Cassandra Peterson

Actress, Writer

1951-09-17 (71 years old)

A pretty, conservative-looking redhead, Cassandra Peterson made a name for herself in sexy, extroverted roles. Her first film, 1973's Working Stiff, offered a rare glimpse of Cassandra el buffo; afterwards, she preferred to tease her audience with provocative costuming. Throughout the 1980s, she could be glimpsed in such comedy cameo roles as "Biker Mama" in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985). Cassandra climbed to cult status in the early 1980s when she donned the black wig, vampiric makeup and tight floor-length gowns of "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark." As hostess of the weekly horror-flick series Elvira's Movie Macabre, Ms. Peterson offset her spooky sensuality with a steady stream of raunchy one-liners and horrendous puns. The popularity of the Elvira persona peaked around 1988 (a feature film based on the character took a nosedive at the box office), but Cassandra Peterson continued to make personal appearances as the Mistress of the Dark into the late 1990s.