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Yvonne Joyce Craig (May 16, 1937 – August 17, 2015) was an American ballet dancer and actress best known for her role as Batgirl in the 1960s television series Batman and as the green-skinned Orion slave girl Marta in the Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy" (1969). The Huffington Post called her "a pioneer of female superheroes" for television.[1]

Yvonne Craig
Yvonne Craig 1960.JPG
Craig in 1960
Born
Yvonne Joyce Craig

(1937-05-16)May 16, 1937
DiedAugust 17, 2015(2015-08-17) (aged 78)
OccupationActress, dancer
Years active1957–2011
Spouse(s)
Jimmy Boyd
(m. 1960; div. 1962)

Kenneth Aldrich
(m. 1988; her death 2015)

Early lifeEdit

Yvonne Craig was born in Taylorville, Illinois, and was raised in Columbus, Ohio.[2] In 1951, her family moved to the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, where she attended W. H. Adamson High School and then Sunset High School, from which she did not graduate due to the lack of "a single PE credit".[3]

CareerEdit

BalletEdit

After being discovered by Alexandra Danilova, a ballerina and instructor, Craig joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as its youngest corps de ballet member.[4][5] This training was helpful when she performed stunts while playing Batgirl.[6] She left the ballet company in 1957 "over a disagreement on casting changes" and moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of continuing her dancing career but found herself cast in film roles.[3]

ActingEdit

One of her earliest television roles was in an episode of the TV series Perry Mason ("The Case of the Lazy Lover", 1958) alongside Neil Hamilton, who played her stepfather (later Hamilton played Police Commissioner James Gordon, Batgirl's father). Shortly afterwards, she appeared in three films—The Young Land, The Gene Krupa Story, and Gidget (all 1959)—and also guest-starred in TV series Mr. Lucky as Beverly Mills in the episode "Little Miss Wow" (also 1959). Craig appeared with Bing Crosby in High Time (1960) and in Seven Women from Hell (1961) featured alongside Cesar Romero. In 1962 she guest starred on the Western, Laramie in "The Long Road Back".[7]

Craig starred in roles with Elvis Presley in two films: It Happened at the World's Fair (1963) and Kissin' Cousins (1964). She also starred in the 1966 cult sci-fi film Mars Needs Women and appeared in In Like Flint (1967) as a Russian ballet dancer opposite James Coburn.[8]

During the 1960s, Craig regularly appeared in television drama series. She appeared five times on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, portraying five separate girlfriends for the titular character between 1959 and 1962. She played Jo, a young photographer with Charles Bronson in Man with a Camera in 1960. In 1964 Craig guest starred as Carol, an underwater photographer, on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Season 1, Episode 7: "Turn Back the Clock".[9] In 1965, Craig appeared in The Big Valley Season 1, Ep. 16 "The Invaders". Craig also appeared on Star Trek as Marta, a green-skinned Orion slave girl in the episode "Whom Gods Destroy" (1969).[8]

Craig played a Navy nurse with exotic Arabian dance skills in an episode of McHale's Navy ("Pumpkin Takes Over") as well as in an episode of The Big Valley with Lee Majors and Barbara Stanwyck both aired in 1965. That same year she appeared In an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ("The Brain-Killer Affair"), where she helps solve the mystery of a brain-endangering poison.[10] The following year she came back as an U.N.C.L.E. employee in a theatrical film, One Spy Too Many expanded from the episode "The Alexander the Greater Affair". In an episode of The Wild Wild West ("The Night of the Grand Emir") in 1966, she played an assassin who performs an exotic Arabian dance. In a 1968 episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir ("Haunted Honeymoon"), she played Gladys Zimmerman, a bride-to-be who was stranded overnight at Gull Cottage. In a 1970 episode of Land of the Giants ("Wild Journey"), she played one-half of a humanoid, time-observing duo (alongside Bruce Dern) who chase two of the Earth castaways (the series stars Gary Conway and Don Marshall) into the past, ultimately forcing them to relive the flight that sent them to the giants' planet.[11]

BatmanEdit

 
Yvonne Craig as Batgirl in 1967

From September 1967 until March 1968, Craig appeared in her highest-profile role as Batgirl for the third and final season of the 1960s ABC TV series Batman. As Batgirl she wore a purple and yellow outfit and rode a "purple motorcycle with white lace trim",[6] whereas her alter ego Barbara Gordon was the librarian daughter of Commissioner Gordon.[12] The New York Times praised her for "add[ing] a scrappy girl-power element" to a TV series it described as "campy".[4]

During this time Craig appeared as a contestant on the show The Dating Game (1967).[13]

Craig reprised her Batgirl role in a 1974 public service announcement for equal pay for women sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division. In the PSA, Batman and Robin were tied to a post amid the threat of a ticking time bomb, but Batgirl refused to release them because she was paid less than Robin, in violation of the Federal Equal Pay Law. The PSA was written and directed by Sidney Galanty, and narrated by William Dozier, who had narrated the Batman TV series. Dick Gautier played Batman this time, because Adam West was, at the time, trying to distance himself from that role.[14]

