|Also known as:||Elvira|
|Born:||September 17, 1951|
Manhattan, Kansas, USA
|Height:||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Shown:||Topless, Bush, Full frontal|
Cassandra Peterson (born September 17, 1951) is an American television personality best known for her on-screen horror host persona "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". She gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ wearing a black, gothic, cleavage-enhancing gown as host of Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation. Her wicked vampish appearance was offset by her comical character, quick witted personality and Valley girl-type speech. Although the character of Elvira wears a large black wig, Peterson is a natural redhead.
Although born in Manhattan, Kansas, Peterson grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and graduated from General William J. Palmer High School in 1969. Just days after that, she became a showgirl at The Dunes in Las Vegas, Nevada. In Italy, she was the lead singer in a rock band and a chance encounter with Federico Fellini led to a small part in Roma (1972).
Back in the U.S., she joined the Los Angeles-based improvisational troupe The Groundlings, where she created the character who would later be known as Elvira.
In the late summer of 1981 when Larry Vincent starring as Sinister Seymour the host of a local Los Angeles weekend horror show called Fright Night, passed away producers began searching for his replacement. What followed was Movie Macabre featuring a ditzy valley-girl type character named Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
The gimmick turned out to be something no one had seen before. While Elvira acted like a ditzy valley-girl, she was the embodiment of 1980's fringe Goth. Cassandra squeezed into a tight black gown with more cleavage than had ever appeared on local Los Angeles television before. She applied pounds of make-up and wore a black wig which over the years grew taller and taller. The transformation from Cassandra Peterson to Elvira was so drastic ,that few ever recognized her out of costume. This worked so well that she had a cameo in fellow Groundlings' alumni Paul Reubens' 1985 movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" in the role of "Biker Mama".
In 1985, Elvira began hosting a video series for Thriller Video. These were films hand-selected by Elvira herself, choosing to stay away from the explicit zombie, cannibal and slasher films of the time, these were generally tamer titles such as The Monster Club and Dan Curtis TV films. She refused to host Make Them Die Slowly and Seven Doors of Death, so the videos were released on the LIVE Home Video label without Elvira's appearance as hostess.
Due to the artwork on the big box releases, some of these tapes have become collector's items despite being released on DVD.
On Halloween night of 1992, Elvira appeared with rock band U2 as they were playing at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on their ZOO TV tour. Just as she apparently did some 14 years later, she declared her candidacy for President, noting that "we already have two boobs in the White House, might as well be mine." Following a couple of corny jokes, she led the crowd to sing "Happy Birthday" to drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., whose birthday is on Halloween.
Elvira was next to Jesse Ventura co-commentator of WrestleMania 2 for the Los Angeles part.
During a Bullz-Eye interview, Cassandra rendered a chat with the "Mistress of the Dark" that reveals her unique perspective.
Peterson made brief appearances (both as herself and as Elvira) on I Love the 80s 3-D on VH1.
Cassandra was chosen for the 2004 Randal Kleiser fantasy movie version of Red Riding Hood. She plays the mother of the hunter and future Baron (Henry Cavill) of the enchanted forest. During a night time encounter, she is swallowed up by the "Wolfie" with supernatural powers, who then transforms into the character of the mother then the father, to try to trick the son of the parents just swallowed.
In 2005, Peterson (as Elvira) hosted a show on Australian-based cable TV channel TV1; the format was similar to her old show.
During the weekend of January 13, 2006, Peterson held an estate sale at her Hollywood Hills home which constituted many household, personal and movie memorabilia items. The estate sale was due to her recent divorce in which her assets had to be evenly divided. Initially, she had planned a move to Santa Barbara, California, but since the divorce she is staying in the Los Angeles area.
On April 19, 2006, Peterson announced she would be seeking new "Elviras" via a reality TV program. Some have mistaken this as an announcement of her retiring. As of October 2006, she cleared up the rumor by stating that she wanted to find other people to play the role, sanctioned by Cassandra herself, so that the character could appear at the multitude of personal appearance requests. As Cassandra stated in an interview, there are many Bozo the clowns out there, so why not more Elviras.
Several episodes of the Elvira's Movie Macabre series were released on DVD in September 2006.
On October 30, 2006 Peterson announced, in her Elvira role, that she would be running for President of the United States in 2008. It is not clear if Peterson is serious about the running for office, but did state that, "We already have two boobs in office, why not mine?" Peterson made the announcement on The Mic 92.1FM, a Madison, Wisconsin progressive talk radio station during The Stephanie Miller Show.
Cassandra Peterson remains a supporter of animal rights, and an active member of PETA. She presented her Elvira persona during a Halloween appeal to use consideration of animal rights with candy selection.
She claims she has has never had any cosmetic surgery or implants to enhance her natural curves.
References in popular culture
- In the Charmed episode "All Halliwell's Eve," Alyssa Milano's character Phoebe Halliwell dresses as Elvira for Halloween.
- On The Simpsons, a character called Booberella, is largely based on Elvira (with a nod to Jane Fonda's character in Barbarella).
- In the episode "Trick or Treat" of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David describes a girl who has toilet-papered his house as looking "kinda like Elvira".
- Two Elvira themed pinball machines were produced by Bally/Midway. Elvira and the Party Monsters was released in 1989 and Scared Stiff was put out in 1996.
- In the late 1980s and early 1990s a number of Elvira-themed computer games were produced.
- She has been parodied on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy with the character being a redhead, perhaps a reference to her natural hair color.
- On an episode of Full House, DJ states that the only reason she dressed like Cleopatra for Halloween was because her father wouldn't let her dress like Elvira.
- In an episode of ReBoot, character Dot finds herself in a horror video game where she is turned into Elvira.
Big tit movies / pictures of Cassandra Peterson
- Mr Skin Cassandra Peterson (celebrity movies and pictures)
- Cassandra Peterson links at FreeOnes
- Ultimate Elvira Fan Site
- Claypool Comics
- Elvira Halloween Treats
- Elvira interview
- Elvira Interview in College Crier
- A Chat with Cassandra Peterson, AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
- Elvira seeks a successor, via reality TV
- I want you to be sweet to animals this Halloween
- video games featuring Elvira @ MobyGames