Cassandra Peterson, Elvira's alter ego, was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She remembers always being a fan of Ann-Margret. Since Cassandra saw her in Viva Las Vegas (1964), she wanted to be a dancer. Just days after graduating from high school, Cassandra traveled to Las Vegas where, at the age of 17, she became the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas history. When Elvis Presley saw her perform he encouraged her to pursue a singing career. She toured Europe extensively as lead singer for an Italian rock band. She settled in Rome, where she became fluent in Italian. Here Cassandra met Federico Fellini, who cast her in his classic film, Fellini's Roma (1972). Returning to the US, Cassandra formed her own nightclub review, "Mama's Boys", which toured the national club circuit. In the late 1970s she joined the satiric improvisational troupe, The Groundlings, which also produced such stars as Paul Reubens (aka "Pee Wee Herman"). There she honed her now renowned comedic skills as both a writer and performer. Film and television appearances such as Cheech & Chong's Next Movie (1980) and others followed, but Cassandra was just the typical struggling actress and spent years wondering where her next meal was coming from. It was the fall of 1981, with the birth of her character, Elvira, that it all changed. While she has since played herself in many film and television shows, Cassandra Peterson ultimately combines her numerous talents into an intriguing persona which has not only become a Halloween icon, but a "vamp" for all seasons.