It is not very often a Penthouse Pet of the Year transitions from model to B-movie icon. That is exactly what Julie Strain accomplished. In 1993 she was chosen to be Penthouse Pet of the Year two years after being named Penthouse Pet of the Month in June 1991. Strain was born on February 18, 1962, in Concord, California. Her 6’1” stature, athletic build and long curly black mane provided Julie with an exceptional presence during her modelling and film career. Julie was also married to Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) and the owner/editor of Heavy Metal magazine. Julie is rumored to have inspired an early incarnation of April O’Neil in the early Mirage Comic run of the TMNT series.
Julie’s first credited film that did not have the name Penthouse in the title was OUT FOR JUSTICE (1991) starring Steven Seagal. After that, she stuck mainly to adult films with bit parts in smaller films like BAD LOVE (1992) starring Tom Sizemore. A notable role from early in her film career was WITCHCRAFT IV: THE VIRGIN HEART (1992). In this film, she plays Belladonna, a girlfriend to a warlock lawyer.
Julie’s luck seems to have changed when she worked with director Andy Sidaris for the first time in FIT TO KILL (1993) playing assassin Blu Steele. Sidaris is best known for his successful “Bullets, Bombs and Babes” formula for low budget action films. This would be the first of many roles for Julie in Andy Sidaris’ series of L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies movies.
In 1994 she had very small parts in NAKED GUN 33 1/3 and BEVERLY HILLS COP 3 but wasn’t a featured actress outside of the Andy Sidaris films. Director Jim Wynorski cast her as jealous witch Erica Barnes in SORCERESS (1995) where she would use her magical powers against Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert) and his wife Amelia (Linda Blair). She also starred in the sequel SORCERESS II: THE TEMPTRESS (1997) as character Tara Coventry.
Julie took top bill in the yet to be released LINGERIE KICKBOXER (1998), a superhero movie that was to be directed by Scott Shaw. According to the director’s website, they have filmed and edited it but Kevin Eastman has a list of changes. Due to time and scheduling conflicts, the film was never fully completed.
Throughout the late 90s and early 00s, Julie had steady work in films, including one of her most popular movies HEAVY METAL 2000 (2000), a sequel of sorts to the cult hit HEAVY METAL (1981). In the film, Julie provides voice acting for an animated character inspired by her. The film itself is based on the graphic novel The Melting Pot written by then-husband Kevin Eastman. She also continued to work with Jim Wynorski in the five BARE WENCH films spanning 2000 – 2005. She has since retired from acting.
An abridged list of Julie Strain’s notable films:
Witchcraft IV: The Virgin Heart (1992)
Fit to Kill (1993)*
Enemy Gold (1993)*
The Dallas Connection (1994)*
Big Sister 2000 (1995)
Money to Burn (1996)
Day of the Warrior (1996)*
Bikini Hotel (1997)
Sorceress II: The Temptress (1997)
Lethal Seduction (1997)
The Last Road (1997)
Return to Savage Beach (1998)*
Armageddon Boulevard (1999)
Heavy Metal 2000 (2000)
The Bare Wench Project (2000)
Sex Court: The Movie (2001)
Battle Queen 2020 (2001)
The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001)
Delta Delta Die! (2003)
Julie Strain’s Tales from the Crapper (2004)
Bare Wench: The Final Chapter (2005)
Azira: Blood from the Sand (2006)
Space Girls in Beverly Hills (2009)
* collaboration with director Andy Sidaris
What is your favorite Julie Strain film? You can comment below and let us know!
Contributed by Rich Strahsburg