Around 1950, Yvonne's parents decided to leave Columbus and move to Dallas. Yvonne made her parents promise to let her study ballet at the prestigious Edith James School in Dallas. Yvonne was considered to be a promising dancer, and at the Christmas show she caught the attention of the guest of honor, prima ballerina absoluta Alexandra Danilova. Danilova arranged to have Craig audition for George Balanchine at the School of American Ballet, and Fergei J. Denham of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Both accepted her, and Craig chose to join the Ballet Russe. She started with the Ballet Russe in 1954 at the age of sixteen, making her one of their youngest members. Craig left the company in 1957 when, while playing the Metropolitan Opera, Danilova ordered that Craig be replaced as second lead. Feeling that Danilova had broken her promise, Craig walked out on her contract.
Craig then moved to Los Angeles and studied dance at the Eugene Loring School. Even back when she was still with the Ballet Russe, Hollywood producers Edmond Chevie and Joe Pasternak had approached her to see if she were interested in acting. Craig informed them that she was not interested in acting but was content to be a ballerina. When Chevie again approached Craig after she had left the Ballet Russe, she agreed to enter acting, thinking that it would be a source of income until she joined another ballet company.
Craig was first hired for the film The Young Land, shot in 1957 but released in 1959. In this Western she played opposite Patrick Wayne (son of John Wayne); Dennis Hopper and Ken Curtis were also in the film. But before shooting began on The Young Land, Craig played a small role in the movie Eighteen and Anxious, and so this was her first time on screen.
Several films later she danced with Bing Crosby in High Time (1960). She became involved with actor-singer Jimmy Boyd, who was then a roommate of Lindsay Crosby. Boyd was famous for his early fifties recording of "I Saw Mommie Kissing Santa Clause." They soon married, against the advice of John Forsythe, who thought they should first live together. The marriage lasted only two years. Craig would later reflect that being a child of the fifties, she had thought that lusting after someone meant that you had to marry them. She later dated humorist Mort Sahl for more than three years and considered marriage to him (click here for a brief example of Sahl's writing). Later she was deeply involved with actor Bill Bixby, including during her time on the Batman series. In 1988 she married real estate developer Kenneth Aldrich, who had been her companion for seventeen years.
Craig also briefly dated Elvis Presley in October of 1962, after meeting him to act in his film It Happened at the World's Fair. She was also in his movie Kissin' Cousins.
Craig made numerous television guest appearances, in shows such as Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, My Favorite Martian, Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, Dobie Gillis, The Mod Squad, My Three Sons, and The Wild Wild West. Her most famous role, though, is as Batgirl in the Batman TV series.
Craig's acting career slowed in the seventies when she began refusing bikini roles. She did some independent casting, and coaching of actors. For a time she co-produced industrial shows and an independent feature. She then entered the real estate business, first commercial and then residential, at one point owning her own business in southern California. She also co-owned a prepaid telephone card business. She did return to acting in 1990 with the movie Diggin' Up Business.
Craig has also traveled extensively with her husband, to such exotic locales as Peru, Africa, and New Zealand. In addition, she now appears regularly at science fiction conventions, and has written an autobiography of her career, From Ballet to Batcave and Beyond.
For additional biographical information, see my list of Craig links and my Craig Bibliography. If you have anything to add or correct, please email me.
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