Yvonne Craig

Active - 1957 - 2005  |   Born - May 16, 1937   |   Died - Aug 17, 2015   |   Genres - Comedy, Romance, Musical, Drama, Science Fiction

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American actress Yvonne Craig trained for a ballet career from age 10 onward. While in high school, Yvonne was accepted by George Balanchine for the School of American Ballet, but she chose instead to tour with the Ballet Russe. Stopping over in Los Angeles, Ms. Craig was approached by a producer asking if she'd like to be in movies. She turned him down, but was more responsive to Hollywood after she later broke her contract with the Ballet Russe. Yvonne's first film was The Young Land (1957), but it remained on the shelf for two years, thus Eighteen and Anxious (1957) was the moviegoers' first introduction to the actress. The Young Land earned Yvonne a contract with Columbia pictures, where because of her exotic looks and flowing black hair she was cast in teen-aged "femme fatale" roles, such as the seductress in The Gene Krupa Story (1960) (though quite thin, she was actually larger than her frail Krupa co-star Sal Mineo, which caused a minor crisis when the script called for Mineo to hold Yvonne in his arms). Amidst movie assignments of off-and-on quality, Yvonne tested for West Side Story, but lost out to Natalie Wood. She did, however, hold the distinction of appearing with Elvis Presley twice in It Happened at the World's Fair (1962) and Kissin' Cousins (1964). In 1967, Yvonne was called upon to replace an incapacitated Mary Ann Mobley as Batgirl (aka Barbara Gordon) on the once-popular TV series Batman. Ms. Craig did her best in a sketchily written part, and was proud of the fact that she handled her motorcycle-riding scenes without a double, but Batman was on its last legs, and was cancelled in early 1968. When acting roles became repetitive--and few and far between--Yvonne drifted out of show business, making her last film in 1971. She co-produced industrial shows for a time, then went into the real estate business, where she did quite well for herself. Though she did appear (at the producer's request) in a low-budget video film in 1991, Yvonne Craig elected not to play the Hollywood Game anymore, and was content to limit her public appearance to film-fan conventions and Batman retrospectives. In 2009, she returned to show business, voicing a character in the animated Olivia series. Craig died in 2015, at age 78.

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