Saturday, January 12, 2008

RIP - Rod Allen (The Fortunes)
From Larry Shell...

RIP - Maila Nurmi (Vampira)

"One of my favorite 50s icons, Maila Nurmi, who became synonymous with her character, Vampira, passed away in her sleep yesterday at the age of 86. She was born Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi on December 21, 1921, in Petsamo, Finland - now Pechenga, Russia.

Maila came to America and started her career as a model, actress and dancer in Hollywood, but her life was forever changed when she attended the Ball Caribe Masquerade Party in Hollywood in 1953. She attended dressed as a vampish character based on the Charles Addams drawing of Morticia from the New Yorker magazine cartoons. She beat out 2000 contestants in the costume contest and won first prize! She also won the attention of ABC channel 7 producer Hunt Stromberg Jr. who hired her to host the station's new late-night horror show, called what else? The Vampira Show!

The show premiered in 1954 and Vampira quickly got national attention. Fan clubs and magazine articles followed. Soon she was jet setting with Hollywood icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, she was fired from the studio after only just a year and a half. Why? Vampira claims she was blacklisted from Hollywood because she didn't cooperate with the Hollywood factory.

Despite Vampira’s short-lived television career, the character was to set the standard for an entire legion of horror hostesses, actresses, and even cartoon characters to follow. Maila Nurmi’s film oeuvre includes the Ed Wood-directed cult classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Sex Kittens Go To College and The Beat Generation.

A documentary, Vampira: The Movie, was released late last year and can be found here:

Obit by Ellis Dee Plagiarized from several sources"