Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yvonne Craig

It hasn't been a good week for real life members of the Batman family. Sunday, Lenny Robinson, a Maryland man who dressed as Batman and visited sick children, was killed in a tragic accident. Then yesterday morning, I woke up to the news that Yvonne Craig had passed away. Of course, most people know Yvonne from her signature role, Batgirl on the 1960's Batman TV show.  

What I loved about Yvonne in her role as Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl was her self-assuredness. It takes a certain level of confidence to prance around in a skin tight purple body suit and yellow cape and not look embarrassed by the whole thing. Yvonne's Batgirl displayed a sharp intelligence and quick wit, making her more than a match for the more experienced Batman and Robin

Yvonne's Batgirl was light on her feet, whirling about the Day-Glo sets high kicking henchmen into submission. A lot of this grace came from Yvonne's early training as a ballet dancer. 

In addition to Batman, Yvonne Craig made a notable appearance on Star Trek as a green skinned Orion slave girl. She appeared in other TV shows including another genre series, Wild Wild West. She also made movies including two with Elvis Presley, Kissin' Cousins and It Happened At the World's Fair.  

After the early 1970's, Yvonne's TV and movie career came to a halt. Maybe she was typecast as Batgirl or maybe she had other things to do. She was quite successful in real estate. Still, she never lost her affinity for Batgirl; she spoke out against Barbara Gordon being shot by the Joker in The Killing Joke.

Mark Evanier's post about Yvonne Craig is, naturally, better written and contains a story of Mark meeting Yvonne that is at once sweet, heartwarming and very funny.  But Mark does note an unusual element in his fascination with Yvonne Craig. 

"Oddly enough, it was not seeing her play Batgirl that aroused my interest. It was seeing her not play Batgirl. She couldn't be that beautiful to me in the costume because you couldn't see her face...Yvonne Craig had a great face. The rest of her was nice too but I sure liked that face."

Yvonne Craig did have quite the lovely face but I was impressed by how well that beauty came through around the mask. Those eyes, so beautiful, yes, but they projected strength and resolve. This was a Batgirl you did not mess with.   

It's hard to think of Yvonne Craig as no longer alive. Because she had so effectively removed herself from public view, she stayed young and energetic in our hearts and minds forever. And somewhere, Yvonne Craig's dance of grace and delight will never end. 

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