Sunday, October 1, 2017

Maila Nurmi, Waxmate of the month

“I remember the first time [Orson Welles] saw me in a boudoir,
in a negligee, he said in that wondrous voice of his,
‘Magnificent Carcass.’ ‘MAGNIFICENT CARCASS?’
I thought to myself. Whatever, I didn’t see that one coming.”

Born: Maila Elizabeth Syrjaniemi on December 11, 1922 in Petsamo, Finland
Died: January 10, 2008 (age 85) in Los Angeles, California, USA

Actress and  horror show hostess, Maila Nurmi appeared in Ed Wood's Plan Nine From Outer Space.   She created her Vampira character -- reminiscent of Charles Addams' spooky New Yorker cartoons -- to host horror movie broadcasts on KABC TV in Los Angeles in 1954.  With darkly mascaraed eyes and blood-red lipstick, Nurmi appeared each week in her revealing black dress and slinky fishnets to introduce such films as "Revenge of the Zombies" and "Devil Bat's Daughter."

"The Vampira Show" was canceled after about a year. Vampira disappeared. But she thrived in the cultural underground. 
By the 1960s, Nurmi supported herself as a tile contractor. Stories, patently untrue, circulated of roles in pornographic films. She became a figure of local legend in West Hollywood, part of a cast of peculiar characters who’d once been famous and now were not.

Maila Nurmi hung out with the punk/metal band the Misfits in the 80s at places like West Hollywood Vinyl Fetish. She also worked on a book she never finished, a memoir of underside of a 50s Hollywood that stayed up late nights at Googies Restaurant, popped pills, and lived off the warm glow of stardom it stalked.
In 1987, she recorded two seven-inch singles on Living Eye records with the band Satan's Cheerleaders. The singles, entitled "I Am Damned" and "Genocide Utopia," were both released on colored vinyl.

She died, alone, in 2008.

Vampira and Satan's Cheerleaders

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it.
    Her book would have probably been more interesting. I always liked to watch the interviews she used to give. She loved to talk.