Long time performer Elvira will take the stage one last time on Halloween evening.


The so-called Mistress of the Dark, 66, is retiring as a live performer after almost 50 years in the business. She will perform at Knott’s Berry Farm on Tuesday night, where she has been headlining the nightly show for 21 years.

“I just decided that, you know, doing live shows is really difficult and it takes up a big chunk of time every year,” said Elvira, who was born Cassandra Peterson. Though retiring from live performing, Elvira says she is not done with performing altogether. “I would love to be back on TV with a regular show. We’ll see how it goes. And maybe in between there, have a life,” she joked.

In an interview, the actress recalled how she first got into the industry, and why she wasn’t that excited about it. A local news network called her in need of a horror movie night show. “When I got the call, and then I got the job, I wasn’t that excited. It was for local TV and wasn’t paying very much at all – $300 a week before taxes,” she remembered. “It wasn’t something to really survive on but I was happy to have any job. I wouldn’t have dreamed in a million years that it would have taken off and turned into a career and I’d be doing it 36 years later.”

Eventually, someone from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson called her up for an appearance on the show, and that signaled the start of her career.

Elvira also explained that her plate is relatively full with projects she wants to work on, which is why she’s stopping her usual on-stage routines. “Part of the reason I’m not doing the show is I have three projects I really want to concentrate on. One is an animated TV show that I’ve been working on for a long time. One is my autobiography, which I’ve been working on forever and if I don’t set some kind of date and finish it, it’s never going to happen,” she said. “And one is a possible television project. I’m working on getting all of those out and really also need to free up some time to concentrate on those because when you take three months out of the year ever year, I feel like I never get anything done.”

While she’s going to miss performing at Knott’s Berry Farm, Elvira is excited to do it one last time. “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark” begins at 9 pm on Oct. 31.

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