Yvonne Craig, best known for her role as Batgirl in the 1960s TV series Batman, has died. She was 78.
In a statement posted on Craig’s official website, her family writes that she had been battling breast cancer for over two years. “This didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit, she intended to fight and win this battle,” says the family. “In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up.”
Craig died Monday in her home in Pacific Palisades.
A trained dancer, Craig joined Batman in its third and final season as Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara, a librarian who moonlit as Batgirl. She did her own stunts. In an interview with CNN earlier this year, Craig described the character as “very close to who I am.”
“The crew liked one another,” she recalled. “The cast liked one another. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it’s a joy to go to work every day. I got to work with people that I would never have the chance to work with. We had Ethel Merman, I would never have met Milton Berle, I got to work with him, and he was a delight.”
Craig began her career as the youngest member of The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo before being discovered by the son of director John Ford, who cast her opposite John Wayne’s son Patrick in 1959’s The Young Land. From there, she went on to appear in several films, including two with Elvis Presley — It Happened at the World’s Fair and Kissin’ Cousins.
On television, Craig appeared in series like The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Fantasy Island, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Mod Squad, and 77 Sunset Strip. After Batman, Craig also played a memorable role in the 1969 Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”
More recently, Craig voiced Grandma in Nickelodeon’s 2009 cartoon series Olivia. A real estate broker, Craig was also an active philanthopist. In the early 1970s, she released a PSA for equal pay with former Batman costar Burt Ward.
Her memoir, From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond, was published in 2000.