Batgirl Pioneer Yvonne Craig Dead at 78

by | PopCrush
Len Trievnor, Getty Images

If Mad Max‘s Imperator Furiosa got you hyped this summer, and you can’t wait to see Katniss Everdeen kick some ass in the final Hunger Games film this fall, you can thank Yvonne Craig, an actress who helped pioneer female superhero roles as the first on-screen Batgirl in the 1960s. Sadly, she died Monday night (August 17) after a two-year cancer battle, CNN confirmed.

Craig’s family said in a statement released Tuesday night (August 18) that she had been undergoing chemotherapy for months, and the process had weakened her immune system.

“This didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit, she intended to fight and win this battle,” they said. “In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up.”

Craig took on the role of Batgirl/librarian Barbara Gordon in 1967 as part of the final Batman TV season, and told CNN earlier this year that working alongside Adam West and Burt Ward, who played Batman and Robin, respectively, made her an unwitting feminism-emblem.

“I hear from women that I was their role model,” she told the site. “‘When I was a little girl, I realized that girls could kick butt just like guys,’ [they’d say].”

“The crew liked one another, the cast liked one another,” she added. “It doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it’s a joy to go to work every day.”

Craig also appeared on Star Trek, and starred in It Happened at the World’s Fair and Kissin’ Cousins alongside Elvis Presley.

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