Friday, January 11, 2008
Wish you were here
Maila Nurmi, best known as Vampira, died in her sleep yesterday. She was 86. Thanks to LAist for letting me know, as I have seen nothing about this whatsoever in the mainstream media, which strikes me as inexcusable. If there is any kind of public to-do, I am totally skipping work and going.
Vampira, of course, was Elvira's predecessor as a TV hostess of horror movies; she famously sued Cassandra Peterson, who plays Elvira, for stealing her concept but was unable to pay legal expenses, and the case was dismissed. Vampira can also, of course, be seen in "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Back in her heyday, she was a Hollywood fixture, driving up Sunset in a convertible with a parasol to shade her pallid complexion. She and James Dean somehow got to be good friends and hung out a lot in the early 1950s. While he was in Texas filming "Giant," she had a set of glossy photos taken of herself sitting in an open grave; she sent one to James inscribed "Having a wonderful time, wish you were here." His handlers confiscated it, not knowing they were friends and assuming it was a threat, so he never saw it. A few days later, he was dead.
RIP, Ms. Nurmi. Have a wonderful time.