On the Classic Horror Film Board, genre journalist Tom Weaver reports that Maila Nurmi has died. Nurmi was best known as the ’50s television horror hostess Vampira, the prototype for the later Elvira (Cassandra Petersen). The very first of host of a horror movie program (according to Elena M. Watson’s Television Horror Movies Hosts), Vampira’s trademark shtick was a shrill scream followed by vaudeville jokes at the expense of the movies she screened; one of her favorite pastimes was searching for her pet spider Rollo (whom she could never find).
Unfortunately, it appears that none of Vampira’s old television shows was preserved for posterity; most fans know her work (if at all) through her appearance in the legendary bad movie PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, in which recreated her Vampira look as the “Vampire Woman” supposedly married to Bela Lugosi’s “Ghoul Man.” Later, Nurmi had a few other film credits, such as SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE and THE MAGIC SWORD (in which she played a witch called “The Hag”).
So far, there have been no obituaries in major outlets, just a few mentions online of Nurmi’s passing (in The Dark Vault and on Blogging L.A.) However, you can read a nice tribute to Vampira by our friend Chris Stangl over at The Exploding Kinetoscope.