Most people heard the sad news this week of Yvonne Craig’s death at 78 after a battle with breast cancer. Probably known best as Batgirl in the 1966-68 Adam West Batman series, Susan Oliver fans may also remember that she was the only other Green Orion Slave Girl on the original Star Trek series, reviving the alien species (first realized by Susan in 1964) for the 1969 episode “Whom Gods Destroy” with Steve Ihnat (who, sadly, died very young in 1972).
I exchanged emails with her in early 2013 regarding Susan Oliver, since they had both appeared in the 1959 Sal Mineo film The Gene Krupa Story. Ironically, they never actually met during the filming of that movie, but Yvonne related to me how the two of them talked at the Paramount 20th anniversary party for Star Trek in the mid-1980’s. I found that very interesting, that the only two Orion Slave Girls at that point in Star Trek history wound up in some corner talking to each other (while most of the attention, no doubt, was focused on William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gene Roddenberry, etc.).
I can pass along one other piece of information which may be of interest: Yvonne largely stepped away from acting as the 1970’s wore on out of frustration over only being cast in “girlish” roles despite that fact that she was a woman approaching 40 (in other words, exactly the same frustration that seems to have driven Susan Oliver out of acting during that time frame). Hollywood’s a tough town, and it was even tougher on fine women like these (hopefully it’s a little better today – but I’m not sure it’s that much better).
Rest In Peace, Yvonne (and thank you so much for all the memorable work!)