Maila Nurmi, the beautiful and sheltered daughter of Finnish immigrants, stepped off the bus in 1941 Los Angeles intent on finding fame and fortune. She found men eager to take advantage of her innocence and beauty but was determined to find success and love. Her inspired design and portrayal of a vampire won a costume contest that lead to a small role on the Red Skelton show which grew into a persona that brought her the notoriety she desired yet trapped her in a character she could never truly escape.
This is Malia’s story. Her diaries, notes, and ephemera and family stories bring new insights to her relationships with Orson Welles, James Dean, and Marlon Brando. Sandra Niemi—Malia’s niece—fills in the nuances of her life prior to fame and her struggles after the limelight faded and she found a new community within the burgeoning Los Angeles punk scene who embraced her as their own.
Includes rare photographs.