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She wasn’t just pretending to be a bass player on the show.
Suzi Quatro has had a lengthy career as a musician and was one of the first members of an all-woman rock band. But, to fans of Happy Days, she’ll always be Leather Tuscadero, the sister of Fonzie’s ex Pinky Tuscadero and the bass player of a band joined by Joanie Cunningham. Quatro continued acting after Happy Days for a few roles, but she’s best known as a real-life bass player and singer.
After starting out in bands formed with her sisters and friends, such as the Pleasure Seekers and Cradle, Quatro went on to front her own band. She’s had a lot of success outside of the U.S.; though she did have a hit in America with “Stumblin’ In,” a duet with Chris Norman. Now, the Detroit native lives in England and has stayed very much involved in music, from performing live to releasing albums to DJ-ing. Read on to learn about her life today.
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Quatro has released 17 albums, and her latest, The Devil in Me, came out in 2021. As reported by The Guardian, she had been performing 85 to 90 shows per year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I still wear the jumpsuit,” she told the publication of her famous leather outfit. “At 70. I zip it up and feel like me.”
She told The Guardian in an interview from 2007 that she had no plans to retire. “When I go on stage, turn my back to the audience and shake my [expletive] and there’s silence—then I stop,” she said.
Quatro has also stayed involved in music through hosting radio shows. She previously DJ’d for BBC Radio 2.
Leather Tuscadero wasn’t Quatro’s only acting role. She appeared in the British TV series Minder, Absolutely Fabulous, and Midsommer Murders. She also starred in a production of Annie Get Your Gun in London’s West End. “I would like to do a movie—it’s the only medium I haven’t worked in,” she told The Guardian in 2007.
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Quatro released her memoir, Unzipped, in 2007. Then, her story was told again when a documentary, Suzi Q, was made about her life in 2019. “When you see your life up there on the big screen, it’s quite something,” she told The A.V. Club. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And also wanted to make it very real, warts and all. And that’s what I’ve accomplished.”
She also shared that a movie about her life is in the works. “Yeah, there will be a movie. A proper movie, yep,” she told The A.V. Club. “It’s because of everything that this has caused, this documentary. It’s just gone ballistic around the world. Everybody is loving it, and that’s what got me interested.”
Quatro told The Guardian that she would like Scarlett Johansson to portray her. “We both have a non-trying sex appeal,” she explained of her choice. “What comes out is natural and I see that in her. I’ve never tried to be sexy in my life.”
Quatro wed her first husband, guitarist Len Tuckey, in 1976, and they divorced in 1992. The former couple had two children together: Laura and Richard. Richard, who is also a guitarist, worked with Quatro on her two most recent albums. “I did the last album with my son. It was completely unexpected. It just happened. I don’t know how, but it did. So we’re writing for the next album,” she told Smashing Interviews prior to the release of The Devil in Me.
Since 1993, Quatro has been married to her second husband, Rainer Haas. “I look at it this way,” she told The Guardian, “I’ve had two good marriages.”
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