RIP Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Craig, an American ballet dancer and actress best known for her role as Batgirl from the 1960s television series Batman, and as the Orion slave girl Marta in the Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy”. died this week after a long two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 78. Craig was a pioneer of female superheroes on screen. As an actress, she originated the role of Batgirl in the 1960s “Batman” television series. As a trained dancer, she did her own stunts. The cancer metastasized to her liver, and she died Monday in her home in Pacific Palisades.

She originally trained to be a ballet dancer and was a member of the corps de ballet of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1950s. Gradually, she moved into acting, and in 1959 appeared in three films: The Young Land, The Gene Krupa Story, and Gidget. She also had a guest role as Beverly Mills in the 1959 episode “Little Miss Wow” of the television series Mr. Lucky. In 1960, she appeared with Bing Crosby in High Time. In the following year, she appeared with Cesar Romero in Seven Women from Hell. Romero would later play the Joker in Batman. Another connection to Batman occurred when Craig appeared in “The Case of the Lazy Lover”, a 1958 episode of the television series Perry Mason, which also featured Neil Hamilton as her stepfather. Hamilton would later play her father, Commissioner Gordon, in Batman.

Yvonne 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 cult sci-fi film Mars Needs Women (1966), and appeared in In Like Flint (1967) as a Russian ballet dancer opposite James Coburn. In the 1960s, with film roles beginning to taper off, she moved into television, appearing in several shows, including The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Death Valley Days, Hennesey, and My Three Sons. Craig appeared five times on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, portraying five separate girlfriends for the titular character between 1959 and 1962. One of her more memorable roles came in 1969 when Craig appeared on Star Trek as Marta, a green-skinned Orion slave girl in the third-season episode “Whom Gods Destroy”. Craig’s highest profile would come with the cult 1960s television series Batman as Batgirl (and her alter ego, librarian Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter). She appeared in the final season (1967–196.

She eventually moved into private business. For a time, she was a co-producer of industrial shows, after which she worked successfully in the real estate business. She maintained her own internet Web site.

Yvonne Joyce Craig (May 16, 1937 – August 17, 2015)

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