Cassandra Peterson was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At age 17, she began performing as a showgirl at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, then traveled to Europe where she pursued a career as a singer and actor. Upon returning to the states, Peterson toured America as star of her own musical-comedy show, Mama's Boys. She eventually settled in Hollywood, where she spent four years with L.A.'s foremost improvisational comedy group, The Groundlings. In 1981, she auditioned for the part of "horror hostess" on a local Los Angeles station. That show, Movie Macabre, and her newly created character, Elvira, became an overnight sensation and gained national syndication. Peterson also co-wrote, produced, and starred in two feature length films: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Elvira's Haunted Hills. She has spent four decades solidifying her unique brand and building it into an internationally recognized pop culture icon synonymous with Halloween and the horror genre.