Yvonne Craig

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

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

Kenneth Aldrich(m. 1988)
Website www.yvonnecraig.com

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]

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

Batgirl name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics

Batgirl is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, depicted as female counterparts to the superhero Batman. Although the character Betty Kane was introduced into publication in 1961 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff as Bat-Girl, she was replaced by Barbara Gordon in 1967, who later came to be identified as the iconic Batgirl. The character debuted in Detective Comics #359, titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino, introduced as the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon.

<i>Batman</i> (TV series) 1960s American television series

Batman is a 1960s American live action television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson / Robin – two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City from a variety of arch villains. It is known for its camp style, upbeat theme music, and its intentionally humorous, simplistic morality. This included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk. It was described by executive producer William Dozier as the only situation comedy on the air without a laugh track. The 120 episodes aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, twice weekly for the first two and weekly for the third. In 2016, television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Batman as the 82nd greatest American television show of all time.


Early life

Yvonne Craig was born in Taylorville, Illinois, and was raised in Columbus, Ohio.[ citation needed ] 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 technically did not graduate due to the lack of "a single PE credit". [2]

Taylorville, Illinois City and County seat in Illinois, United States

Taylorville is a city in and the county seat of Christian County, Illinois, United States. The population was 11,427 at the 2000 census, making it the county's largest city.

Columbus, Ohio Capital of Ohio

Columbus is the state capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. State of Ohio. With a population of 892,533 as of 2018 estimates, it is the 14th-most populous city in the United States and one of the fastest growing large cities in the nation. This makes Columbus the third-most populous state capital in the US and the second-most populous city in the Midwest. It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses ten counties. With a population of 2,078,725, it is Ohio's second-largest metropolitan area.



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. [3] [4] This training was helpful when she performed stunts while playing Batgirl. [5] 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. [2]

Alexandra Danilova American ballet dancer

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Corps de ballet group of dancers who are not soloists

In ballet, the corps de ballet[kɔʁ də balɛ] is the group of dancers who are not soloists. They are a permanent part of the ballet company and often work as a backdrop for the principal dancers. A corps de ballet works as one, with synchronized movements and corresponding positioning on the stage.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.


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".

<i>Perry Mason</i> (TV series) American dramatized court show

Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los Angeles criminal-defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Many episodes are based on stories written by Gardner.

Neil Hamilton (actor) American actor

James Neil Hamilton was an American stage, film and television actor, best known for his role as Commissioner Gordon on the Batman TV series of the 1960s.

James Gordon (comics) Fictional character in the DC Universe

James Worthington "Jim" Gordon, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, most commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character debuted in the first panel of Detective Comics #27, Batman's first appearance, where he is referred to simply as Commissioner Gordon. The character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Commissioner Gordon made his debut as an ally of Batman, making him the first Batman supporting character ever to be introduced.

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.[ citation needed ]

Elvis Presley American singer and actor

Elvis Aaron Presley, also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer, musician, and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

<i>It Happened at the Worlds Fair</i> 1963 musical film starring Elvis Presley directed by Norman Taurog

It Happened at the World's Fair is a 1963 American musical film starring Elvis Presley as a cropdusting pilot. It was filmed in Seattle, Washington, site of the Century 21 Exposition, the 1962 World's Fair. The governor of Washington at the time, Albert Rosellini, suggested the setting to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executives. The film made $2.25 million at the box office.

<i>Kissin Cousins</i> 1964 film by Gene Nelson

Kissin' Cousins is a 1964 American musical Panavision Metrocolor comedy film directed by Gene Nelson and starring Elvis Presley. Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Gene Nelson, the film featured Presley playing two roles: an Air Force officer, with dark hair, and his look-alike hillbilly distant cousin, with blond hair.

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". [6] 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).

<i>The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis</i>

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from September 29, 1959, to June 5, 1963. The series and several episode scripts were adapted from the "Dobie Gillis" short stories written by Max Shulman since 1945, and first collected in 1951 under the same title as the subsequent TV series. Shulman also wrote a feature film adaptation of his "Dobie Gillis" stories for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1953, entitled The Affairs of Dobie Gillis which featured Bobby Van in the title role.

<i>Man with a Camera</i> television series

For other uses, see Man with a Movie Camera (disambiguation).

<i>Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea</i> (TV series) television series

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is an American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie's sets, costumes, props, special effects models, and sometimes footage, to be used in the production of the television series. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was the first of Irwin Allen's four science fiction television series, and the longest-running. The show's theme was underwater adventure.

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. [7] 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.[ citation needed ]


Yvonne Craig as Batgirl in 1967 Yvonne Craig Batgirl.JPG
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", [5] whereas her alter ego Barbara Gordon was the librarian daughter of Commissioner Gordon. [8] The New York Times praised her for "add[ing] a scrappy girl-power element" to a TV series it described as "campy". [3]

During this time Craig appeared as a contestant on the show The Dating Game (1967). [9]

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.) [10]

Craig reportedly felt some connection to the character and complained to DC Comics after Barbara Gordon was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke (1988). [11]

After Batman

After Batman, Craig continued to act sporadically in movies and television. She appeared in guest roles in Love, American Style (the first episode), Kentucky Jones , It Takes a Thief , The Mod Squad , Kojak 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 .

Later life

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. [3] She appeared in the documentary film Ballets Russes .

She was also a philanthropist and advocate for workers unions, free mammograms, and equal pay for women. [1] [5]


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. [3] [12] [5]



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  1. 1 2 Mosbergen, Dominique (August 19, 2015). "Actress Yvonne Craig, The Original 1960s Batgirl, Dies At 78". The Huffington Post.
  2. 1 2 Wilonsky, Robert (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl from Oak Cliff, has died at 78". Dallas Morning News.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Rogers, Katie (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, Actress Who Played Batgirl, Is Dead at 78". New York Times .
  4. "Ballets Russes". Zeitgeist Films. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Booker, Brakkton (August 19, 2015). "Yvonne Craig, Best Known As 'Batgirl,' Dies At 78". NPR.org. National Public Radio.
  6. 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.
  7. "Yvonne Craig's Film and TV Credits". July 25, 1959. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  8. "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.
  9. BatGirl on The Dating Game (1967). YouTube video clip.
  10. "Batman, ca. 1973". U.S. National Archives via YouTube.
  11. Jankiewicz, Pat. "Interview With Yvonne: Recalling Batgirl" . Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  12. "Yvonne Craig's Official Obituary". YvonneCraig.com. August 19, 2015.