Haji, the Canadian cult actress known for her role in Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill!, has died at the age of 67.
Born Barbarella Catton in Quebec City in 1946, she became an exotic dancer at age 14 and later moved to California, where Meyer discovered her at a topless bar. After an audition, Meyer cast her in Motorpsycho, without any previous acting experience.
She went on to star in more films by Meyer than any of his other leading ladies. In the 1965 exploitation film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Haji played Rosie, one of three adventure-seeking go-go-dancers.
While her roles in Meyer’s films were mainly known for provocative outfits and violence, Haji said Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill! proved that women could play strong roles in film, as well. She would go on to star in four more films by Meyer.
"There are lots of fast cars, female domination, [and] lots of fantasies for men, but without the women being taken advantage of, so it was for women also," she said in a 2005 interview.
Francesca "Kitten" Natividad, Meyer’s ex-partner, announced Haji's death on her Facebook fan page. No cause of death was given. "Today I lost my dear friend Haji... I love you and miss you so so much... RIP," she posted Friday.
"So sad. That’s the only word that can describe this Saturday," wrote a Haji fan page on Facebook. "We will miss you, Haji. Your extremely captivating eyes will continue breaking hearts at a first glance from heaven."
Her final film appearance was in 2003's Killer Drag Queens on Dope.