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On this page is useful inside information and full filmographies for

my 2 very favorite Hollywood legends,

who were coincidentally friends with each other.

At the bottom of this page are long-lost forgotten L.A. Horror Hosts

who kept up the horror tradition after Vampira (who sadly passed away in January 2008...)


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Date of Birth:  February 8,  1931, Marion, Indiana, USA
Date of Death:
September 30, 1955, Cholame, California, USA.  (car crash)
Mini Biography:
James Dean was raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. He received rave reviews for his work as the blackmailing Arab boy in the New York production of Gide's "The Immoralist", good enough to earn him a trip to Hollywood. His early film efforts were strictly bit parts: a sailor in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis overly frantic musical comedy Sailor Beware (1952); a GI in Samuel Fuller's moody study of a platoon in the Korean War, Fixed Bayonets! (1951) and a youth in the Piper Laurie-Rock Hudson comedy Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952). He had major roles in only three movies. In the Elia Kazan production of John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1955) he played Caleb, the "bad" brother who couldn't force affection from his stiff-necked father. His true starring role, the one which fixed his image forever in American culture, was that of the brooding red-jacketed teenager Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). George Stevens' filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956), in which he played the non-conforming cowhand Jett Rink, was just coming to a close when Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder, collided with another car in Cholame, California. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.
James Dean Trivia

Places Dean was last seen on September 29, 1955 at:


and on the morning of September 30, 1955 at:


The residence listed on his death certificate was:

14611 Sutton Street, Sherman Oaks

(south of Van Nuys, west of Studio City, and just a few miles

west of Warner Brothers Studios headquarters in Burbank, where Dean

of course was contracted, having just completed "Rebel Without A Cause"

and working on "Giant".  On August 1, 1955 he took a one year lease on it.

Dean's father's address (where Dean would sometimes visit) was:

1667 So. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles (incidentally near the location of the Nicole Brown-Simpson murder)


Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#42). [1995]

Ranked #33 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

The famous Failure Analysis Associates, from Menlo Park, California, re-constructed and re-created all details of the accident at the same approximate time on September 30th and have concluded that James Dean was travelling 55 to 56 m.p.h. when the fateful accident occurred, thereby proving he had not been speeding, as rumor had it.

Most of his so-called affairs with various starlets were made up by the Warner Brothers PR. He did have love affairs with Pier Angeli and Liz Sheridan.

He also worked as a "stunt tester" on the game show "Beat the Clock" (1950), testing the safety of the stunts that some of the studio audience members would later perform.

Interred at Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Indiana, USA.

Reportedly, Dean was very much in love with Pier Angeli and they planned to marry, but her mother blocked the union because Dean wasn't Catholic and she helped arrange Pier's marriage to Vic Damone. Before she committed suicide, Pier wrote that Dean was the only man she had ever really loved.

Briefly studied dance with Katherine Dunham.

Won the Bloom Award as "Best Newcomer" for early Broadway work in "The Immoralist".

He was issued a speeding ticket only two hours and fifteen minutes before his fatal accident.

The Eagles penned a lyric about him that went: "Too fast to live, too young to die."

The Beach Boys song "A Young Man is Gone" from their "Little Deuce Coupe" 1963 album.

Was the first actor to receive an Academy Award nomination posthumously, for his role in East of Eden (1955). He didn't win but definitely should have (over Ernest Borgnine in "Marty").

Grandson of Charles Dean and Emma Dean.

Nephew of Ortense Winslow (sister of his father) and Marcus Winslow.

Cousin of Marcus Winslow Jr.

Immortalized in 1974 by the song "Rock On" sung by David Essex. See also the cd "James Dean: Tribute to A Rebel".

Only actor in history to receive more than one Oscar nomination posthumously.

Pictured on a 32¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 24 June 1996.

Pledged Sigma Nu fraternity but dropped out of college before being initiated.

