Yvonne Craig Dies: Zap! Pow! Sigh

The death from breast cancer of Yvonne Craig at—no, it is not possible—78, the woman who played Batgirl in the 1960s TV hit Batman, hit me like one of the show’s cartoon balloon “Zap! Pow!” punches, and not one that was pulled per the series campy fight scenes.

I didn't know her, hadn't seen the show in decades or, quite honestly, thought about her. Doesn't matter. TV has the power to insert people you will never know into the warp and woof of your existence to be retrieved, and grieved, at a moment’s notice.

Craig had been a ballet dancer before becoming and actress, and would go on to be a successful businesswoman afterwards. But it is the amber of an iconic TV series in which she remains fixed fondly in my mind.

She was another of those TV crushes that proliferated for Boomer boys in numbers matched only by those on the UHF tuner we manipulated like a safecracker with a tumbler as we tried to lock in a re-run laden independent station on a schoolday afternoon.

According to her family, Craig's wish was that she be celebrated and not mourned. So, I want to thank her in absentia for brightening my days and daydreams with those balletic bat-moves in that shiny black, form-fitting jumpsuit.

Along with Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) and Susan Dey (Laurie Partridge) and Barbara Eden (Jeannie) and Diahann Carroll (Julia) and Marlo Thomas (‘That Girl’ to Yvonne’s 'Batgirl'), she was placed right up there on the pedestal stand with my TV.

Take another little piece of my heart.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.