Maila Nurmi was a FinnishAmerican actress born in Petsamo, Finland, who created the campy 1950s character Vampira. She portrayed Vampira as TVs first horror host and in the Ed Wood cult film Planfrom Outer Space. She is also billed as Vampira in the 1959 movie The Beat Generation where she plays a beatnik poet.
Born as Maila Elizabeth Niemi, she claimed to be the niece of the Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi, who began setting longdistance running world records in 1921, the year before her birth. She purportedly moved to the United States with her family when she was two years old and grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, home to the largest FinnishAmerican community in the state. She and her family may have lived in Ashtabula until 1939, when they moved to Oregon. However, according to Dana Gould who said he saw her birth certificate she was actually born in Gloucester, Mass.