Full Name: Cassandra Peterson
Birthday: September 17, 1951
Birth Sign: Virgo
Born: Manhattan, Kansas, United States
Height: 5‘ 7"
Net Worth: $3 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with a woman named Teresa
About Cassandra Peterson
Cassandra Peterson is an American actress, singer, author, and entrepreneur best known for her iconic portrayal of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Since debuting the character in 1981, Peterson has become a beloved pop culture icon thanks to her witty sense of humor, over-the-top style, and enthusiasm for the horror genre.
Peterson was born in Manhattan, Kansas in 1951. From a young age she was enthralled by horror and the macabre, tracing her love of spooky entertainment back to watching House of Frankenstein at age 5.
Becoming an Actress and Creating Elvira
In the late 1960s, teenage Cassandra hitchhiked to Las Vegas. She landed a job as a showgirl in Viva Les Girls, launching her career in entertainment. Throughout the 1970s, Peterson appeared in films like The Working Girls (1974) and shows like MASH (1972-1973).
Her big break came in 1981 when a TV station asked her to host a weekly horror movie show. Drawing inspiration from The Fearless Vampire Killers, Peterson created Elvira – a sexy-scary vamp in a cleavage-baring dress with towering hair. Elvira was an overnight sensation, starring in Movie Macabre and the 1988 feature film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
Elvira Becomes a Lucrative Pop Culture Icon
Over the past 40 years, Cassandra Peterson has expanded Elvira into one of the most recognizable pop culture brands ever. Her character has appeared in comics, video games, pinball machines, Halloween costumes, and even a theme park ride.
Elvira has been widely referenced and parodied across music, film, and television – from the Oak Ridge Boys to The Simpsons. Peterson‘s shrewd business sense and ownership of the character has led to great financial success.
Recent Years and Coming Out
In September 2022, at age 71, Peterson publicly came out in her memoir titled Yours Cruelly, Elvira. She revealed a 19-year relationship with a woman named Teresa.
Peterson continues to portray her iconic Elvira character today – making appearances, releasing merch, and cameoing in productions like Sharknado 5. She remains a relevant staple of horror pop culture even after 40 years.
Why Cassandra Peterson Matters
Throughout her 50+ year career, Cassandra Peterson as Elvira has made a significant cultural impact:
- Created one of the most iconic pop culture personas of all time
- Paved the way for women in horror and subverted traditional gender roles
- Used humor and satire to provide social commentary
- Expanded the character into a massively lucrative brand
- Influenced drag queens, horror hosts, costumes, and many macabre characters
- Remains relevant after 40 years as a horror pop culture icon
At 71, Peterson shows no signs of stopping. She continues breaking barriers and shining a light on the horror genre. Cassandra Peterson‘s creativity and business acumen have cemented her status as a true pop culture legend.