Celebrating The Career Of Susan Bernard!
My “2020 Sex Kitten Countdown” has been highlighting well known Cult Movie Queens, as well as some who had a shorter run in entertainment, but still made a lasting impact!
Susan Bernard was an Actress who appeared in mainstream TV shows, then Playboy Magazine, and ultimately in some of the most iconic cult films of their time – and what’s more iconic than this?
“Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”
That’s right, Bernard starred in Russ Meyer’s cult classic in 1965, and as you can see, she could take a punch in a fight with these wildcats!
Of course, I’ve covered a number of the great Cult Movie Queens who appeared in this Russ Meyer classic:
Haji went on to appear in an “Ilsa” film, and yes, that Uschi Digard to her left and Colleen Brennan to her right!
See all of her best work here:
As for Susan, Playboy was next!
In December 1966, she appeared in the magazine, further cementing her popularity!
It was unusual for an Actress in a mainstream TV show to pose for nude photos, but Bernard next went on to star in two seasons of the daytime soap “General Hospital” in the late 1960s.
She was on that show even thought she appeared in Playboy in December 1966, and was believed to be the first Jewish Playmate Of The Month!
This exposure in Playboy led to a run of interesting cult film in the 70’s:
In 1972, Susan appeared in this horror film the starred Orson Welles, and a bevy of nude satan worshippers:
Not a great film, but filled with lots of female nudity around a plot of a coven of witches trying to seduce and kill their victims.
Remember who else was in “Necromancy?”
Yes, another great Cult Movie Queen, Pamela Franklin, also starred in the film and had a great cult film career, but don’t ask her about working with Orson Welles!
Click here to find out how much of a nightmare she said that shoot was:
The following year, Susan appeared in another exploitation shocker:
The Killing Kind
This film has all of the lurid sleaze you want:
Young Terry Lambert returns home from serving a prison term for a gang-rape he was forced to participate in. He seeks revenge on his lawyer and the girl who framed him.
Check out the trailer:
Bernard then had the starring role in a proactively titled 1974 film with an equally provocative poster:
This plot sounds like a blast!
A film company arrives in a small town to shoot a biker movie. The film’s director encourages his actors to “live” their parts, and the results are clashes with the townspeople that end in murder.
In an interview in the August 1998 issue of Femme Fatales, Bernard revealed:
“I was the first under-18 Jewish virgin who was in the centerfold placed in front of a Christmas tree!”
She also admitted that she’d never been nude in front of anyone other than her mother prior to posing for Casilli, who had been one of her father’s apprentices. Her father was photographer Bruno Bernard.
She was married at one time to the late actor/playwright Jason Miller, who played Father Damien in “The Exorcist”.
Bernard was also the author of six books, including “Marilyn: Intimate Exposures” and “Bernard of Hollywood’s Ultimate Pin-Up Book and Joyous Motherhood.”
Tragically, Susan died of a heart attack a few years ago, but she had a terrific career across film, TV and literature!
It’s always sad to lose someone far too early…that was also the case with the cult Actress Pat Barrington:
She was painted gold for an Ed Wood film, and what could top that? Well, her wild wild life could, and you can see it all here:
As for Playboy “firsts”, Bernard was joined in this by many others:
How this for a “first?” Fran Gerard was the first Playmate to wear glasses! So of course she vanished – here’s her story:
And why no be Canada’s first Playmate – a VERY VERY FRECKLED one as well?
See her fascinating story by clicking here:
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Let me know if you’ve seen any of Susan Bernard’s work!
Categories: 70's Films, Artsploitation, Books / Media, Camp Cult Classics, Classic Action Films, Cult Classics, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, Russ Meyer, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites