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Best Known As 'Batgirl,' Yvonne Craig Dies At 78

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now some sad news from Gotham City.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The actress who originated the role of Batgirl in the 1960s "Batman" TV series has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATMAN")

YVONNE CRAIG: (As Batgirl) I'm Batgirl. You are no longer alone, caped crusaders.

INSKEEP: Yvonne Craig died of breast cancer at the age of 78. It is, though, a moment to remember a remarkable life, beginning with these questions.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATMAN")

BURT WARD: (As Robin) Who is she? Where'd she come from?

ADAM WEST: (As Batman) I have no idea, Robin.

GREENE: Well, we'll tell you. Yvonne Craig started out as a classically trained ballerina, which came in handy when she joined the "Batman" show for its third season.

INSKEEP: That's because Craig performed her own stunts, zonking and boinging bad guys alongside Batman and Robin.

GREENE: And she did this before Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman.

INSKEEP: Or Halle Berry's Storm. It was an era when a female hero had to subvert expectations to do her job.

GREENE: Yvonne Craig's Batgirl was out saving the boys when they thought they were saving her.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATMAN")

CRAIG: (As Batgirl) Now to get you out of those silk straitjackets.

WARD: (As Robin) Holy vanity case. What a time to powder her nose.

CRAIG: (As Batgirl) Correction, boy wonder. It's my electronic Batgirl Compact with a laser beam, which will destroy anything.

INSKEEP: And when she wasn't saving the boys, Craig was busy fighting for the girls, like in this 1970s public service announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT)

WEST: (As Batman) Quick, Batgirl. Untie us before it's too late.

CRAIG: (As Batgirl) It's already too late. I've worked for you a long time, and I'm paid less than Robin. Same job, same employer means equal pay for men and women.

WEST: (As Batman) No time for jokes, Batgirl.

CRAIG: (As Batgirl) It's no joke. It's the Federal Equal Pay Law.

WARD: (As Robin) Holy act of Congress.

GREENE: Yvonne Craig's death at age 78 is a moment to remember a character men needed a bit more than they thought they did. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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