Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tribute: Yvonne Craig (1937 - 2015)

I awoke this morning to the terrible news that the great Yvonne Craig (1937-2015) has passed away.

I grew up watching Yvonne Craig as Batgirl on the classic Batman (1966-1968) TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward.  Ms. Craig's Barbara Gordon/Batgirl was introduced in the third and final season of that program, and her portrayal of the young hero revitalized the series. 

Athletic, energetic, graceful and witty, Craig's Batgirl brought new life to a format and program that had grown stale and repetitive. For many viewers, Batgirl became a reason to tune back in to a faltering phenom.

Yvonne Craig's film and TV career extends far beyond the bat-cowl, however.  She also appeared -- quite memorably -- as poor, Mad Marta -- consort to Garth of Izar -- in the third season episode of Star Trek (1966 - 1969): "Whom Gods Destroy."  There Craig's Marta romanced, and attempted to kill Captain Kirk (William Shatner), all while in green body paint.

Beyond these pop culture touchstones, Craig proved a regular presence on all the great genre TV series of the 1960s.  

She had roles on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in 1964, and My Favorite Martian and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in 1965, for example.  In the seventies, she guest starred on Land of the Giants, The Magician and The Six Million Dollar Man, and Ms. Craig also made an appearance on Fantasy Island in 1983.

She also appeared in the Bond film-knock-off In Like Flint (1967) as Natasha the ballerina.

Yvonne Craig's talent, beauty and trademark joie de vivre is irreplaceable. She will be greatly missed, and today I know that many people of my generation -- for whom Batgirl was a role model -- will mourn.

Rest in peace, Yvonne Craig.

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