Far too many people who were part of my childhood have passed away this year. Unfortunately, I have just read that actress Yvonne Craig has died at the age of 78. For starters, I was shocked to read that she was 78 years old at the time of her death. In my mind, she was still in her 30s looking like she was in her 20s while playing Batgirl on Batman opposite Adam West. She was still Marta the Orion slave girl from the classic Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy”. And as with the other celebrities from my childhood who have passed away this year, it’s left me feeling a little old.
I had the honor to meet Yvonne Craig in 1999 at the Trek Expo in Tulsa. That year, my wife Geri and I traveled alone but I had strict instructions from my son Joey. He wanted an autograph from Batgirl. We had spent many lunches when I worked second shift watching Batman over lunch. Much to our delight, Ms. Craig was simply amazing. She was incredibly pleasant and glad to be there meeting her fans. And when she discovered the autograph was for a five year old boy, she asked to see a picture and even offered me her email address so she could hear if he enjoyed it. When I showed my son the autograph the next day, he asked that it be framed. It was on his wall for several years before being placed into a scrapbook. That Sunday night, I sent an email thanking her and expressing my son’s gratitude. She responded within the hour, a simple gesture that I still cherish.
I had wondered why she had disappeared from the convention circuit and wasn’t participating in the DVD release celebrations last year. As it turns out, she’s been fighting cancer for the last two years. Her breast cancer had metastasized to her liver and she simply couldn’t fight it off any more. Considering my own wife Geri’s battle with breast cancer in the last year, it reminds me how blessed I am to still have Geri by my side.
My thoughts go out to Yvonne Craig’s family. Let’s not mourn her loss but celebrate her wonderful career. From her other TV appearances on The Six Million Dollar Man or Land of the Giants to her role in Mars Needs Women (1967), she was a fixture in Hollywood in the 60s and 70s. Check out this rare interview and look at the original Batgirl network presentation on YouTube as well as the infamous 1970s equal pay for women public service announcement. Rest in peace Yvonne Craig!