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Vampira Actress Maila Nurmi


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'Vampira' Actress Maila Nurmi

by Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

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Maila Nurmi as Vampira

LOS ANGELES, California -- Maila Nurmi, who appeared in director Edward D. Wood Jr.'s 1959 film, "Plan 9 From Outer Space," was found dead on Thursday, January 10 in her Hollywood home. The cause of death was still being investigated, said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Nurmi was believed to be 85, although sources offer conflicting dates of birth.

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.

Vampira played with her pet tarantula, gave gruesome recipes for vampire cocktails and bathed in a boiling caldron. With a knack for the double-entendre and the requisite blood-chilling scream, Vampira was a hit.

The character won Nurmi short-lived fame and a dedicated cult following. Nurmi claimed that Vampira also was the uncredited inspiration for later ghoulish yet glamorous female characters in film and television, including Elvira.

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Maila Nurmi as Vampira

Born Maila Syrj

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