Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Babe of the Geek: Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl!

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yvonnecraigThis month's Babe of the Geek is TV's Batgirl, Yvonne Craig, who passed away in August of this year. As I wrote in the September issue, I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Mid-Ohio Con around 1999 or perhaps it was 2000. She still looked adorable as ever, and was definitely aging gracefully. She was very kind to her fans, posing for pictures and autographing whatever was brought to her to sign. She was also selling copies of her autobiography, and gave away a free magnet with a bat-logo with each purchase. I wish I'd taken the time then to talk to her a bit about her career and life.

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She was born on May 16, 1937 in Taylorville, Illinois. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio until the age of 14 (perhaps this was why she was at that Mid-Ohio Con, giving her a chance to visit her old hometown). She originally trained to be a ballet dancer (something she used extensively in fight scenes in Batman), she was a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1950s. By the end of that decade, she'd started an acting career, appearing an episode of Perry Mason in 1958 (in which future Commissioner Gordon Neil Hamilton played her stepfather) and in three movies in 1959: The Young Land, The Gene Krupa Story, and Gidget. In 1959 and 1960, she'd appeared on television twice. In 1961, she appeared with future Joker Cesar Romero in Seven Women from Hell.

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yvonnecraigShe co-starred with Elvis Presley in the movies It Happened at the World's Fair in 1963 and Kissin' Cousins in 1964, and later appeared in Mars Needs Women (1966) and In Like Flint (1967). Her television appearances continued with appearances on The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Death Valley Days, Hennessey, and My Three Sons. Between 1959 and 1962, she appeared five times on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, playing five different girlfriends! She appeared in episodes of The Man From UNCLE and McHale's Navy in 1965, The Wild Wild West in 1966, and The Ghost & Mrs. Muir in 1968. In 1969, she played Marta, the Orion slave girl in the Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy." In 1970, she appeared in an episode of Land of the Giants, appearing with Bruce Dern.

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yvonnecraigOf course, her most famous role remains as Batgirl on Batman during the 1967-1968 season. After Batman ended, she appeared in several other TV shows, including four episodes of Love, American Style. In 1977, she appeared on an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. She ended up moving into private business, co-producing industrial shows, and then later working in real estate, as well as maintaining her own website. From 2009-2011, she voiced Grandma on the TV show Olivia.

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yvonnecraigShe died at her home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, at the age of 78, from metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her liver. Visits to her website, www.yvonnecraig.com, increased dramatically to the point where the server couldn't handle the load anymore. Posts on blogs and Facebook proved that she was still as popular as ever, and the outpouring of the sense of loss and appreciation for her was immense.

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This was an early version of the costume... the mask was rounded after it was discovered that the points left marks on Yvonne's face!

1 comment:

  1. What a great collection of Yvonne photos, thanks.

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