Ironically, he filmed a highway safety commercial with actor Gig Young on the set of Giant (1956) in July 1955. Dean told Young, "I used to fly around quite a bit, took a lot of unnecessary chances on the highway....Now when I drive on the highway, I'm extra cautious."

Donald Turnupseed, the driver of the other car involved in Dean's accident, died of cancer in 1995. Turnupseed couldn't swerve out of the way of Dean's Porsche Spyder, but he successfully swerved journalists who frequently pestered him for interviews about the accident.

He is one of several famous and tragic figures from history to be featured on the front and back sleeves of rock band Marillion's "Clutching at Straws" album, released in 1987.

East of Eden (1955) was the only one of the three movies in which he had major roles to be released while he was alive.

One of only four male actors to be posthumously nominated for an Oscar as best actor in a leading role. The others were Spencer Tracy, Peter Finch and Massimo Troisi.

Contrary to popular belief, Dean's middle name was not taken from Lord Byron, but from a relative, "Byron" Dean.

During the filming of Giant (1956), he and Rock Hudson did not get along. This tension heightened their on-screen clashes. However, according to Hudson's ex-wife Phyllis Gates, he cried after hearing the news of Dean's death. Gates wrote, "Rock couldn't be reached. He was overcome by guilt and shame, almost as though he himself had killed James Dean."

At the time of his death, Dean did not leave behind a will, so most of his possessions went to his father, Winton Dean, whose relationship with him was distant at best.

Was engaged to Liz Sheridan (from "Seinfeld"), who wrote a book about their love called "Dizzy and Jimmy".

Dean's acting breakthrough came on Broadway in the drama "See the Jaguar", despite its run of less than a week (only 4 days).

Along with Martin Sheen and Steve McQueen, is mentioned in R.E.M.'s song "Electrolite".

Referenced by name in the John Mellencamp song "Jack and Diane".

Was voted the 22nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Was a graduate from Santa Monica College, a California junior college that boasts its elite drama program. Went on to UCLA but left after appearing in one stage production, as Malcolm in "Macbeth", as he was anxious to get his acting career started.

According to "The Mutant King", David Dalton's 1974 biography of James Dean, the rumor that Dean was a masochist who liked to have cigarettes stubbed out on his naked body can be traced to a pencil sketch of his called "The Human Ash Tray". The sketch featured a human body, in the guise of an ash tray, with many cigarette stubs in it. Dalton speculates that the sketch has nothing to do with Dean's sexual proclivities but much to do with the fact that he was a heavy smoker.

Marlon Brando, in his 1994 autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me", says that Dean, who idolized him, based his acting on him and his lifestyle on what he thought Brando's lifestyle was.

Dated Ursula Andress when she was a starlet in Hollywood in the mid-1950s, as did his idol, Marlon Brando.

Elia Kazan, in his 1988 autobiography "A Life", says that during the production of East of Eden (1955), he had to have Dean move into a bungalow near his on the Warner Bros. lot to keep an eye on him, so wild was his nightlife.

Director Elia Kazan did not believe that Dean would have been able to sustain the momentum of his career. He felt that Dean's career, had he lived, would have sputtered out, as he was not well-trained and relied too much on his instincts, as opposed to his idol Marlon Brando, who, contrary to what people believed, had been very well-trained by his acting teacher Stella Adler and relied on that training to create his characters.

His favorite book was "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

He was voted the 30th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.

Was named #18 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute.

Loved playing practical jokes on friends and reading.

Is portrayed by James Franco in James Dean (2001) (TV); by Nick Carpenter in The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004) (TV); by Stephen McHattie in James Dean (1976) (TV) and by Casper Van Dien in James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) (TV).

Hilary Duff's 2005 "Most Wanted" album includes the song "Mr. James Dean", which is all about him.

Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"

Had a fondness for auto racing and had purchased the 1955 Porsche Spyder sports car, one of only 90 made of that year model, planning to participate in the upcoming races in Salinas, CA on Oct 1, 1955.

He was descended largely from early British settlers to America.

