Original “Batgirl” Yvonne Craig has died at the age of 78, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Craig had been battling breast cancer for the past two years, and died of complications from the disease, which had spread to her liver, according to a statement from her family.
“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.”
Born in Taylorville, Illinois, and growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Yvonne Craig originally trained as a ballet dancer before moving into acting, doing commercials and bit parts in movies and TV shows in the late 1950s.
It was in the late 1960’s that Yvonne got one of the two roles for which she would be most known: in 1967-1968, Yvonne appeared as “Batgirl” in the third and final season of the campy late 1960s show, Batman.
Although Craig’s stint as Batgirl only lasted one season, Yvonne re-visited the role in a 1970s PSA about gender pay inequality — a subject that is still making headlines to this day.
Shortly after her stint as Batgirl, Yvonne got another role that would define her career — that of the Green Orion Slave Girl in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (although it was known simply as Star Trek at the time).
Yvonne followed up her roles as Batgirl and Slave Girl with more bit parts in TV and movies, before her career began winding down.
After her acting career, the original Batgirl became a successful businesswoman, according to her website, working in both real estate and in the prepaid phone card business, and later writing a book about her career and her time as Batgirl. Her last acting credit was as the voice of Grandma on the TV series Olivia.
Throughout her life and career, Yvonne was active in charity work, as well as an advocate for equal pay in the entertainment industry.
Yvonne’s family is asking that well-wishers make a donation to The Angeles Clinic Foundation.