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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

TV Personality

Born: 17 September 1951
Birthplace: Manhattan, Kansas
Best known as: Vampy TV host of late-night horror movies

Name at birth: Cassandra Peterson

Cassandra Peterson was just another struggling actress during the 1970s. In the early 1980s, as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, she put the "vamp" in vampire and introduced horror movies on a Los Angeles television station. From there she launched a career as a cleavage-rich spokeswoman for all things spooky and campy, including a syndicated TV show, a movie and a merchandising blitz that cranked out everything from perfume to pinball machines.

Extra credit: Peterson is a longtime supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); in a much-publicized 1991 incident, she turned down an offer to perform as an elephant trainer in the TV extravaganza Circus of the Stars.

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