Monday, October 10, 2011

Elvira played by Cassandra Peterson

Cassandra Peterson was born September 17, 1951 in Manhattan, Kansas.  She is best known for her role as sexy, Movie Macabre hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.  Believe it or not, she did play roles other than Elvira even though that has been her dominating character over her career.  She may not have been recognizable out of her Elvira makeup.

Elvira aka Cassandra Peterson was the host of Movie Macabre 1981

In 1970, Cassandra made her TV debut in an appearance on Fright Night starring Larry Vincent (Sinister Seymour), Robert Foster, and Wayne Thomas.  For a time she moved to Italy so that she could sing lead for the band I Latins Ochanats.  She met director Federico Fellini who decided to give her a part in his 1972 film Roma aka Fellini's Roma co-starring Britta Barnes, Peter Gonzales Falcon and Fiona Florence.

Cassandra Peterson's first film appearance was in Fellini's Roma 1972

She then found herself living back in the United States, she toured with a small musical comedy troupe Mammas Boys followed by the troupe Groundlings.  While this was going on, Cassandra also did some acting starring in her first film in The Working Girls with Sarah Kennedy, Laurie Rose and Mark Thomas (1974).

Cassandra Peterson in The Working Girls 1974

Cassandra's TV career began to pick up as she appeared in an episode of Fantasy Island starring
Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize and Carol Lynley (1978); Flying High starring Connie Sellecca, Pat Klous, John Hillerman, Kathryn Witt, Harvey Lembeck, and Howard Platt (1979); and Happy Days starring Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Donny Most, Anson Williams, Al Molinaro, and Scott Baio (1979).

Cassandra Peterson made an appearance in Fantasy Island 1978

In 1980, Cassandra landed a role in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie starring Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Betty Kennedy, Evelyn Guerrero, Phil Hartman, Kim Hopkins, and Rita Wilson.  That same year she would also appear in the film Coast to Coast starring Dyan Cannon, Robert Blake, Martin Beck, Ellen Gerstein, Quinn K. Redeker, and Michael Lerner.  This would be followed by a role in King of the Mountain starring Harry Hamlin, Joseph Bottoms, Dennis Hopper, Dan Haggerty, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Richard Cox, Seymour Cassel, and Buddy Joe Hooker (1981).

In would be at this time that LA producers decided to revive the show Fright Night only this time with a female host.  Cassandra Peterson auditioned along with 200 other applicants to play the horror queen, however it would be Cassandra who won the role and would go on to become Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, hostess of the show Movie Macabre.  She would host the show for three years until 1984 when it ended.

Cassandra Peterson won the role of Elvira in 1981 and became host of Movie Macabra

Elvira's sexy gothic look and her campy charm made her an instant hit

During her run as the Movie Macabre hostess, she also appeared in shows such as Open All Night starring George Dzundza, Susan Tyrrell Sam Whipple, and Bubba Smith (1982); Harper Valley starring Barbara Eden, Fannie Flagg, George Gobel, Jenn Thompson, Bridget Hanley, and Rod McCary (1982).

In 1982, Peterson landed a gig as a radio show personality on Los Angeles station 106.7 KROQ.  She would be on the air for a year until 1983. She would also star in the film Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again co-starring Mark Blankfield, Bess Armstrong, Krista Errickson, Liz Sheridan, Tim Thomerson, Michael McGuire, and Mary McCusker (1982); The Paragon of Comedy co-starring Marilyn Corwin, Sandy Helberg, Edie McClurg, Suzanne Kent, Paul Reubens, and John Moody (1983); The Sting II co-starrng Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis, Teri Garr, Oliver Reed, Karl Malden, José Pérez, and Kathalina Veniero (1983); CHiPs (as Elvira) starring Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Brodie Greer, Robert Pine, Randi Oakes, and Brianne Leary with Peter Marshall, Donny Most, Rich Little, and Kelly Preston (2 episodes, 1982-83); Alice starring Linda Lavin, Beth Howland, Vic Tayback, Polly Holliday, Celia Weston, and Philip McKeon (1983); The Richard Simmons Show co-starring Eric Brandt, Nancy Ellen Mills, and Stephanie Shayne (as Elvira); Stroker Ace starring Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson, Ned Beatty, Jim Nabors, Parker Stevenson, Cary Guffey, and Bubba Smith (1983); Uncensored (Video 1984); Last of the Great Survivors co-starring Pam Dawber, James Naughton, Maryedith Burrell, Thom Bray, and Gloria Gifford (1984); and The Fall Guy (as Elvira) starring Lee Majors, Douglas Barr and Heather Thomas with David Carradine, Keith Carradine, John Carradine, and Robert Carradine (1984).

