Maila Nurmi

1922 - 2008

The original glamour ghoul herself, "Vampira", of late night 1950s television, was actually born Maila Syrjäniemi (later changed to the easier surname Nurmi) on December 11, 1922 in Petsamo, Finland. 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 str

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