Craig reportedly felt some connection to the character and was sad that Barbara Gordon was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (1988).[15]

After BatmanEdit

After Batman, Craig continued to act sporadically in movies and television. She appeared in guest roles in Kentucky Jones, It Takes a Thief, The Mod Squad, Mannix, and Emergency!. From 1969 to 1972, she appeared in four episodes of the comedy series Love, American Style. In 1973 she appeared in a first-season episode of Kojak ("Dark Sunday") and in 1977 made a guest appearance in The Six Million Dollar Man.[16]

Later lifeEdit

When her Hollywood career ended, she ventured into private business. She was briefly a co-producer of industrial shows, before starting a new career as a real estate broker. From 2009 to 2011, she voiced "Grandma" on the animated children's show Olivia. Craig published an autobiography called From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond in 2000.[4] She appeared in the documentary film Ballets Russes.[17]

She was also a philanthropist and advocate for workers unions, free mammograms, and equal pay for women.[1][6]

DeathEdit

Craig died at age 78 at her home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, on August 17, 2015, from metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her liver.[4][18][6]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1957 Eighteen and Anxious Gloria Dorothy McCormick
1959 Gidget Nan
1959 The Young Land Elena de la Madrid
1959 The Gene Krupa Story Gloria Corregio
1960 High Time Randy 'Scoop' Pruitt
1961 By Love Possessed Veronica Kovacs
1961 Seven Women from Hell Janet Cook
1963 It Happened at the World's Fair Dorothy Johnson
1964 Kissin' Cousins Azalea Tatum
1964 Advance to the Rear Ora Uncredited
1964 Quick, Before It Melts Sharon Sweigert
1965 Ski Party Barbara Norris
1966 One Spy Too Many Maude Waverly
1966 One of Our Spies Is Missing Wanda
1967 In Like Flint Natasha, the Ballerina
1971 How to Frame a Figg Glorianna Hastings
1990 Diggin' Up Business Lucille
2005 Ballets Russes Herself Documentary

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Schlitz Playhouse Suzanne Stacey / Helen Meade 2 episodes
1958 Perry Mason Patricia Faxon Episode: "The Case of the Lazy Lover"
1959 Bronco Stephanie Kelton Episode: "Bodyguard"
1959 Philip Marlowe Connie Episode: "Child of Virtue"
1959 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Annie Episode: "The Girl"
1959 Mr. Lucky Beverly Mills Episode: "Little Miss Wow"
1959–1962 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Linda Sue Faversham / Elspeth Hummaker / Hazel Grimes / Myrna Lomax / Aphrodite Millican / Girl #1 6 episodes
1960 Man with a Camera Jo Stokes Episode: "Hot Ice Cream"
1960 Hennesey Nurse Harriet Burns Episode: "Scarlet Woman in White"
1960 The Chevy Mystery Show Carolyn Episode: "Murder Me Nicely"
1960 Checkmate Judy Episode: "The Cyanide Touch"
1960 The Barbara Stanwyck Show Susan Mowry Episode: "House in Order"
1960–1964 77 Sunset Strip Tina Nichols / Willie Miller / Kristan Royal / Luanna Staunton 4 episodes
1961 The Detectives Ivy Episode: "Quiet Night"
1961 Peter Loves Mary Darcy Robinson Episode: "That Certain Age"
1961 Tales of Wells Fargo Libby Gillette Episode: "The Remittance Man"
1961 The Aquanauts Kathy Episode: "The Rainbow Adventure"
1961 Michael Shayne Nan Palmer Episode: "It Takes a Heap o' Dyin'"
1961 The Jim Backus Show Debbie Episode: "Dora's Vacation"
1961 Margie Cynthia Episode: "The Initiation"
1961 Ichabod and Me Liza Halliday Episode: "Teenage Journalist"
1961 Mrs. G. Goes to College Sally Episode: "Mrs. G.'s Private Telephone"
1962 Follow the Sun Veronica St John Episode: "A Ghost in Her Gazebo"
1962 The New Breed Louise Pittman / Edna Pittman Episode: "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here"
1962 I'm Dickens, He's Fenster Hillary Episode: "A Small Matter of Being Fired"
1962 Laramie Ginny Malone Episode: "The Long Road Back"
1962 Death Valley Days Emma Episode: "To Walk with Greatness"
1962 The Dick Powell Show 'Mary' Episode: "In Search of a Son"
1962 Wide Country Anita Callahan Episode: "The Bravest Man in the World"
1962–1963 Sam Benedict Amy Vickers / Angela Larkin 2 episodes
1963 Vacation Playhouse Abby Young Episode: "Hooray for Love"
1964 Dr. Kildare Carol Devon Episode: "A Day to Remember"
1964 Channing Kathy O'Reardon Episode: "My Son, the All-American"
1964 Wagon Train Ellie Riggs Episode: "The Link Cheney Story"
1964 Tom, Dick, and Mary Louise Meeker Episode: "Bad Day at Bristol Court"
1964 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Carol Episode: "Turn Back the Clock"
1965 Valentine's Day Sally Whitfield Episode: "For Me and My Sal"
1965 McHale's Navy Nurse Suzie Clayton Episode: "Pumpkin Takes Over"
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Cecille Bergstrom Episode: "The Brain-Killer Affair"
1965 Kentucky Jones Shirley Episode: "Kentucky's Vacation"
1965 My Favorite Martian Louise Episode: "Keep Me from the Church on Time"
1965 Ben Casey Mary Dyboski Carter Episode: "If You Play Your Cards Right, You Too Can Be a Loser"
1965 The Big Valley Allie Kay Episode: "The Invaders"
1966 The Wild Wild West Ecstasy La Joie Episode: "The Night of the Grand Emir"
1966 Mister Roberts Carol Jennings Episode: "Damn the Torpedoes"
1966 My Three Sons Vickie Malone Episode: "If at First"
1967 Mars Needs Women Dr. Marjorie Bolen Television film
1967 Batgirl Batgirl / Barbara Gordon Television short
1967–1968 Batman Batgirl / Barbara Gordon 26 episodes
1968 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Gladys Zimmerman Episode: "Haunted Honeymoon"
1968 It Takes a Thief Roxanne Episode: "The Bill Is in Committee"
1968 The Mod Squad Tara Chapman / Lila Mason Episode: "Find Tara Chapman!"
1969 Star Trek: The Original Series Marta Episode: "Whom Gods Destroy"
1969 The Good Guys Dr. Cummings Episode: "Communications Gap"
1969–1972 Love, American Style Kathy / Helen / Janet / June 4 episodes
1969–1973 Mannix Ada Lee Hayes / Mrs. Diana Everett 2 episodes
1970 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Maryanne Atwater Episode: "Don't Look Now, But Your Scorpio's Rising"
1970 Land of the Giants Berna Episode: "Wild Journey"
1970 Three Coins in the Fountain Dorothy Television film
1971–1972 The Partners Michelle / Denise / Jessica 2 episodes
1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Inez Malcolm Episode: "Operation: Rake-Off"
1973 Jarrett Luluwa Television film
1973 The Magician Dr. Nora Zabriskie Episode: "The Man Who Lost Himself"
1973 Kojak Liz Episode: "Dark Sunday"
1974 Emergency! Edna Johnson Episode: "Gossip"
1976 Holmes & Yoyo Sherri Episode: "Key Witness"
1977 The Six Million Dollar Man Lena Bannister Episode: "The Infiltrators"
1979 Starsky & Hutch Carol Episode: "Starsky vs. Hutch"
1983 Fantasy Island Cindy Episode: "Remember... When?"
2009–2011 Olivia Grandma (voice) 29 episodes