Cassandra Peterson as Elvira just seemed to get sexier
...and sexier...
Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira as herself

After her time on Movie Maccaabre, Cassandra went on appearing as Elvira in various films, shows and functions.  She appeared in shows and films such as Get Out of My Room (as Elvira) co-starring Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jan-Michael Vincent, and John Paragon (1985); Pee-wee's Big Adventure co-starring Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Diane Salinger, and Mark Holton (1985); Bob Hope Buys NBC? (as Elvira) co-starring Lucille Ball, Michael J. Fox, Lynda Carter and Mr. T (1985); The Fall Guy (as Elvira) starring Lee Majors, Douglas Barr and Heather Thomas with Vincent Schiavelli (1985); Balboa co-starring Tony Curtis, Carol Lynley, Chuck Connors, Jennifer Chase, Steve Kanaly, Sonny Bono, and Lupita Ferrer (1986); WrestleMania 2 (as Elvira) co-starring Hulk Hogan, Fred Blassie, George 'The Animal' Steele, and King Kong Bundy (video 1986); and Echo Park co-starring Susan Dey, Tom Hulce, Michael Bowen, Cheech Marin, and John Paragon (1986).

Cassandra Peterson starred in Pee Wee's Big Adventure 1985
Paul Rubens and Cassandra Peterson of Pee Wee's Big Adventure

In 1986, Patterson actually co-wrote and starred in her own TV special Elvira's Halloween Special co-starring Barbara Chase, Julia Sweeney, Matthew May, Mark Pierson, and George McGrath (1986).

Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) was her usual campy self in Elvira's Halloween Special

Cassandra went on to star in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold co-starring Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva, and Robert Donner (1986); Saturday Night Live (as Elvira) starring Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn and Dabney Coleman (1987); Elvira: Mistress of the Dark co-starring Phil Rubenstein, Damita Jo Freeman, Edwina Moore, Jeff Conaway, and Larry Flash Jenkins (1988); Heavy Metal Heaven (as Elvira) (1989); Just Say Julie (as Elvira) starring Celia J. Arden, Julie Brown, Michael McKean, Ned Gill, Paul Brown, and Lynn Wanlass (1989); and Totally Hidden Video (as Elvira) starring Wesley Eure, Steve Nave and Rod Britt (1989).

Cassandra Peterson in the film Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold 1986

In 1990, Patterson starred in Pledge Night with Todd Eastland, Dennis Sullivan, James Davies, Craig Derrick, Shannon McMahon, and Lawton Paseka (1990); Ted & Venus co-starring Bud Cort, James Brolin, Rhea Perlman, Kim Adams, Carol Kane, Brian Thompson, Pamella D'Pella, Woody Harrelson, and Martin Mull (1991); and Ring of the Musketeers co-starring David Hasselhoff, Thomas Gottschalk, Alison Doody, Cheech Marin, Corbin Bernsen, John Rhys-Davies, and Russell Armstrong (1992).

