Before Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, afore Joanna Cameron’s Isis, afore Scarlett Johannsson’s Black Widow, Yvonne Craig was a avant-garde of changeable superheroes on screen.
As an actress, she originated the role of Batgirl in the 1960s “Batman” television series. As a accomplished dancer, she did her own stunts.
Craig died this anniversary afterwards a continued two-year action with cancer. She was 78.
The blight metastasized to her liver, and she died Monday in her home in Pacific Palisades.
“She had been in chemo about continuously for the accomplished two additional years aback actuality diagnosed and that had attenuated her allowed arrangement as able-bodied as her body,” her ancestors said in a account backward Tuesday night.
“This didn’t bedew her faculty of amusement or her spirit, she advised to action and win this battle. In the end, her apperception still capital to action but her anatomy had accustomed up.”
Craig originated the role of Batgirl in the show’s third and final division in 1967, kapowing and zzonking the bad guys alongside Adam West and Burt Ward’s activating duo of Batman and Robin.
“I apprehend from women that I was their role model,” she told CNN in an account beforehand this year. “‘When I was a little girl, I accomplished that girls could bang base aloof like guys,’ [they’d say].”
She additionally had a memorable role as the green-skinned Orion bondservant babe Marta who capital to annihilate Captain Kirk in a third-season adventure of “Star Trek.”
But alike above those two well-remembered roles, Craig had a continued and illustrious career that began as the youngest affiliate of a ballet company.
In an account with CNN beforehand this year, Craig explained how she got into acting while she was still touring as a dancer.
“I was arrive to banquet by a man who was a producer, who capital to put me in movies and I said I wasn’t interested,” she said.
“[Director] John Ford’s son absolved by and asked ‘Excuse me, are you an actress?’ And as I befuddled my arch and approved to swallow, [the ambassador said], ‘She is and I’m her manager. What can I do for you?’ Typical Hollywood.
“They were accomplishing a cine with John Wayne’s son Patrick, and they were attractive for a arch lady. And I became it.”
That was 1959’s “The Young Land.”
She went on to arise in several films, including two with Elvis Presley — “It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Kissin’ Cousins.”
She again parlayed her success into television roles, bedfellow starring in several series, best conspicuously several episodes of “The Abounding Loves of Dobie Gillis” and “77 Sunset Strip.”
Then came her role as Batgirl.
A hero is born
DC Comics was asked to actualize a new Batgirl to advice get the appearance a third season, and Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, took on the character of the newest masked avenger in Gotham City, both on TV and in the banana books.
“It was a admirable experience,” Craig said.
“The aggregation admired one another, the casting admired one another. It doesn’t appear often, and aback it does, it’s a joy to go to assignment every day. I got to assignment with bodies that I would never accept the adventitious to assignment with. We had Ethel Merman, I would never accept met Milton Berle, I got to assignment with him, and he was a delight.”
Craig declared the characters of Barbara Gordon and Batgirl as “very aing to who I am.”
She acutely had an impact.
“Most of the joy in my accepted activity can be traced aback in some way to seeing Yvonne Craig be amazing as Batgirl, my aboriginal absolute activity hero,” said Gil Simone, a above biographer of the Batgirl comics.
Among Craig’s better admirers is the man active her website now, Scott Sebring.
“As a kid, I looked up to her as a superhero on television. As an adult, I looked up to her as a animal being,” Sebring told CNN. “She and her sister Meridel became these two of the coolest aunts in my life. And our accord is article that I will never forget.”
Her post-“Batman” TV assignment lasted several years and spanned abounding of the hit shows of the time, including “The Six Million Dollar Man” and the “Mod Squad.”
The after years
In after years, Craig formed as a absolute acreage broker, did articulation over assignment for the Nickelodeon animation “Olivia,” and, with her sister, went into the prepaid buzz agenda business.
She wrote a memoir, “From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond,” and was about articulate about her abutment for chargeless mammograms for women who couldn’t allow them.
“She was one appropriate developed and my best friend, so will be absent terribly,” the sister, Meridel Carson, told CNN aboriginal Wednesday morning.
As account bankrupt of her death, admirers aggregate what Craig meant to them.
Craig leaves abaft her husband, Kenneth Aldrich; her sister and two nephews.
The ancestors will authority a clandestine account but hasn’t set a date. They asked that, instead of flowers, donations be fabricated to the blight analysis and analysis center, the Angeles Clinic Foundation.
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