One of the many personalities mentioned in Billy Joel's song "We didn't start the fire" (1989).  He's also mentioned in John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane."

Received posthumous Oscar nominations for his his first and last ever screen performances: East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956).

Aping Marlon Brando, he also bought a Triumph motorcycle. Instead of Brando's 650cc 6T Thunderbird model, which he used in the film, The Wild One (1953), he bought the smaller 500cc TR5 Trophy model. This Triumph featured in a famous series of photographs by Phil Stern, the motorcycle itself being recovered, restored and currently displayed at the "James Dean Museum" in Fairmount, Indiana.

Lost his two front teeth in a motorcycle accident in his youth.

President Ronald Reagan referred to Dean as "America's Rebel".

Cousin of country singer/entrepreneur Jimmy Dean.

His favorite drink was coffee and his favorite ice cream flavors were coffee and raspberry.

His tastes in music were eclectic. He liked African Tribal music and Afro-Cuban music, as well as classical (Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky); jazz/blues(Billie Holiday) and pop (Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra). His favorite song was Billie Holiday's "When Your Lover Has Gone" and his favorite album was Sinatra's "Songs for Young Lovers".

His first professional acting gig was in a Coca-Cola commercial, handing out bottles of Coke to teenagers who were riding a merry-go-round.

His final screen test for East of Eden (1955) was shot with Paul Newman, who also was in the final running for one of the roles. Originally, director Elia Kazan had considered casting Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift in the roles of the two brothers, but they were too old to play teenagers as they were both in the their 30s in 1954. Newman's age, 29, also put him at a disadvantage. Dean, 23 years old and Richard Davalos, aged 19, were cast as the fraternal twins.

At the time of his death, Dean was signed to appear in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) at M.G.M. and The Left Handed Gun (1958) at Warner Bros. Both parts subsequently were taken by Paul Newman and helped make him a star. Newman's career may very well have been retarded if Dean had lived as, while still alive, they competed for the same roles (East of Eden (1955)).

Signed a 9-picture, $1 million deal with Warner Bros before his death. He did not live long enough to honor it.

Like his hero Marlon Brando (Dean had been separated from his own father as a child and was distant from him. Brando apparently served as a role model for Dean) Dean wanted to write. He told gossip columnist Hedda Hopper that writing was his supreme ambition.

According to Marlon Brando, Dean would often call him, leaving messages with Brando's answering service. Brando would sometimes listen, silently, as Dean instructed the service to have Brando call back. Brando, disturbed that Dean was copying his life-style (motorcyle, bongo drums) and acting techniques, did not return his calls. The two met at least three times: on the set of East of Eden (1955); on the set of Desirée (1954) and at a party, where Brando took Dean aside and told him he had emotional problems that required psychiatric attention.

While a struggling actor in the 1950s, he once lived at 19 West 68th Street, off Manhattan's Central Park West.

Was good friends with Martin Landau.

His performance as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is ranked #43 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).

Just before his death, his agent, Jane Deacy, negotiated a 9-picture deal over 6 years with Warner Bros. worth $900,000. Dean's next project was to be a television version for NBC of Emlyn Williams' play "The Corn is Green", in which he was to star with Judith Anderson. His next film was to be Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), a biopic of boxer Rocky Graziano, for which Warners were loaning him to MGM and in which he was replaced by Paul Newman. Newman also replaced him in the role of Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun (1958). Three other roles with which he was being linked were the leads in Gun for a Coward (1957), This Angry Age (1958) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).

Was Oscar nominated in 2-thirds of his films, a record which will probably never be bettered.

He was given a Siamese cat as gift by Elizabeth Taylor.

Was terribly near-sighted and wore thick glasses when not on screen.

Referenced by name in the Skid Row song, "Forever" ("wild cigarettes like James Dean").

Was the biggest idol of Elvis Presley, who called him a "genius" in a television interview.

Mentioned in Don McLean's hit song "American Pie".

Was originally considered on the leading role of "Oklahoma!" (1955).

