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Also Known As: Maila Nurmi Died: January 10, 2008
Born: December 11, 1921 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Finland Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born Maila Nurmi (a name she has used professionally at times), this tall, Finnish-born cult figure is best known as Vampira, the ghoulish, wasp-waisted personality who appeared in a number of features. Vampira, she of the deadened staring eyes, tight-fitting funereal garb, and white pancake makeup, became involved in the "Beat" scene in the mid-1950s. A friend in this bohemian circuit was no less than James Dean, and after his death, Vampira published a piece claiming that she was in "telephonic" contact with his ghost (this despite the fact that her own telephone was disconnected). Eventually, she had to move out of her home because of the flood of Dean fans who kept bothering her.Around this time Vampira began playing bit parts in a handful of feature films, the best known of which is Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s hilariously incompetent cult classic, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1956). As one of the dead raised to help take over the Earth, Vampira and fellow zombie Tor Johnson were fully equal to the dramatic demands placed upon them. She later appeared as a Beat poet in "The Beat Generation" (1959), played a bit in the comedy "Sex Kittens Go to College" (1960), and made a striking appearance as a hag in...

Born Maila Nurmi (a name she has used professionally at times), this tall, Finnish-born cult figure is best known as Vampira, the ghoulish, wasp-waisted personality who appeared in a number of features. Vampira, she of the deadened staring eyes, tight-fitting funereal garb, and white pancake makeup, became involved in the "Beat" scene in the mid-1950s. A friend in this bohemian circuit was no less than James Dean, and after his death, Vampira published a piece claiming that she was in "telephonic" contact with his ghost (this despite the fact that her own telephone was disconnected). Eventually, she had to move out of her home because of the flood of Dean fans who kept bothering her.

Around this time Vampira began playing bit parts in a handful of feature films, the best known of which is Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s hilariously incompetent cult classic, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1956). As one of the dead raised to help take over the Earth, Vampira and fellow zombie Tor Johnson were fully equal to the dramatic demands placed upon them. She later appeared as a Beat poet in "The Beat Generation" (1959), played a bit in the comedy "Sex Kittens Go to College" (1960), and made a striking appearance as a hag in Bert I. Gordon's beguiling fantasy, "The Magic Sword" (1962). Vampira made personal and media appearances for years, though as time passed it was often hard to tell whether it was "the original" or one of her many imitators. She was played by model/actress Lisa Marie in Tim Burton's affectionate biopic, "Ed Wood" (1994).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 The Magic Sword (1962)
4.
 The Magic Sword (1962) Hag/intruder
5.
 Sex Kittens Go to College (1960) Etta Toodie
6.
 I Passed for White (1960) Girl poet
7.
 The Big Operator (1959) Gina
8.
 The Beat Generation (1959) The Poetess
9.
 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) Vampire girl
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Milestones close milestones

1938:
Moved to US (date approximate)
:
First professional job, chorus girl in a musical starring Mae West
:
Moved to L.A.
1956:
Earliest feature appearances included her role in the cult film, "Plan 9 from Outer Space"
:
Claimed that she was in telephonic contact with the late James Dean, who had been a friend of hers; her residence attracted so many people that she eventually had to move out
1959:
Played in several non-horror films including "The Beat Generation" and "The Big Operator"
1962:
Later feature film roles included a part in the fantasy film, "The Magic Sword"
1994:
Was played by Lisa Marie (a.k.a. Lisa Marie Smith) in the feature biopic, "Ed Wood"
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Notes

Subject of the 1996 doucmentary, "Vampira: About Sex, Death, and Taxes" written, produced and directed by Mika J. Rapatti

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