Yvonne Craig, TV's '60s Batgirl, Dead at 78

Yvonne Craig, best known for her role as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl on the third season of the 1960s "Batman" TV series, has passed away at age 78 according to multiple reports including her official website.

Craig was the first performer to portray the role of Batgirl in live-action, introduced in 1967 on the show's third and final season. She appeared in all 26 episodes of the third season, joining Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) in their pursuit against colorful costumed crime. The character was one of the first instances of a female superhero depicted in live-action, predating Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman by more than a decade.

After "Batman" ended, Craig remained associated with the character, appearing up until recently at conventions and autograph shows and reprising the role in a 1972 public service announcement advocating equal pay for women.

"It's fun because you're meeting young women who thought that you were a role model then," Craig said in a 1998 interview with Femme Fatales Magazine. "You're also meeting families, where guys will say 'Oh my God, I had such a crush on you, and now I watch it with my little boy or little girl.' So I think it's lovely to be part of something that still holds up, and can be seen by children and their families."

In an interview published on her website, she expressed displeasure with the acclaimed 1988 Batman comic book story "The Killing Joke" by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, where Barbara Gordon is kidnapped and shot in the spine by the Joker, leaving the character paralyzed. "I don't know why they would want to do that to her," Craig is quoted. "Somebody sent me that comic book, and in it, she's hit in the spine by a bul­let! It was an awful thing to do, but I figure it's their character and they can do what they want -- as long as they don't do it to me!"

Craig was a trained ballerina before transitioning into acting. Beyond her role as Batgirl, she also appeared on episodes of "Star Trek," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "The Wild Wild West." In recent years, she voiced the title character's grandmother on animated series "Olivia."

On her website, its disclosed that Craig passed away due to complications from breast cancer. She's survived by her husband, Kenneth Aldrich, her sister Meridel Carson and nephews Christopher and Todd Carson.

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