James Dean Personal Quotes

Only the gentle are ever really strong.

Gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.

Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.

An actor must interpret life and, in order to do so, must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet. In the short span of his lifetime, an actor must learn all there is to know, experience all there is to experience, or approach that state as closely as possible. He must be superhuman in his efforts to store away in the core of his subconscious everything that he might be called upon to use in the expression of his art.

It was an accident, although I've been involved in some kind of theatrical function or other since I was a child: in school, music, athletics. To me, acting is the most logical way for people's neuroses to manifest themselves, in this great need we all have to express ourselves. To my way of thinking, an actor's course is set even before he's out of the cradle.

To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty; to interpret it his problem and to express it his dedication. Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have. Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done.

Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn't hiss or boo me. I also became close to nature and am now able to appreciate the beauty with which this world is endowed.

When told he was too short to be an actor: "How can you measure acting in inches?"

"Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow yourself to be opinionated. You must say, 'Wait. Let me see.' And above all, you must be honest with yourself." - to Hedda Hopper

When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn't acting. It's following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. So the director's task is just that to direct, to point the way. Then the actor takes over. And he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role. Without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons.

I'm not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back.

If a man can bridge the gap between life and death ... I mean, if he can live on after his death, then maybe he was a great man.

Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done.

(On acting) You can do Hamlet while performing long as the audience sees your eyes - you can make the performance real.


