YVONNE CRAIG AS BATGIRL!
Yvonne Joyce Craig was born on the 16th of May 1937. Daughter to Maurice and Pauline Craig, Yvonne's initial ambition was to be a ballet dancer. She began her ballet training at the age of ten, and a few years later, after moving from Columbus, Ohio to Dallas, Texas, she continued her studies at the prestigious Edith James School. It was during a performance here that Yvonne attracted the attention of visiting prima ballerina absoluta Alexandra Danilova, who hastily arranged for Yvonne to audition for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The audition was successful and Yvonne continued her training there commencing in 1954. After a disagreement with Danilova, Yvonne broke her contract with the Ballet Russe in 1957.
Although it wasn't her desire at this stage of her career to take up acting as a full time career, Yvonne accepted an offer from a Hollywood producer to appear in the film "The Young Land", considering it to be a temporary opportunity to earn some money before joining another ballet school (which alas, was never to happen). Shot in 1957, but not released until 1959, this western featured Yvonne playing a young and attractive Mexican girl who develops a crush for the leading man, Patrick Wayne (Yup! Son of The Duke). Despite it being her first acting role, because of the delays in its release, the public's actual first glimpse of Yvonne as an actress was by means of the 1957 teen exploitation movie produced by Edmond Chevie, "Eighteen and Anxious".
Among other roles, during the early sixties Yvonne found herself starring opposite Sal Mineo in "The Gene Krupa Story" and dancing with Bing Crosby in "High Time". Although eventually losing out to Natalie Wood for a role in "West Side Story", she went on to appear in two Elvis Presley movies; "It Happened at the World's Fair" (1962) and "Kissin' Cousins" (1964) in which she played the leading lady. Yvonne also enjoyed a brief courtship with The King at this time, who she later went on to describe as having "a great self-deprecating sense of humour" and who was "very much the southern gentleman, as far as good manners were concerned".
Throughout the rest of the sixties Yvonne appeared in countless classic television shows such as Star Trek,
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Wild Wild
West. Then, after being pitched to ABC by means of an impressive
promo film that had been hastily shot by William Dozier, Yvonne
was cast in what was undoubtedly her most famous role as Batgirl.
Yvonne Craig was the perfect choice to play Batgirl, and she soon discovered that her natural athleticism and biking skills were to be used to full effect during the filming of this series. While the producers insisted on stunt doubles being employed for Adam and Burt, Yvonne on the other hand, not only got to ride the Batcycle herself, but was even "allowed" to perform her own stunts and fight scenes. There were two main reasons for this; the first being that all the fight scenes were choreographed to a beat. Being a dancer, Yvonne had no difficulty with the moves or timing involved. Secondly, as Yvonne later described herself, "If I were the producer, I would have done it the same way. Everybody was taking a punch at Adam and Burt, so you don't want to know that your lead actor now has his nose where his ear is. But, with me (the villains) were just grabbing for me. Nobody was throwing a punch that might smash up my face. Hubie Kerns, the stunt coordinator, did Adam's stunts. And that's why, if you look at the show, Adam looks fine until he gets into the fight scenes, and then suddenly he has a little pot belly. I can't believe that they'd let any man with that kind of stomach on him wear a leotard".
Unfortunately, after just one series of Batman featuring Batgirl, the producers decided to pull the plug, claiming that it was costing more to produce an episode of Batman than they were able to recoup. After a few more years into the early seventies, Yvonne decided to concentrate less on her acting career and devote more time to her other interest in the real estate business. In 1988 she married real estate developer Kenneth Aldrich, who had been her companion for seventeen years.
Don't forget to visit Yvonne's brilliant website at YvonneCraig.com
Click Here to view the legendary Batgirl Promo Film / Pilot Episode.