Maila Nurmi

Maila Nurmi (December 11, 1922 – January 10, 2008) was a Finnish-American actress who created the campy 1950s character Vampira. She portrayed Vampira as TV's first horror host and in the Ed Wood cult film Plan 9 from Outer Space. She also appeared in the 1959 movie The Beat Generation as Vampira. Born as Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi, she claimed to be the niece of the Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi, who began setting long-distance running world records in 1921, the year before her birth. She moved to the United States with her family when she was two years old and grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, home to the largest Finnish-American community in the state. She and her family lived in Ashtabula until 1939, when they moved to Oregon. She graduated from high school in Astoria, Oregon, before arriving in Los Angeles. She modeled for Alberto Vargas, Bernard of Hollywood and Man Ray, gaining a foothold in the film industry with an uncredited role in Victor Saville's 1947 film, If Winter Comes. She reportedly was fired by Mae West from the cast of West's Broadway play Catherine Was Great in 1944 because West feared that she was being upstaged.

Actor

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