Yours Cruelly, Elvira - Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark Book (Paperback)
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RELEASE DATE - 13 OCTOBER 2022
**Instant New York Times Bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Bestseller**
On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolised Vincent Price.
Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band.
She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul "Pee-wee" Reubens, honing her comedic skills.
Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir.
Cassandra doesn't shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.
"The writing in the memoir is deeply personal and heartfelt, detailing Peterson's relationships with her parents, her siblings and her partners throughout the years. Seemingly she doesn't hold back on details, allowing the audience to appreciate a life lived, with many lessons learned along the way....Ostensibly Yours Cruelly, Elvira is a book for horror fans and lovers of this character, and no doubt if a devotee remembers tuning in on Saturday nights to see Elvira introduce the horror flick of the week, there's a lot of nostalgia within these pages. However, Peterson is after something more profound and revelatory than mere nostalgia. Her stories are meant to teach lessons, bear witness and show just how wild a life's journey can be from the farms of Kansas to the top of the media world....This is not Elvira's book, it's Peterson's, and that's a good thing."
"For chilly nights, stay at home and read Yours Cruelly, Elvira, the dishy new memoir from Elvira (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson), the longtime horror movie hostess and entrepreneur."
New York Times
"If you've ever wondered if there are 1000 fascinating stories behind the iconic character, the answer is yes....The book is full of a million ways she became that way."
"Yours Cruelly, Elvira is packed with insider details and a few shocking surprises which no one saw coming, except folks closest to her plunging neckline....Peterson's memoir is written in much the same style as her persona and delivers her mildly sardonic yet warmly funny lines easily, but it's not all jokes and sarcasm. There's an honesty that satisfyingly saturates these chapters. Fans will savour personal stories about her rocky upbringing, her determination to make it in Hollywood, and, most touchingly, her deep shock and sadness at losing several close friends to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic while attempting to remain focused on her career. There are a few zingers Peterson elaborates on which will undoubtedly surprise even hardcore fans of this dark enchantress."
Bay Area Reporter
"Cassandra Peterson reveals how she became the Mistress of the Dark, and her tale is far more complex than one might expect....Through it all, Peterson maintains the dry sense of humour beloved by viewers since her Movie Macabre days, showing off her affection for corny puns even when she's recalling painful memories. Her book is a must-read for anyone interested in 1970s Hollywood, horror movies, or just Elvira herself--a pop culture icon of the highest order."
"A hauntingly beautiful memoir of one of the most iconic figures of the macabre. Just when I thought I couldn't fall in love with Elvira any more, this book took my admiration to a whole other level."
Kat Von D
"Elvira the character is a tantalising gothic pop icon, a living Halloween costume, a kitschy, clever, comely chanteuse with brains. But Cassandra, the multi-talented woman inside that character, has lived an incredible life full of experiences that make most people's best days sound like dime-store humdrum."