Maila Nurmi

December 11, 1922 – January 10, 2008

At a masquerade party in Los Angeles in 1953, fledgling actress Maila Nurmi showed up decked in all black – an homage to Morticia Addams from the classic comic strip, The Addams Family. She was immediately noticed by a local television producer who asked her if she wanted to host late night horror movies on TV. She said yes and the original and quintessential horror host, Vampira, was born. Nurmi – as Vampira – went on to local stardom and some national acclaim. She hosted The Vampira Show on two different L.A. channels, appeared on national programs like The Red Skelton Show and in LIFE magazine. She notably appeared in Ed Wood’s infamous camp classic Plan 9 from Outer Space. Her onscreen persona and pun-filled banter launched a thousand copycats and created a genre of television that simply had not existed prior. Nurmi kept Vampira with her throughout her life; in documentaries, guest appearances, memoirs and even her very own boutique in Hollywood. She died at the age of 85 of natural causes. Her headstone reads “Hollywood Legend.” One could do worse.


Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles, CA

Specific Location

Section 7, Lot 203, Space 1 – On the west side of Midland Avenue, immediately to the south of the large, reddish HOVANESYAN monument, just two rows east and one space north of Darren McGavin.


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