Actress Yvonne Craig, best known for her pioneering role of Batgirl in the original Batman TV series, died on Monday in her home at the age of 78 after a two year long battle with breast cancer.
Craig’s foray into acting came quite accidentally. While working as a dancer, she had dinner with a producer who wanted to get her into films, but she was uninterested. But another man passed by her table and asked if she was an actress. The producer said, “Yes she is, and I’m her manager…” The man was Patrick Ford, the son of director John Ford, and was looking for a new leading lady to star opposite Patrick Wayne (John Wayne’s son) in The Young Land. And thus the dancer became the actress.
But it was when ABC wanted them to add the Batgirl character to Batman‘s third season that she was forever enshrined in genre fan’s memories. The purple-suited, motorcycle-riding female superhero (one of the first such live action roles), who’s real identity was a mystery even to Batman himself but was in reality Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara, the librarian, helped ABC’s decision to pick up the show for a third (and final) season.
Star Trek fans will also remember Craig as the beautiful (but insane) green-skinned Orion slave girl Marta in the episode “Whom Gods Destroy”.
Private services are planned but not set. Her family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the cancer research and treatment center, the Angeles Clinic Foundation.