PACIFIC PALISADES—On the night of Tuesday, August 18, actress and dancer Yvonne Craig passed away at the age of 78 due to complications related to breast cancer. At the time of her death, she had been battling cancer, which had metastasized to her liver, for two years.

Yvonne Craig as Batgirl in 1967.
Yvonne Craig as Batgirl in 1967.

Yvonne Craig was born in Illinois and began her career as a ballet dancer, becoming the youngest member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She was discovered by Patrick Ford, son of director John Ford, who cast in her first acting role in “The Young Land,” a western starring Patrick Wayne. She went on to appear in a variety of TV shows and movies, such as “Love, American Style,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” and “Kojak.” She was also a philanthropist who advocated for equal pay for women, worker’s unions and free mammograms for low-income women.

Craig was best known for her role as Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, in the 3rd season of the 1960s “Batman” television series. In an interview with CNN, she described the character as being “very close to who [she] is.” She was also known for starring in two movies alongside Elvis Presley“It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Kissin’ Cousins”and playing Marta, an Orion slave girl in an episode of “Star Trek.”

In a statement on Craig’s website, a family member stated, “Having spent time with her over these past months, she made her wishes known to me and made me promise I would pass them along.  Wish Number One, is that her family, friends and fans would know how much she loved them and always treasured her time with them. Wish Number Two, was that no one 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.”

She is survived by her husband Kenneth Aldrich, her sister Meridel Carson and two nephews. Her family requests that in place of sending flowers, mourners send money to The Angeles Clinic Foundation, a cancer research institute.