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Publisher's Summary

The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells - and told by the bombshell herself. 

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 percent 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 played with model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula and idolized 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 troupe 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 heartbreaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long, strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Cassandra Peterson (P)2021 Hachette Books

Editor's Pick

Give me all the Elvira, please
If there were justice in Hollywood, there would be no such thing as a casting couch, underrepresented groups wouldn’t have to fight so hard to get so little, and no one would have to ask ''Who is Elvira?'' again. I’ve answered the question to my share of whippersnappers, finding that ''the goth Dolly Parton'' is useful shorthand for the B-movie queen’s macabre version of exaggerated femininity, wielded in the service of iconic camp and, yes, feminism. As a kid, I watched her feature film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, so many times I practically knew it by heart, recognizing that her appeal was about more than her vampy, campy persona. Like Dolly, she used her considerable physical assets and comic genius to knock down the doors of a misogynist industry—in her case, horror instead of country music. Elvira, whose real name is Cassandra Peterson, is now 70, and her new memoir cements her legacy—a scrappy and hilarious collection of insider tales from a woman who knew everyone and did everything her way. When she was just a year old, Peterson pulled a pot of boiling water onto herself, burning much of her body and transforming her outlook forever. The farm kid from Kansas was destined for a different life, and in the company of her inimitable voice, you’ll hear allllll about it, in devilish detail. At a time when women were supposed to choose between being funny or sexy, Elvira was brilliant at both—and she still is. Grab your eyeliner and pay some respect. —Kat J., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Yours Cruelly, Elvira

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Chapter 14 cut off

This is an amazing book, and the audiobook is performed by Cassandra which is a major plus. The only issue is that the end of chapter 14 is cut off mid sentence. Hopefully this will be corrected soon and updated. I’ve contacted Audible support to make them aware of it. Thankfully I also have the hardback version so I can see what happened.

38 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Cassandra Peterson has had a crazy,fascinating life.Greatly narrated by Peterson.Highly recommend for any fan of the horror/comedy icon

15 people found this helpful

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I love this.Touched my heart as a fan

This audio was amazing and a biography I needed to hear. Probed what is on the outside their is Soo much more. I loved Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) since teen-hood. From film to music compilations.
Her story has showed me that growth is key. Growth takes time and we all can heal from the pains of life. She will probably never see this review, but this audiobook has given me the inspiration to start over. My new chapter in life begins today. Thank you Elvira...and oh yeah Unpleasant Dreaaammzzz.

11 people found this helpful

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left clutching for ending of chapter 14

end of chapter 14 skips out to chapter 15. maybe audible issue? over all 100% the best storytelling I have heard.

10 people found this helpful

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Charming, Touching, Cassandra Peterson Doesn’t Hold Anything Back in This Fascinating Tale of her Entire Life

As someone who met Cassandra as a child and looked at her as a mother-like figure, I couldn’t stop myself from pre-ordering this book from Premiere Collectables, but of course, I lack patience, so I also downloaded the audio book to listen to until the physical copy arrived. She went into such detail about her life, relationships with others, and feelings that it felt like she was sitting here just talking to me, as a friend. I’d knew of some details presented, but so much was suddenly coming to the surface, it made me realize how Cassandra was shaped as a human being, and explained why she likely showed such kindness to me every time I ran into her throughout the years. She’s truly an amazing individual, and I know she’s been working on this book for over a decade, and I can safely say that the wait was beyond worth it. It made me tear up, laugh, and smile, all while reminding me why I’d come to love Cassandra and the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira. I whole heartedly recommend this book. 💞

7 people found this helpful

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I love her

If you're a fan, you'll love it.
If you aren't currently a fan, maybe you'll learn something.

7 people found this helpful

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Elvira is my hero !

As if I didn’t love Elvira enough! Her story is absolutely amazing. What a life she has lived ! Definitely worth listening too. I couldn’t turn her story off . Just amazing!

6 people found this helpful

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The Queen of Halloween

An amazing life told with Elvira's trademark wit. Hilarious at times, heartbreaking at others. It's not a trick, this book is a real Treat!

5 people found this helpful

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Five Stars Until Chapter 26

I loved this book. It was entertaining and interesting and my attention never strayed. Even though she did rush through it rather robotically and you can tell that she's definitely reading aloud. I loved the book until Chapter 26. Was Chapter 26 supposed to be "funny?" I thought she said she loved animals and she was an animal rights person. Maybe this is where she got the word "cruelly" in her title. I almost had to fast forward through it. My five star review diminished to two stars. Did she never hear of an emergency veterinarian or an animal hospital??

3 people found this helpful

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Gurl, You Need to Hear This One

Cassandra Peterson spills the tea on her personal life and career and it's a wild ride of rebelliousness, determination, heartbreak, perseverance and stories that will have you hitting pause more than once because whoa, wait...seriously??

3 people found this helpful

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  • Uneek1
  • 05-20-22

Fabulous!

This is one of best audiobooks that I have purchased. Cassandra Peterson reads her funny, heartfelt, open and frank autobiography.I laughed, I cried and loved every chapter. What a life. What a woman! Highly recommended.. I didn't want it to end. Her narration gave this book a wonderful heartfelt truth. Thank you for sharing your stories. Wonderful!

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  • hoverdose
  • 05-15-22

Great memoir from the Queen of Halloween

Some fun anecdotes mixed with heartfelt stories and some shocking revelations, and a healthy dose of Cassandra's cutting sense of humour, this is a must for Elvira fans!

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  • Chantelle Wills
  • 04-18-22

Just Amazing

What a life! Heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. Loved it.

Recommended with enthusiasm.

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  • Martin Ramsdin
  • 03-29-22

Superb ! Even more specular than even I excepted

As a life long Elvira fan I’ve been looking forward to this autobiography. It’s even more fascinating and emotional and inspiring than Even I expected.
Wonderful and of course beautifully read By the author .

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  • stefan
  • 03-11-22

In love

Absolutely in love with Elvira mistress of the dark and this book is insanely incredible

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  • Craig Julich-Serventy
  • 03-09-22

Hugely Entertaining

the larger than life Elvira's Alter Ego Cassandra Petersen has lived the truly Hollywood story. this should appeal to life long fans and the casual observers alike.

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  • Mr Zzs
  • 02-28-22

What a story.

I never knew that much about Elvira, but this was an action packed 10 hour listen. The author read it very well which added to the great experience. No spoilers but she has lived quite an amazing life!

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  • mr
  • 02-27-22

Bloody Brilliant

What a journey! The highs and lows and perfect comedy timing thrown in by yours truly “Elvira” .

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  • Matthias Nilsson
  • 02-19-22

Great story!

Loved listening to her story, was blown away by what she endured in her life

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  • Sparkstorm
  • 04-04-22

Cruelly Entertaining

Loved it , Must read one of the best books you could read about a beloved Halloween Queen