Giant (1956) just $21,000

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations


  1. Giant (1956) .... Jett Rink
  2. "Crossroads" (1 episode, 1955)
    Broadway Trust (1955) TV Episode
  3. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) .... Jim Stark
  4. "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" .... Jeffrey Latham (1 episode, 1955)
    ... aka Herald Playhouse (USA: syndication title)
    ... aka Schlitz Playhouse (USA: new title)
    ... aka The Playhouse (USA: syndication title)
    The Unlighted Road (1955) TV Episode .... Jeffrey Latham
  5. "Lux Video Theatre" .... The Boy (2 episodes, 1952-1955)
    ... aka Summer Video Theatre (USA: summer title)
    The Life of Emile Zola (1955) TV Episode
    The Foggy, Foggy Dew (1952) TV Episode .... The Boy
  6. East of Eden (1955) .... Cal Trask
    ... aka John Steinbeck's East of Eden (USA: complete title)
  7. "The United States Steel Hour" .... Fernand Lagarde (1 episode, 1955)
    ... aka The U.S. Steel Hour (USA: alternative title)
    The Thief (1955) TV Episode .... Fernand Lagarde
  8. "General Electric Theater" .... The Boy (2 episodes, 1954)
    ... aka G.E. Theater (USA: informal short title)
    The Dark, Dark Hours (1954) TV Episode
    I'm a Fool (1954) TV Episode .... The Boy
  9. "Danger" .... Augie / ... (4 episodes, 1953-1954)
    Padlocks (1954) TV Episode .... Augie
    The Little Woman (1954) TV Episode
    Death Is My Neighbor (1953) TV Episode .... J.B.
    No Room (1953) TV Episode
  10. "The Philco Television Playhouse" .... Rob (1 episode, 1954)
    ... aka Arena Theatre (USA: new title)
    ... aka Repertory Theatre (USA: new title)
    ... aka The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (USA: new title)
    Run Like a Thief (1954) TV Episode .... Rob
  11. Harvest (1953) (TV) .... Paul Zalinka
  12. "Robert Montgomery Presents" .... Paul Zalenka (1 episode, 1953)
    ... aka Lucky Strike Theater
    ... aka Montgomery's Summer Stock
    ... aka The Robert Montgomery Summer Theater
    Harvest (1953) TV Episode .... Paul Zalenka
  13. "Armstrong Circle Theatre" .... Joey Frazier (1 episode, 1953)
    The Bells of Cockaigne (1953) TV Episode .... Joey Frazier
  14. "Kraft Television Theatre" .... Joe Harris (3 episodes, 1952-1953)
    ... aka Kraft Mystery Theatre (USA: new title)
    ... aka Kraft Theatre (USA: new title)
    A Long Time Till Dawn (1953) TV Episode .... Joe Harris
    Keep Our Honor Bright (1953) TV Episode
    Prologue to Glory (1952) TV Episode
  15. "Campbell Playhouse" .... Hank Bradon / ... (2 episodes, 1953)
    ... aka Campbell Soundstage (USA: new title)
    ... aka Campbell Summer Soundstage (USA: new title)
    Life Sentence (1953) TV Episode .... Hank Bradon
    Something for an Empty Briefcase (1953) TV Episode .... Joe Adams
  16. "Omnibus" (1 episode, 1953)
    Glory in the Flower (1953) TV Episode
  17. "The Big Story" .... Rex Newman (1 episode, 1953)
    Rex Newman, Reporter for the Globe and News (1953) TV Episode .... Rex Newman
  18. "Studio One" .... Hotel Bellboy / ... (3 episodes, 1952-1953)
    ... aka Studio One Summer Theatre (USA: summer title)
    ... aka Studio One in Hollywood (USA: new title)
    ... aka Summer Theatre (USA: summer title)
    ... aka Westinghouse Studio One (USA)
    ... aka Westinghouse Summer Theatre (USA: summer title)
    Sentence of Death (1953) TV Episode .... Joe Palica
    Abraham Lincoln (1952) TV Episode .... William Scott
    Ten Thousand Horses Singing (1952) TV Episode .... Hotel Bellboy
  19. "Tales of Tomorrow" .... Ralph (1 episode, 1953)
    The Evil Within (1953) TV Episode .... Ralph
  20. "Treasury Men in Action" .... Arbie Ferris / ... (2 episodes, 1953)
    ... aka Your Treasury Men in Action
    The Case of the Sawed-Off Shotgun (1953) TV Episode .... Arbie Ferris
    The Case of the Watchful Dog (1953) TV Episode .... Randy Meeker
  21. "You Are There" .... Jesse James (1 episode, 1953)
    The Capture of Jesse James (1953) TV Episode .... Jesse James
  22. "The Kate Smith Hour" (1 episode, 1953)
    Hounds of Heaven (1953) TV Episode
