Cassandra Peterson with a microphone. —Photo by Gage Skidmore
Cassandra Peterson (born September 17, 1951) is an American actress. She is best known for her portrayal of the horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Peterson gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ-TV in her stage persona as Elvira, hosting Elvira’s Movie Macabre, a weekly B movie presentation. A member of the L.A.-based improvisational and sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings, Peterson based her Elvira persona in part on a “valley girl”-type character she created while a member of the troupe.
During a 2011 interview Peterson stated that as a child she was more fascinated by horror-themed toys while other girls were occupied with Barbie dolls. In elementary school, she watched House on Haunted Hill, the ﬁrst horror ﬁlm she ever saw.