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R.I.P. Zacherley

Host With a Ghoulish Perspective Dies at 98

John Zacherle, one of the first of the late-night television horror-movie hosts, who played a crypt-dwelling undertaker with a booming graveyard laugh on stations in Philadelphia and New York in the late 1950s and early ’60s, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 98. His death was announced by friends and a fan website.

Mr. Zacherle, billed as Zacherley in New York, was not the first horror host — that honor goes to Maila Nurmi, the Finnish-born actress who began camping it up as Vampira on KABC-TV in Los Angeles in 1954 — but he was the most famous, inspiring a host of imitators at local stations around the country.

Source: New York Times obituary