had a great career at the center of the wild wild times of Hollywood in the late 60’s but here life took a tragic turn…you can see my story here:

As for Kesner, she went on to a variety of films: comedy, action and more!

She was the kooky Angel in the sex comedy “Starhops!”

But it was that original poster that drew me to Jillian – I had never seen this early 80’s action film – she’s terrific as the tough, but sexy karate instructor Susanne Carter in “Firecracker,” also known as this!

Both titles are great!

First, check out short but very enjoyable trailer:

Jillian stars as a Martial Artist who travels to the Philippines to look for her missing sister, and of course, kicks ass the entire time, mostly without much on!

She is chased by two men into a warehouse – of course, her dress snags on a nail so she must rip it off and fight anyway – oh, and it’s a great fight scene!

Of course, Jillian wasn’t the first “naked” Martial Arts star:

Yes, Reiko Ike and Christina Lindberg didn’t need clothes to kick ass – see their classic collaboration here:

Aside from kicking ass naked, Jillian falls for one of her adversaries, who just may be an ally as well – either way, she beds him for good luck:

The film is short, filled with plenty of action, and just enough nudity to satisfy the drive-in crowd as well – a fun flick that I rented from Amazon Prime for a couple of bucks!

Jillian also portrayed feisty martial arts expert Cookie Winchell in the “Indian Jones” knock-off “Raw Force!”

Kesner appeared in “Evil Town”, alongside another Cult Movie Queen:

Lynda Wiesmeier had a great cult film career as well, and you can see it all here:

Kesner was also known as Fonzie’s girlfriend Lorraine on “Happy Days,” and was in a number of other popular TV shows as well!

Outside of her acting credits, Jillian also handled production coordinator chores on a handful of low-budget straight-to-video movies directed by her husband.

Sadly, just a year after her husband died, Jillian died at age 58 from a staph infection on December 5, 2007 in Irvine, California.

I’ll always remember her for her empowered roles – and of course, for this revealing run down a hallway in “Firecracker!”

Jillian is one of the Actresses I’ve profiled who had a short run in film.

Kimberly McArthur didn’t make many films, but she popped onscreen when she did!

Click here to see more of her story:

Director Andy Sidaris made a string of great 80’s action thrillers with lots of nudity as well…with some of the most empowered women of the 80’s:

Dona Speir had a great run in the Director’s action films – see her biggest hits here:

This former Playmate also appeared in a number of these cult action films, always with strong women in the lead:

Roberta Vasquez has a great run of cult films and you can see them all by clicking on my story here:

Bravo to all of these Cult Movie Queens – for many of these Actresses, longterm stardom in film may have eluded them, but I don’t want them to be forgotten:

Cult Actress Marlene Appelt appeared in a number of French erotic films before disappearing…you can see her whole story here:

If you like these stories, go to my website’s front page and sign on to follow me – there are NOads at all, just lots of stories to come about the wild world of exploitation and cult films!

Click here and see the “follow” button on the upper right!

Let me know if you’ve seen any of these films, or have any idea of what has happened to any of these missing Cult Movie Queens!

Categories: 70's Films, Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Classic Action Films, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Talent / Celebrites

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. I remember seeing the trailer for “Naked Fist”, It was one of my first experiences with screen nudity…Although the movie should’ve called “Topless Fist”, no wonder they changed the name. I was sorry to hear that Jillian Kesner had left us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for another great remembrance of a striking actress.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Films I have never seen, and another sad death. You gave her a great tribute, John.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Jillian Kessner. Winner of the Black Belt Olympics award. Of course, the award didn’t exist. Oh well, As for The Student Body, that movie almost commits the unpardonable sin of being boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Raw Force is fantastic

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Actress Karin Mani Is An “Alleycat!” My “2022 Sex Kitten Countdown” Has Her Story! – JR-Sploitation!
  2. The Wild Life Of Cult Movie Queen Dona Spier! From Action Films To A Harrowing Bill Cosby Story… – JR-Sploitation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: