Yvonne Craig, who famously played Batgirl in the live-action, Adam West-starring 1960s Batman TV series, died Monday, the New York Times reports. The death occurred at her Pacific Palisades, CA home after a two-year fight with breast cancer. Craig was 78. Her condition had not been formerly publicized, and a statement from a member of her family was released, explaining:
She wanted to spend all of her energy concentrating on winning her battle. She was adamant about this and wanted to tell her story when she was cured and feeling better.
According to a separate obituary on her website, she is survived by her husband (Kenneth Aldrich), her sister (Meridel Carson), and her nephews Christopher and Todd. Despite having been in chemo for two years, the aforementioned statement recalled that “this didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit,” and that “In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up.”
As CNN notes, Craig was a dancer and performed her own stunts on the Batman series, which she joined in its last season. Her career as an actor was an accident, of sorts. Though she was initially resolute about only being a dancer, she was invited to dinner by a producer, and at the dinner John Ford’s son asked her if she was in movies, and the producer rushed to proclaim himself her manager. This led to her starring role in the 1959 film, The Young Land. She appeared in numerous other films, including two with Elvis Presley. She ended up using her dancing skills in her role as the slave girl Marta in the Star Trek episode, “Whom Gods Destroy”:
Later in life, Craig became a real estate broker and published a memoir, but continued to act on occasion, voicing the grandmother character on the Nickelodeon show Olivia.
The family member who penned the statement on Craig’s site spoke of a series of wishes the actress had shared. The first was “that her family, friends and fans would know how much she loved them and always treasured her time with them.”