  23. Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) (uncredited) .... Youth at soda fountain
  24. "Hallmark Hall of Fame" .... Bradford (1 episode, 1952)
    ... aka Hallmark Television Playhouse
    Forgotten Children (1952) TV Episode .... Bradford
  25. "The Web" (1 episode, 1952)
    Sleeping Dogs (1952) TV Episode
  26. Sailor Beware (1952) (uncredited) .... Boxing opponent's second
  27. "CBS Television Workshop" .... G.I. (1 episode, 1952)
    Into the Valley (1952) TV Episode .... G.I.
  28. "The Stu Erwin Show" (1 episode, 1951)
    ... aka Trouble with Father (USA)
    Jackie Knows All (1951) TV Episode
  29. Fixed Bayonets! (1951) (uncredited) .... GI
  30. "The Bigelow Theatre" .... Hank (1 episode, 1951)
    ... aka Bigelow-Sanford Theater (USA: second season title)
    T.K.O. (1951) TV Episode .... Hank
  31. "Family Theatre" .... John (1 episode, 1951)
    ... aka Father Peyton's Family Theatre (alternative title)
    Hill Number One (1951) TV Episode .... John
Miscellaneous Crew:
  1. "Beat the Clock" (1950) TV Series (stunt tester) (unknown episodes, 1950)
As Self:
  1. Warner Pathé News Issue # 87 (1955) .... Himself
  2. 'Giant' Stars Are Off to Texas (1955) (uncredited) .... Himself
  3. A Star Is Born World Premiere (1954) (TV) .... Himself (in crowd)
Archive Footage:
  1. "Living Famously"
    James Dean (2006) TV Episode .... Himself
  2. Living Famously: James Dean (2006) (TV) .... Himself
  3. "Rentadora, La"
    Coses d'ahir i avui (2006) TV Episode
  4. "Getaway"
    Episode #14.34 (2005) TV Episode .... Jim Stark
  5. James Dean - Kleiner Prinz, little Bastard (2005) (TV) .... Himself
  6. Cineastes contra magnats (2005) (uncredited) .... Jim Stark (in "Rebel Without a Cause")
  7. "The World's Most Photographed" (2005) (mini) .... Himself
  8. "Miradas 2"
    Episode dated 2 June 2005 (2005) TV Episode .... Himself
  9. James Dean: Forever Young (2005) .... Himself
  10. "American Masters"
    James Dean: Sense Memories (2005) TV Episode .... Himself
  11. James Dean - Mit Vollgas durchs Leben (2005) (TV) .... Himself
  12. Geschichte des erotischen Films, Die (2004) (TV)
  13. 101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment (2003) (TV) .... Himself
  14. James Dean and Marlon Brando (2003) (TV) (uncredited) .... Himself
  15. Return to 'Giant' (2003) (V) (uncredited) .... Himself
  16. Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) (TV) (uncredited) .... Himself
  17. James Dean: Born Cool (2001) (V) .... Himself
  18. The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) (TV) (uncredited) .... The Rebel
  19. Elizabeth Taylor: England's Other Elizabeth (2000) (TV)
  20. Elizabeth Taylor: A Musical Celebration (2000) (TV) (uncredited)
  21. ABC 2000: The Millennium (1999) (TV)
  22. Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary: No Guts, No Glory (1998) (TV) (uncredited)
  23. Memories of 'Giant' (1998) (V) (uncredited) .... Himself
  24. James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) (TV) (uncredited) .... Jim Stark
  25. Great Romances of the 20th Century: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (1997) (TV)
  26. Rediscovering a Rebel (1996) (TV) .... Himself
  27. James Dean: A Portrait (1996) (TV) .... Himself (1955 public service film)
  28. James Dean and Me (1995) (TV) .... Himself
  29. "Fame in the Twentieth Century" (1993) (uncredited) .... Himself
  30. Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992)
  31. Death Scenes 2 (1992) (V) (uncredited) .... Himself
  32. Idols (1991) (TV) .... Himself
  33. Hollywood Heaven: Tragic Lives, Tragic Deaths (1990) (V) .... Himself
  34. Forever James Dean (1988) .... Himself
  35. Faces of Torture (1988) (V)
  36. George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984) .... Clip from 'Giant'
  37. Hollywood Outtakes (1983) .... Himself
  38. America at the Movies (1976) .... Himself
  39. James Dean: The First American Teenager (1975) (TV) .... Himself
  40. The James Dean Story (1957) .... Himself ('East of Eden' screen test footage)
  41. "The Steve Allen Show"
    Episode #2.5 (1956) TV Episode .... Himself