BibliographyEdit

  • Craig, Yvonne (2000). From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond. New York: Kudu Press. ISBN 0-9678075-6-5.
  • Erickson, Hal (2007). "Yvonne Craig". Allmovie. New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2007.
  • McLeod, Mike (2007). "It's African Mask for TV's Batgirl". The Celebrity Collector. Retrieved June 27, 2007.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Mosbergen, Dominique (August 19, 2015). "Actress Yvonne Craig, The Original 1960s Batgirl, Dies At 78". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Colker, David (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig dies at 78; actress was television's Batgirl". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Wilonsky, Robert (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl from Oak Cliff, has died at 78". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Rogers, Katie (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, Actress Who Played Batgirl, Is Dead at 78". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ballets Russes". Zeitgeist Films. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Booker, Brakkton (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, Best Known As 'Batgirl,' Dies At 78". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  7. ^ Bergan, Ronald (August 23, 2015). "Yvonne Craig obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Gross, Ed (November 19, 2018). "Yvonne Craig Embraces Her Batgirl Legacy In A Recovered Interview (EXCLUSIVE)". Closer. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Klossner, Michael (2006). "Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea". Prehistoric Humans in Film and Television: 581 Dramas, Comedies and Documentaries, 1905-2004. McFarland. p. 273. ISBN 9780786422159.
  10. ^ "Yvonne Craig's Film and TV Credits". July 25, 1959. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  11. ^ Barnes, Mike (August 18, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, TV's Sexy Batgirl of the 1960s, Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Yvonne Craig Movies - Yvonne Craig Film — Yvonne Craig TV Shows". TV.com. December 31, 1969. Archived from the original on March 22, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  13. ^ Lam, Steve (August 18, 2015). "1960s TV Batgirl Yvonne Craig Dies At 78". Bam Smack Pow. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Batman, ca. 1973". U.S. National Archives. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Jankiewicz, Pat. "Interview With Yvonne: Recalling Batgirl". Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  16. ^ "Batgirl Yvonne Craig dies at 78". Chicago Tribune. August 19, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Moore, Roger (December 23, 2005). "Russian realm: Princes, princesses of dance rule with grace". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "Yvonne Craig's Official Obituary". YvonneCraig.com. August 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.

External linksEdit