The television series “Elvira’s Cinema Macabre,” in which Cassandra Peterson starred as the vampire Elvira, is where most people first became familiar with her. Since the success of the program, she has been referred to as “Elvira”! With the release of the comedy-horror movie “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” her fame reached its peak. The movie and its follow-up, “Elvira’s Haunted Hills,” were both co-written and directed by her. She made several cameo appearances as Elvira on TV programs and motion pictures because the role of Elvira became so well-known. Cassandra Peterson worked as a dancer in Las Vegas and a pop singer in Italy before beginning her acting career. She sang for an Italian pop-rock band. In addition to appearing in the role of Queen Sorais in the movie “Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold,” Peterson made her acting debut in the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” which was her first full-length role. She made history by becoming the first woman to host a major beer ad campaign! She later hosted her own reality TV program, “The Search for the New Elvira,” later in her career.
Early Childhood & Life
On September 17, 1951, Cassandra Peterson was born in Manhattan, Kansas. Prior to the area being submerged to create the Tuttle Creek Reservoir, she was raised in the Kansas community of Randolph. Then she relocated to Colorado Springs with her family.
She had a kitchen accident when she was a year and a half old. Over a third of her body was burned when she unintentionally removed a pan of boiling eggs from the stove. She received teasing at school for her scars.
She wore any costumes she liked to school because her mother, who owned a costume shop, would make them in her size.
She graduated from General William J. Palmer High School in 1969 after attending. She was a go-go dancer in a nearby gay bar when she was just a teen.
Cassandra Peterson’s Career
Cassandra Peterson has always wanted to work in the entertainment industry. She persuaded her parents to let her sign a contract to work as a showgirl in Viva Les Girls at The Dunes in Las Vegas when she was 17 years old.
She made a brief appearance as a showgirl in the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971, and in “The Working Girls” in 1974, she danced topless. On the cover of Tom Waits’ album “Small Change” in 1976, she pretended to be a stripper.
She made friends with Elvis Presley while she was in Las Vegas, and he urged her to pursue singing. She moved to Italy in the 1970s to take the lead vocal position in the Italian rock band Latins 80 and The Snails, following his advice.
Following her return to the country, she and seven other men performed as “Mama’s Boys” in nightclubs and discos. She also performed a naked photo shoot for Playboy magazine and modeled for a number of male publications, including High Society, Man’s Delight, and Modern Man.
She joined the Los Angeles-based comedy group “The Groundlings” in 1979 in order to develop her acting and comedic abilities. There she developed a “valley girl”-type character, loosely based on which Elvira was developed. She also spent a year employed by the Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM.
The creators of the popular horror program “Fright Night” on KHJ-TV wanted to bring it back in 1981. They conducted an audition, which Peterson approved. She was given carte blanche by the producers to conceive of the character of the horror hostess. She worked with her friend Robert Redding to give her character “Elvira” a seductively vampish appearance.
Maila Nurmi, the former host of “The Vampira Show,” complained that the character and outfit of “Elvira” were similar to those of “Vampira” in a cease and desist letter to the producers before the program could air. But the judge decided in Peterson’s favor.
In September 1981, “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” premiered. It broadcast low-quality horror films and occasionally featured sarcastic commentary from the hostess Elvira. Five seasons were broadcast. Her figure “Elvira” quickly became popular and recognized as a brand. The character quickly became connected to a variety of goods, including dolls, comic books, trading cards, calendars, Halloween decorations, and costumes.
She presented the successful home video series “ThrillerVideo” in 1985 as a way to diversify, which paved the way for the creation of “Elvira’s Midnight Madness,” her second video series. She made a non-Elvira movie appearance in “Pee-Great wee’s Adventure” that same year. She then starred in “Echo Park” and “Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold” in 1986.
With the 1988 release of the feature film “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” in which she reprised her part as Elvira, her fame as Elvira achieved its peak. In addition, she and Sam Egan and John Paragon wrote the screenplay together.
Elvira’s Cursed Hills, a 2001 film, was co-written and co-produced by her. She showed the movie at an AIDS charity gathering because she didn’t have enough money for advertising. The movie eventually had its Hollywood debut in 2002, and the following year it screened at Cannes.
Elvira’s “Movie Macabre” made a syndication comeback in September 2010. A different program called “13 Nights of Elvira” debuted in October 2014 on the American streaming video service Hulu. In comic novels from DC Comics, Eclipse Comics, and Claypool Comics, she additionally played the role of Elvira.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark was released by Claypool Comics while Elvira’s House of Mystery was published by DC Comics. Elvira Mistress of the Dark: Comic Milestones-Comics Format and Elvira Mistress of the Dark: Double Delights are two additional paperback collections that were released.
Computer games based on Elvira were created in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Elvira: Mistress of the Underworld, Elvira 2: The Jaws of Cerberus, and Elvira: The Arcade Game. Additionally, some pinball games with an Elvira motif were created. Elvira also made an appearance in the 2007 video game “Pain” for the PlayStation 3.
The Big Job
In the comedy television program “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” Cassandra Peterson portrayed Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, to universal praise and audience adoration. She adopted the tone of a California “valley girl” while portraying the part, wearing a black gown and black wig. She made incisive, sardonic remarks. As soon as her character gained popularity, she was asked to return for similar roles in other TV shows.
Cassandra Peterson’s Individual Existence
Cassandra Peterson wed Mark Pierson, her personal adviser, in 1981. Sadie Pierson, their daughter, was born on October 12, 1994. The divorce was finalized in February 2003. She had a short romance with Elvis Presley.
Peterson, a vegetarian, was spotted promoting a vegetarian diet in a PETA advertisement with a Halloween motif.
Estimated Net Worth
The actress, vocalist, producer, and writer Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson has a $3 million fortune. On KHJ’s weekly program “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” which ran from 1981 to 1986 and then reappeared in 2010, the TV personality rose to fame as the gothic goddess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.