Yvonne Craig, best-known to television fans for her role as the crime-fighting Batgirl, has died at the age of seventy-eight.
Star Trek fans remember Craig for her role as Marta, the Orion slave girl, in the original series episode Whom Gods Destroy, which aired in 1969.
Craig began her career as a ballerina before being discovered by director John Ford‘s son Patrick, who tapped her for the lead in 1959’s The Young Land.
Movies, including two with Elvis Presley, and television appearances soon followed. Craig appeared on 1960s shows such as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Fantasy Island, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Land of the Giants, Mod Squad, The Wild Wild West, Emergency! and more.
According to the actress, they put her on Batman because “they needed someone who could encourage an over-forty male audience and a prepubescent female audience. That’s the real reason why they hired me!” Craig did all of her own stunts and the motorcycle riding on the show.
The cause of death was breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. Her family made a statement on her website, saying that “she…lost her battle with metastasized breast cancer that had gone to her liver. Her operation right before Christmas, removed portions of her liver and some tumors as well as her gallbladder (not infected but in the way) and honestly she never totally recovered from that and more malignancies showed up again much to our dismay.
“She had been in chemo almost continuously for the past two plus years since being diagnosed and that had weakened her immune system as well as her body. This didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit, she intended to fight and win this battle. In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up.”
Craig wanted “her family friends and fans [to know] how much she loved them and always treasured her time with them.” She didn’t want anyone to “waste a moment of their time in mourning for her loss in sadness, but instead celebrate the awesome life she had been fortunate enough to live.”
The family has asked that instead of flowers, that contributions to the Los Angeles Clinic Foundation.