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Obituary: Acquanetta Burnu.

HER birth name was Burning Fire, Deep Water. But her parents, an Arapaho woman and her father of mixed French, English and Cherokee blood, who lived on an Indian reservation at Ozone, near Cheyenne, Wyoming, gave her up to a woman in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

By then she was known by the slightly more manageable Acquanetta Burnu. At 16, she was swaying down a street in New York when a photographer's jaw dropped open in delight.

This began a modelling career which led to the movies.

Her swarthy good looks and mouth-watering figure encouraged randy executives at Universal Studios to chase her around the office desks.

In fact, in those days before the onset of political correctness, she presented something of a challenge to the publicists who, at one time, said that she slept in a tepee. In another effort to sell her to the public, she was dubbed the ``Venezuelan Volcano'', inaccurate in both details.

However, everyone agreed that green-eyed Acquanetta, as she was billed, had an extraordinary presence, sure to win male admirers.

So, when someone of darker skin was needed for a part, she was the lady, as can be seen in the titles of her films -- the Arabian Nights (1942), Rhythm of the Islands and Captive Wild Women both in 1943, Jungle Woman (1944).

Her most celebrated part was opposite Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946) and it wouldn't take a Sherlock Holmes to guess the role in which she had to bare her claws and other parts of her anatomy.

She was again the native girl in Lost Continent (1951). In that year, Acquanetta quit Universal and married a car dealer.

A new career of radio and TV commercials opened and her true potential was finally spotted by Franklin D Roosevelt, who made her a ``goodwill ambassador'' for the US. She toured Mexico.

Acquanetta worked for charities, wrote a book on her personal philosophy and hosted a TV show before, in 1989, returning to the screen in Grizzly Adams -- The Legend Never Dies.

Always welcome at movie conventions and reunions, she had four children.

Acquanetta Burnu, actress, born, 1921, died, August 23, 2004.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2004
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