       LONG LIVE                                       MAILA NURMI

please see for more information

Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira
(December 21, 1921 – January 10, 2008)
On Thursday, January 10, 2008,
Nurmi died at her home in Hollywood.
She was 86 and had had lived in Los Angeles since moving here in 1939 at the tender age of 18.

The original glamour ghoul herself, "Vampira," of late night 50s TV, was actually born Maila Syrjäniemi (later changed to the easier surname Nurmi) on December 11, 1921, in Petsamo, Finland (now part Pechenga, Russia). Her uncle was the multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi. Maila arrived in the United States with her family as a baby and lived a rather nomadic existence at first as her father was a writer who lectured on temperance.

It was director Howard Hawks, of all people, who discovered Maila while she was performing in Michael Todd's Grand Guignol midnight show "Spook Scandals." Hawks escorted the lovely blonde beauty to Hollywood with the hopes of grooming her into the next Lauren Bacall. Cast in the film version of the Russian novel "Dreadful Hollow," the project was put on hold so many times that Maila walked out of her contract in frustration. She became a cheesecake model and an Earl Carroll dancer for several years in his revues, sharing a chorus line at one time with future burlesque stripper Lili St. Cyr.

Married at the time to child actor-turned-screenwriter Dean Riesner, she came up with the idea of "Vampira" at a masquerade contest where she based her costume on Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons. Heavily painted up with long fingernails, a mane of raven-colored hair, and slim-waisted black attire, the Morticia gimmick won the best costume award that night...and more. She caught the attention of local TV and was placed under contract to Channel 7 in Hollywood to see if she could encourage late night viewers to stay up and watch its regular programming of cheapjack horror schlock. The macabre madam was a genuine hit (for one season, at least, in 1954-1955), adding a sexy nuance and silly double entendres to her campy horror set. She earned an Emmy nomination in 1954 for "Most Outstanding Female Personality." During this time she was a close friend of James Dean in Hollywood. Fan clubs sprouted up all over the world. She appeared in "Life," "TV Guide" and "Newsweek" magazine articles, and could be seen around and about town and in Las Vegas judging contests and making variety special appearances. Songs were written about the "Queen of Horror" (hear Bobby Bare's 1958 Halloween novelty song "Vampira" on the compilation "Horror Hop", and the Misfits' different song "Vampira" on their "Walk Among Us" lp or 4cd box set). She even appeared with arms outstretched and ghoulishly attired in the worst cinematic turkey of all time, Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), as Bela Lugosi's zombie-like mate, for which she is infamously associated. Lugosi actually was a fan of hers and had always wanted to work with her. Wood shot some footage of her years later as a tribute to Lugosi (he died in 1956 during filming) and added it before the film's release.

By the late 50s, Maila's extended "15 minutes" of fame was over. With her career at stake (pun intended), she stretched things out with haphazard appearances in abysmal movies The Beat Generation (1959); Sex Kittens Go to College (1960)] before closing the lid permanently on "Vampira." In later years, Maila divorced her writer/husband and became passionately involved in animal protection rights. A painter on the sly, she created some "Vampira" portraits that became a collector's item. Living very modestly in Southern California, she did appear in a tiny gag cameo in the film I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998).  She Once sued Cassandra Peterson, claiming that her "Elvira" persona was modeled after what she created as Vampira. She is believed to be the first television "horror host."

Vampira's Filmography:s

  1. I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998) (as Maila Nurmi) .... Woman in Hotel Lobby
    ... aka Ed Wood's I Woke Up Early the Day I Died
    ... aka I Awoke Early the Day I Died (USA)
  2. Dry (1996) .... Vanha nainen

  3. Population One (1986)

  4. The Magic Sword (1962) (as Maila Nurmi) .... The Hag/The Sorceress
    ... aka St. George and the Dragon
    ... aka St. George and the Seven Curses
    ... aka The Seven Curses of Lordac
  5. Sex Kittens Go to College (1960) .... Etta Toodie
    ... aka Teacher Versus Sexpot
    ... aka The Beauty and the Robot
  6. I Passed for White (1960) (uncredited)

  7. The Big Operator (1959) .... Gina
    ... aka Anatomy of the Syndicate (USA: reissue title)
  8. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) .... Vampire Girl
  9. The Beat Generation (1959) .... Poetess
    ... aka This Rebel Age (USA: reissue title)
  10. Too Much, Too Soon (1958) (uncredited)

  11. If Winter Comes (1947) (uncredited) .... Guest
  1. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) (vampira makeup) (uncredited)
As Self:
  1. American Scary (2006) (as Maila Nurmi) .... Herself
  2. "Dead Famous" .... Herself (1 episode, 2004)
    James Dean (2004) TV Episode (as Maila Nurmi) .... Herself
  3. Monsterama: A Tribute to Horror Hosts (2004) (TV) .... Herself
  4. Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) (as Maila Nurmi) .... Herself

