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Before She Was Elvira, Cassandra Peterson Flourished As A Las Vegas Showgirl

Cassandra Peterson's first day on the job as Elvira in 1981.
Courtesy of Cassandra Peterson

Cassandra Peterson's first day on the job as Elvira in 1981.

Everyone knows Elvira.

The iconic, vampy-but-campy character, who became popular hosting horror-movie programs on TV, is now a brand easily found in Halloween stores, arcades and hobby stores. 

Her likeness is even found on slots inside casinos. Which makes sense, given that the actress who portrays her — Cassandra Peterson — got her start as a showgirl right here in Las Vegas.

Even though few know that fact, Peterson's Las Vegas roots have always been evident, right down to the finale of her cult-classic 1988 movie, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Peterson recently published her autobiography, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark. In that book, she writes extensively about her time in Las Vegas, as well as her rise to fame, the pitfalls that came with that ascent, and her 19-year relationship with a woman that she's kept private up until now. 


Cassandra Peterson, actress, TV personality and author 

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.