Cassandra Peterson (born September 17, 1951) is an American actress, writer and singer. She is best known for her portrayal of the horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Peterson gained fame on LA TV station KHJ-TV. Wearing a revealing, black, gothic gown, she was the host of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, a weekly B-movie presentation.
The Elvira character soon evolved from an obscure cult figure to a lucrative brand. She was associated with many products throughout the 80s and 90s including Halloween costumes, comic books and action figures. She even had a range of trading cards, as well as featuring on pinball machines, Halloween decor, perfume and dolls. Elvira has also appeared on the cover of Femme Fatales magazine five times. Her popularity reached its zenith with the release of the 1988 feature film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
90’s and beyond
After years of attempting to make a sequel to Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Cassandra and her manager/husband, Mark Pierson, decided to finance a second movie. In November 2000, Peterson wrote and co-produced Elvira’s Haunted Hills. The movie, filmed in Romania, cost just under one million dollars. However, with little budget left for promotion, Cassandra and Mark screened the film at AIDS charity fund raisers across America. On July 5, 2002, Elvira’s Haunted Hills had its official premiere in Hollywood. Elvira arrived at the premiere in her Macabre Mobile. The film was later screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
She is currently working on the direct sequel to 1988’s Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, as well as an animated Elvira project.
Did you know?
- Elvira was close friends with Vincent Price and is still good friends with Rob Zombie
- She was scalded by boiling water when she was five years old. As a result, she underwent 17 skin grafting operations. Now, she covers some of her remaining scars (around neck and shoulders) with make-up or clothing.
- Her favourite movies are Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957) and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978).
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