In 1993, Cassandra starred in her own TV special The Elvira Show co-starring Katherine Helmond, Ted Henning, John Paragon, Phoebe Augustine, Cristine Rose, and Basil Hoffman (1993).  She continued on with appearances in Acting on Impulse co-starring C. Thomas Howell, Linda Fiorentino, Tom Wright, Nancy Allen, Don Most, Isaac Hayes, Miles O'Keeffe, and Adam Ant (1993); Attack of the Killer B-Movies (as Elvira) co-starring Natalia Cigliuti, Kelly Packard, Dustin Diamond, Megan Parlen, and William James Jones (1995); The Ketchup Vampires (as voice of Elvira) (1995); Strange Universe co-starring Lee Shargel, Clint Catalyst, Scott Shaw, Julie Strain and Donald G. Jackson (1996); It's My Party (uncredited) co-starring Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Margaret Cho, Roddy McDowall, Marlee Matlin, Olivia Newton-John, George Segal, Bronson Pinchot, and Christopher Atkins (1996); Space Ghost Coast to Coast starring George Lowe, C. Martin Croker and Dave Willis (voice, 1996); Nash Bridges starring Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Jaime Gomez, Tava Smiley, Jeff Perry, and Kelly Hu (1997); The RuPaul Show starring Michelle Visage (1998); and Encounter in the Thrid Dimension (as Elvira) co-starring Stuart Pankin, Andrea Thompson, and Harry Shearer (1999).

Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira with out her makeup still looking sexy

Cassandra started off the new millineum starring in Elvira's Haunted Hills with Richard O'Brien, Scott Atkinson, and Mary Scheer (2001); Scares & Dares co-starring Darcy Donavan (2001); Tomoko's Kitchen co-starring Tomo Kawaguchi, María Costa, Gary Kraus, Steven Engle, Louisette Geiss, David L. Lander, and Darren Dupree Washington (2006); The Girls Next Door (as Elvira) co-starring Hugh M. Hefner, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson (2006); and Red Riding Hood co-starring Lainie Kazan, Henry Cavill, Daniel Roebuck, Morgan Thompson, Joey Fatone, Debi Mazar, Andrea Bowen, and David Kaufman (2007).

Cassandra Peterson as Elvira in Elvira's Haunted Hills 2001

Cassandra starred as Elvira in the reality TV show The Search for the Next Elvira as contestants competed to become the new Elvira.  Co-stars were Christian Greenia, Cindy Sorenson, Patterson Lundquist, Bridget Marquardt, Bill Lloyd, Kane Hodder, and Rick Baker (2007).

Cassandra Peterson (center) as Elvira in The Search for the Next Elvira 2007
Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira today

Cassandra must not have been replaced as she starred the next year in the film Her Morbid Desires (as Elvira) with Erica P. Hanson, Ronn Moss, Tippi Hedren, Molly Murphy, Robert Loggia, Amanda Jordan, Shawna Baca, Kandis Erickson, Jessica Borden, and William Smith (2008); The Scream (as Elvira) co-starring Melissa Bacelar, J.C. Taylor, Jeff Spinner, Heidi Martinuzzi, Meme Stevens, Scott Schiaffo, Lloyd Kaufman, and Aimee-Lynn Chadwick (2009); The Haunted World of El Superbeasto co-starring Joe Alaskey, Ken Foree, April Winchell, Tom Papa, Laraine Newman, Harland Williams, Clint Howard, and Sheri Moon Zombie (voice 2009); Medium starring Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval, Sofia Vassilieva, David Cubitt, and Jake Weber (2009); and All About Evil co-starring Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Noah Segan, Mink Stole, Jade Ramsey, Nikita Ramsey, Jack Donner, and Ariel Hart (2010).

Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) on the set of Her Morbid Desires 2008
Cassandra Peterson (right) in All About Evil 2010

In Cassandra's latest endeavor beginning in 2010, the Movie Macabre show has been resurrected and at age 60 and still going, Elvira is back hosting Elvira's Movie Macabre.

Cassandra Peterson otherwise known as Elvira 2011