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.
Craig in 1960
Yvonne Joyce Craig
May 16, 1937
Taylorville, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||August 17, 2015 (aged 78)|
(m. 1960; div. 1962)
(m. 1988; her death 2015)
Yvonne Craig was born in Taylorville, Illinois, and was raised in Columbus, Ohio. 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".
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. This training was helpful when she performed stunts while playing Batgirl. 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.
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".
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.
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". 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).
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. 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.
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", whereas her alter ego Barbara Gordon was the librarian daughter of Commissioner Gordon. The New York Times praised her for "add[ing] a scrappy girl-power element" to a TV series it described as "campy".
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.
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.
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. She appeared in the documentary film Ballets Russes.
|1957||Eighteen and Anxious||Gloria Dorothy McCormick|
|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|
|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||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|
- 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.
- 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.
- Colker, David (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig dies at 78; actress was television's Batgirl". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Ballets Russes". Zeitgeist Films. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- 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.
- Bergan, Ronald (August 23, 2015). "Yvonne Craig obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Gross, Ed (November 19, 2018). "Yvonne Craig Embraces Her Batgirl Legacy In A Recovered Interview (EXCLUSIVE)". Closer. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- 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.
- "Yvonne Craig's Film and TV Credits". July 25, 1959. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- Barnes, Mike (August 18, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, TV's Sexy Batgirl of the 1960s, Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- "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.
- Lam, Steve (August 18, 2015). "1960s TV Batgirl Yvonne Craig Dies At 78". Bam Smack Pow. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- "Batman, ca. 1973". U.S. National Archives. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016 – via YouTube.
- Jankiewicz, Pat. "Interview With Yvonne: Recalling Batgirl". Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
- "Batgirl Yvonne Craig dies at 78". Chicago Tribune. August 19, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Moore, Roger (December 23, 2005). "Russian realm: Princes, princesses of dance rule with grace". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- "Yvonne Craig's Official Obituary". YvonneCraig.com. August 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.