A positive role model for young women, TV's 'Batgirl,' Yvonne Craig dies at 78
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A trained ballet dancer, Yvonne Craig took a delicate dance move - a high kick, and used it to pummel the bad guys. Cast as TV's "Batgirl" on the final season of the "Batman" TV series, Craig told young women everywhere they could maintain their femininity and still vanquish evil. Craig has passed away from complications related to breast cancer at the age of 78.
On the "Batman" TV program, Yvonne Craig had a secret identity - by day, she was Barbara Gordon, mild-mannered librarian and daughter of the police commissioner. When crime reared its head, Craig would become Batgirl in a skintight purple costume.
LOS ANGELES, Ca (Catholic Online) - As a teenager she performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, trained with luminaries and specialized with her high kick.
While best known as Batgirl, Craig had numerous other TV acting credits, including the green-skinned space alien on an episode of the original "Star Trek." She passed away at her home in Pacific Palisades last week.
Her TV acting career began in the late 1950s. Craig lacked formal training as an actress, but worked steadily, appearing in shows such as "Perry Mason," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Dr. Kildare" and "Ben Casey."
She also played the romantic female lead in the notoriously rank sci-fi epic "Mars Needs Women" in 1967. While she had fond memories of working in Dallas with legendary bad moviemaker Larry Buchanan, she freely described it as the "worst movie ever made."
Adam West, who played Batman in the series, said on Twitter that he was "deeply saddened" by Craig's death. "She was a joy to work with," he said.
Craig was called in for a test of a new character, Batgirl, in an attempt to boost the sagging ratings of the "Batman" TV series in 1968. The pop-art show had been a hit since debuting in 1966, but the novelty had quickly worn off.
"I think they probably chose me because they knew I had a dance background," she said in a documentary about the show.
On the program, Craig had a secret identity - by day, she was Barbara Gordon, mild-mannered librarian and daughter of the police commissioner. When crime reared its head, Craig would become Batgirl in a skintight purple costume.
"It was perhaps the first time for some young men to see a [female] character in a tight-fitting outfit on TV and they fell in love - or perhaps their hormones did," Craig said in a 1997 interview.
Alas, Batgirl could not save "Batman," which went off the air in 1968.
Craig was popular at fan conventions, where admirers would flock to see her.
"Guys all say, 'I had such a crush on you,'" Craig told the Boston Herald in 2002. "Girls all say, 'I always waited for Batgirl to come on. You were really an inspiration,'"
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