Television’s Batgirl, Yvonne Craig passed away surrounded by family at her home in Pacific Palisades, California on August 17, 2015. Her website indicates she died “from complications brought about from breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Aldrich, her sister Meridel Carson and nephews Christopher and Todd Carson. A private service is being planned with no date set at the present time.”
Baby Boomers, Elvis Presley fans and movie goers remember Craig as the co-star of two Presley films, “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” and “Kissin Cousins,” from the early 1960’s. She originated the role of Batgirl in the “Batman” television series in 1966, with co-star Adam West.
Ironically, Craig had two previous tie-ins with other actors on the Batman program. In 1960, she appeared opposite Cesar Romero in “Seven Women from Hell.” Romero went on to become a reoccurring villain character, the Joker on Batman. In a 1958 television episode of Perry Mason, the actor who played her stepfather was Neil Hamilton. Hamilton is famously known in the role of Commissioner Gordon in Batman. Craig also played the character of Barbara Gordon, Batman’s alter-ego and the daughter of the Commissioner.
In March wrote to her fans that “several weeks ago I had unexpected abdominal surgery and since then have just been feeling ‘not up to par.’ My doctor thinks that it is best for me to cancel both the April show in LA as well as the Niagara Falls Show in June so that I can recuperate properly, and also stay out of crowds. I’m getting this information out on my website as well as through the Message Board hopefully in a timely fashion to cover all bases, so no one will be disappointed. I would not want anyone making plans to go to the Los Angeles show expecting to see four of us and finding only three. However, do go and enjoy the show! I hear it will be great. As for Canada, I hope I can plan on going some time in the very near future. Sorry for any inconvenience. Best Bat Wishes Yvonne.”
“Yvonne Craig began her theatrical career as the youngest member of The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and toured for three years when she was accidentally discovered by John Ford’s son Patrick and cast for the lead in the movie ‘The Young Land’,” according to her official obituary Tuesday.
“Over a span of years she appeared as a guest star in many television series, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Six Million Dollar Man,Land of the Giants, Mod Squad, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Love American Style, Emergency, and Courtship of Eddie’s Father just to name a few and worked opposite Bing Crosby, Sal Mineo, Don Knotts, George Hamilton, Dwayne Hickman, Dennis Hopper as well as Elvis Presley and James Coburn.”
Star Trek fans remember Craig as an insane green Orion Slave Girl who intended to kill Captain Kirk during the third season of the television series. The memorable episode was “Whom God’s Destroy.”
She was involved in several businesses, including real estate, phone cards, and writing. In 2000, Craig wrote a biography, “From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond.” She also worked as a voice over artist with the role of Grandma for Nickelodeon’s Olivia cartoon series.
“She and her husband have traveled extensively all over the world, preferring adventure type travel, which has taken them to many countries through the years, and back to Africa seven times,” stated her obituary. “Yvonne has been involved with social work as well as philanthropic work through the years, and was a public voice to support worker unions and equal pay for woman, as well as supporting free mammograms for women who cannot afford them.”
“She and her husband have also been advocates of education and long time supporters of education on all levels. They are actively involved with the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, two different charter schools, and the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals out of St. Mary’s College of California better known as LEAP. She also volunteered time and tutored and mentored disadvantaged students.”