National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – January 10 – Maila Nurmi (Vampira)

0 Comments 10 January 2013


Today’s DPD is dedicated to T.W. He has long had a thing for all things Finnish and has felt a celestial force pulling him towards the Scandanavian locale for many years now.

Maila Nurmi was a Finnish born, American bred actress whose legacy for eternity is Vampira and the lasting fashion look ‘goth chic’ from which we’re all still recovering.

Nurmi arrived in America while still a small child and, after moving around a bit, settled in Oregon with her family. She migrated south after graduation to pursue an acting career in La La Land. Many of her attempts fell short and she made ends meet by posing for pin-up calendars and offering her mouth as a substitute for biting the nails of the neurotic.

The unconventional came calling in 1953 after Nurmi attended a Hollywood masquerade ball dressed as the ghoul of Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons. Nurmi’s dark, buxom and seductive costume sent those Hollywood folks in a tizzy and months later a KABC-TV Channel 7 producer tracked her down and offered her work as hostess of a late-night horror show.

Sadly, that was probably the height of her career. Her show  had a short run and by the mid 1960s she was making ends meet by cleaning houses, laying linoleum (not in the good way) and selling her arts and crafts. She was also embroiled in some legal battles during the 70s & 80s. Most notably with Cassandra Peterson (aka Elvira). Nurmi thought Elvira was stealing her character (albeit Peterson had a much better rack). Surprisingly Nurmi was mum with bringing lawsuits against the throngs of goth kids that were also stealing her style.

Here’s to you T.W., perhaps you and Maila can be together for eternity and settle down in a nice shack outside Helsinki (if that exists in the afterworld). If you need help passing on you know where to find me (down the hall, last office on the left – next to the handicap bathroom).


Actress, TV horror film hostess Vampira

OBITUARIES : Maila Nurmi

January 16, 2008|Jocelyn Y. Stewart | Times Staff Writer
In the early days of television, when horror movies were often campy by nature, actress Maila Nurmi created the character Vampira, a glamorous ghoul who as hostess of late-night fright films in the 1950s layered on her own brand of camp. Continue


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