Yvonne Craig, Actress Who Played Batgirl, Is Dead at 78

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Yvonne Craig, the actress best known as Batgirl in the 1960s TV series “Batman,” died on Monday at her home in California. She was 78.

The cause was complications from cancer, according to a notice posted on her website.

A statement from Ms. Craig’s family said that she had been battling breast cancer, which eventually metastasized to her liver, for over two years, but that she had kept her condition private.

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“She wanted to spend all of her energy concentrating on winning her battle,” the statement said. “She was adamant about this and wanted to tell her story when she was cured and feeling better.”

In her role as Batgirl, Ms. Craig added a scrappy, girl-power element to the campy crime series whose other prominent female character was a slithery, sexy Catwoman played by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt.

Joining the show in its third season, Batgirl’s flash of purple and yellow contrasted with the caped crusader’s dark image. She was known for jumping into the fray along with Batman and Robin, and for delivering a few clunks, pows and zaps of her own to villains.

Before she began her TV career, Ms. Craig was a ballet dancer and traveled with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as the group’s youngest member. Besides “Batman,” she acted in a number of TV series, including “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Land of the Giants,” “Mod Squad,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Love, American Style,” “Emergency!” and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

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She also appeared in the 1964 Elvis Presley film “Kissin’ Cousins.

The Ohio-raised actress wrote a book, “From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond,” in 2000. After Hollywood, she began a career as a real estate broker.

She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Aldrich; her sister, Meridel Carson; and nephews Christopher and Todd Carson, the obituary on her website said.

“She had been able to do this with joy and much laughter and she wouldn’t have changed a thing,” her family wrote. “Well, maybe one thing and that would have been not to get cancer.”

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Yvonne Craig in 2006. Credit Rex Features, via Associated Press

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