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Yvonne: An Autobiography

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Actress. Born Peggy Yvonne Middleton in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, she attended dancing school supported by her mother, and at 18 they traveled to Hollywood where she worked as a both a hat check chorus girl until she won a bit part in a musical short "I Look at You," in 1941. She appeared unbilled twice more before she earned a feature film part in "Harvard Here I Come." She continued as an extra, earning her first named role as Wah-Tah in "The Deerslayer" in 1943. Her break came in 1945 when she played the title role in "Salome, Where She Danced." In 1947 she played her first starring role in "Slave Girl" and in 1949 had her biggest hit opposite Burt Lancaster in "Criss Cross." She worked steadily appearing in such films as "Scarlet Angel" and "Hurricane Smith" in 1952; in the epic "The Ten Commandments" in 1956 in which she played Sephora; and "Band of Angels" in 1957. That same year she released an album of standards called "Yvonne DeCarlo Sings." In 1959, she made the cross over to television, appearing in guest roles on "Bonanza," and "The Virginian." In 1964, she landed what is probably her most famous role, Lily Munster, in the television series "The Munsters" which would run through the 1966 season and spawn two movies; "The Munsters' Revenge" in 1981 and "Here Come the Munsters" in 1995 in which she made a cameo appearance. Her later career consisted of both television and movie roles including "Oscar" in 1991, "The Naked Truth" in 1992, and her final role in a television remake of "The Barefoot Executive" in 1995. She suffered a stroke in 1998 and eventually retired to the Motion Picture and Television Fund's home, until her death at age 84. She has two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, one at 6124 Hollywood Blvd. and a second star for her contributions to television at 6715 Hollywood Blvd.

On December 2nd, 1968,
Variety announced that Yvonne De Carlo would be heading the third national tour of Hello, Dolly! The show would open in New Haven, Connecticut on December 28th for what originally was supposed to be a five month tour. Yvonne was replacing Jane Russell who dropped out of the tour. Yvonne DeCarlo replaced Jane Russell when she dropped out of the third national tour in 1968. The reason Jane dropped out was because her husband of three months, Roger Barrett, who was to co-star in the show with Jane, died of a heart attack on November 18th, 1968.

Yvonne DeCarlo | Call On Dolly:

  • Yvonne DeCarlo
  • Yvonne DeCarlo - Rotten Tomatoes

    A vibrant, full-bodied performer with a rich voice and a lushly sensuous if somewhat odd beauty, Yvonne DeCarlo achieved stardom in the 1940s in some of the more bizarre escapism of that era. During her heyday and later in character roles, she acted in remarkably few films that could be called first-class or even important. Given how campy many of her credits are, it is fitting that DeCarlo is best known, because of TV syndication, as the sensible but ghoulish Lily Munster on the silly if often funny horror spoof sitcom, "The Munsters" (CBS, 1964-66). As with many female stars of the 50s (Susan Hayward, Eleanor Parker, Anne Baxter) put into routine melodrama, she could give overblown performances; yet likability and talent were there, genuine feeling mixed with a flair for comedy that wasn't properly tapped often enough. The result was a career that, in its own way, lasted, such that when a fiftyish DeCarlo impressively belted out the showstopping "I'm Still Here" in the wonderful Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical, "Follies" (1971), all the poor roles she was given or had chosen to do seemed irrelevant, because the woman had a point. The Canadian DeCarlo, abandoned by her father, was raised by a poor...

    A vibrant, full-bodied performer with a rich voice and a lushly sensuous if somewhat odd beauty, Yvonne DeCarlo achieved stardom in the 1940s in some of the more bizarre escapism of that era. During her heyday and later in character roles, she acted in remarkably few films that could be called first-class or even important. Given how campy many of her credits are, it is fitting that DeCarlo is best known, because of TV syndication, as the sensible but ghoulish Lily Munster on the silly if often funny horror spoof sitcom, "The Munsters" (CBS, 1964-66). As with many female stars of the 50s (Susan Hayward, Eleanor Parker, Anne Baxter) put into routine melodrama, she could give overblown performances; yet likability and talent were there, genuine feeling mixed with a flair for comedy that wasn't properly tapped often enough. The result was a career that, in its own way, lasted, such that when a fiftyish DeCarlo impressively belted out the showstopping "I'm Still Here" in the wonderful Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical, "Follies" (1971), all the poor roles she was given or had chosen to do seemed irrelevant, because the woman had a point.