Today, I’m saddened to hear of the passing of trailblazing actress Yvonne Craig from breast cancer. She was 78 years old.
The 1966-1968 Batman series has always been a part of my life. It’s my second favorite tv show of all time (after Xena: Warrior Princess) and it’s pretty much my favorite interpretation of The Dark Knight. One of it’s many highlights was the introduction of Batgirl.
Before Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Xena, Max and Buffy, Craig’s Batgirl was TV’s first crime fighting supershero at a time when most action girls on TV were spies or secret agents. There was so much to love about Batgirl. She worked as a librarian (a dream job for a book-lover like me if there ever was one), had a great wardrobe, a clever disguise (red hair!), was very cute and above all she was shrewd, observant and just plain smart. She could go toe to toe with Batman and Robin in solving crimes and she succeeded from revealing her secret identity to the Dynamic Duo. She also did a memorable public service announcement as Batgirl where she demands that Batman and Robin give her “equal pay for equal work”.
Batman wasn’t the only show she worked on. She also had a memorable guest appearance on Star Trek as the sexy but insane Orion slave girl Marta (Whom Gods Destroy season 3, episode 14) and as an aspiring assassin/dancer Ecstasy La Joie in the criminally underrated spy-fi western The Wild Wild West (The Night of the Grand Emir season 1, episode 19). She also guest starred five times on another favorite show of mine, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the most memorable being the episode “The Flying Millicans” where she plays a love interest of Dobie’s who’s an acrobatic health nut. Her other stints included The Man From Uncle, Land of the Giants and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
But for many comics-loving fangirls the world over she will be remembered as someone who taught them that they could do anything boys can do. And for that I’m forever grateful to her.