  5. The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood Jr. (1996) .... Herself
  6. Vampira (1995) .... Herself
    ... aka Vampira: About Sex, Death and Taxes (International: English title)
  7. Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The 'Plan 9' Companion (1992) (V) .... Herself
    ... aka The Ed Wood Story: The Plan 9 Companion (reissue title)

  8. "The Incredibly Strange Film Show" .... Herself (1 episode)
    ... aka Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show (UK: second season title)
    Ed Wood (????) TV Episode (as Maila Nurmi) .... Herself

  9. James Dean: The First American Teenager (1975) (TV) (as Maila Nurmi) .... Herself

  10. "The Vampira Show" (1954) TV Series .... Herself
    ... aka Movie Macabre? (USA)


Lost Angels:

Horrors! LA's forgotten Horror Hosts




Los Angeles has had more horror hosts than you can shake a stake at.

Unfortunately, they seem to be mostly forgotten except in the minds of their fans. This is a list of some of the "hosts of yore" childhood, and a little of what made them great.











Ottola Nesmith may have the distinction of being the nations second horror hostess after Vampira. She quite possibly appeared on KTLA during the mid to late 50's (possibly 1956-57). She portrayed an Arsenic and Old Lace-type of character, a sort of "Little Old Lady from Transylvania". This Ghoul Gal would ask "May I pour you a cup tea?" from her own cobwebbed attic.

Ottola Nesmith had first appeared in movies, when movies first appeared around 1910. Her career lasted up to the 1960's and into television with guest shots on Bewitched and The Wild, Wild West. Maila Nurmi (Vampira) has said that she thought Ottola Nesmith was one of the best horror hosts ever and one of her personal favorites.











Jeepers Creepers Theater began its life on KCOP (a Chris-Craft station)Channel 13 in 1962 with Bob Guy as the horror host Jeepers Creepers. Bob Guy was the program director for KCOP and Jeepers Creepers theater had many spookily fun characters such as a shrunken head named Julie, a lizard named Billy Joe, Boris the stuffed werewolf, Pumpkin the rat, a skull named Aunt Minnie and her smaller skull relative Doris. Jeepers ran around with large bushy brows and bulging eyes. Go to the Keeper of the Creepers Flame: Jim Fetter's Jeepers Creepers Shrine.








When in 1963 Jeepers Creepers Theater was continued, a new hostess was brought on board by the name of Ghoulita. Zombie girl-style, she had a frizzy white wig and large black circles around eyes that would stare right into the camera.

Before the year ended, she would be replaced with Jeepers Keeper who portrayed an undead version of Jeepers Creepers. Fred Stuthman was a veteran actor whose credits (besides that of Jeepers Keeper) included the movies: Network and Marathon Man. His sidekick for the show was the "Little Old Lady from Pasadena", who was actually a dummy with a very rattly old skull.







The fourth and final entry as host of Jeepers Creepers Theater was known as The Creeper. Jim Sullivan, writer and producer of Jeepers Creepers Theater from the start, took over the acting chores as The Creeper.








The Creeper crept from 1965 to 1966 where it ended in a one hour special live telecast. The telecast was billed as 'House of Horror' a live theater experiment.









By the mid-seventies at KCOP, another horror host was helming the airwaves as Famous Morris. Famous Morris lasted less than a year, but is remembered as a chubby devil, with hood and horns, who spent a lot of time talking to his "boss" on a plastic pay phone.




Over at KHJ Channel 9, Grimsley was creating more of a stir. It was 1976 and Grimsley was the new host of Fright Night on Saturday nights. Robert Foster played Grimsley, a vampire that wore gray greasepaint, mustache and frizzy hair. His set was much like an attic, covered in candelabras and cobwebs and coffin. He started each show rising from his coffin. He made personal appearances at the El Portal theatre in North Hollywood, where he did a live show and he hosted two movies, The Vampires and Arnold. (Click on Arnold's name to hear a promotional spot for the movie). By 1977 he was acting Grand Marshal at Magic Mountain amusement park and appeared there at Halloween. Grimsley's Fright Night lasted up till 1979.



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