Things we love about Yvonne Craig, who died this week at 78

Yvonne_Craig_Marta_Orion_Star_Trek

Oak Cliff’s own Yvonne Craig, most famous for her role as TV’s Batgirl, died this week at her home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. as a result of breast cancer that had spread to her liver.  She was 78.

Craig was born in Illinois and lived in Ohio before moving to Oak Cliff as a teenager in 1951. She attended Adamson High School for a semester before transferring to Sunset.

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Here are a few things everyone should know about Yvonne Craig:

Screen shot 2015-08-20 at 8.44.47 AMShe didn’t graduate from Sunset because she was short a P.E. credit. She told Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Morning News that she didn’t like suiting up for gym class and would make excuses to get out of it.

Acting was not Craig’s first love. She was a ballerina. While still in her teens, she was accepted as a dancer with Ballet Russe Monte Carlo, where she was a cast member for several years.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1957 in hopes of finding work as a dancer, but instead, she got into acting. In the late ’50s and early ’60s, she had roles on “Perry Mason,” as well as the movie “Gidget,” along with other films, where she worked along side Bing Crosby an Cesar Romero.

Elvis-kissing-Yvonne-Craig-in-Worlds-FairShe kissed Elvis. Craig was cast in back-to-back Elvis vehicles, “It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Kissin’ Cousins,” in 1963 and 1964, respectively.

She was the original female superhero. In an obituary Wednesday, CNN called her “a pioneer of female superheroes.” Craig told CNN in 2013: “I hear from women that I was their role model. ‘When I was a little girl, I realized that girls could kick butt just like guys,’ [they’d say].”

Craig was cast in “Batman” in 1967, for the show’s third season. Her dance skills came into use as she performed all of her own stunts.

One of Craig’s most memorable TV roles was as Marta the Orion slave girl on “Star Trek,” where she performs a seductive dance for Captain Kirk.

Craig might be the best thing about the 1967 B movie “Mars Needs Women,” which is set in Houston but was filmed entirely in Dallas. Check out Paula Bosse’s breakdown of filming locations from that movie at Flashback Dallas.

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From 2009-2011, she voiced Olivia’s grandma in the animated series “Olivia.”

According to NPR, Craig had a real estate career and was involved with philanthropy. “She was an advocate for workers unions, free mammograms and equal pay for women,” their obituary states.

She loved her fans, and she wouldn’t want them to be sad. From her family’s public statement following her death: “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 felt that she lived a wonderful life and was blessed in many ways.”

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