Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lily Munster from The Munsters played by Yvonne De Carlo

Margaret Yvonne Middleton was born on September 1, 1922 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Named so because her mother loved the nickname Peggy. Early in her acting career, she decided to change her name, combining her middle name and her Mother's maiden name, giving us Yvonne De Carlo.  She is probably most remembered for one of her latest roles as Lily Munster on the TV comedy The Munsters.  However, Yvonne had previously, a long standing career as a well established actress.  Her career ended up  spanning six decades and she has worked with many Hollywood legends.

Yvonne De Carlo played the role of Lily on the 1960s TV show The Munsters

Her first acting appearance was in the 1941 short film I Look at You co-starring Dona Drake and Alan Ladd (1941).  That same year she also landed a role in Harvard, Here I Come co-starring Max Rosenbloom, Arline Judge, Stanley Brown, Boyd Davis, Virginia Sale, and Don Beddoe.

For the next few years, she played minor roles in various shorts and films such as This Gun for Hire co-starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, and Laird Cregar (1942); Youth on Parade co-starrng John Hubbard, Martha O'Driscoll and Richard Beavers (1942); Road to Morocco co-starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dona Drake, Dorothy Lamour, and Anthony Quinn (1942); Rhythm Parade co-starring Nils T. Granlund, Gale Storm, Margaret Dumont, and Robert Lowery (1942); Salute for Three co-starring Betty Jane Rhodes, Cliff Edwards, Macdonald Carey, Marty May, and Dona Drake (1943); For Whom the Bell Tolls co-starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, Akim Tamiroff, and Vladimir Sokoloff (1943); Let's Face It co-starring Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Eve Arden, Zasu Pitts, Dona Drake, and Marjorie Weaver (1943); and So Proudly We Hail! co-starring Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, George Reeves, Veronica Lake, Walter Abel, Barbara Britton, and Sonny Tufts (1943).

A young Yvonne De Carlo then

In 1943, she starred her first credited role in major film in The Deerslayer with Bruce Kellogg, Jean Parker, Wanda McKay, Larry Parks, and Warren Ashe.  She had another string of minor roles for the next couple of years including films such as True to Life co-starring Mary Martin, Franchot Tone, Victor Moore, and Dick Powell (1943); Standing Room Only co-starring Paulette Goddard, Fred MacMurray, Hillary Brooke, Edward Arnold, and Roland Young (1944); The Story of Dr. Wassell co-starring Gary Cooper, Laraine Day, Dennis O'Keefe, Signe Hasso, Paul Kelly, and Elliott Reid (1944); Fun Time co-starring Eddie Foy Jr., Noel Neill, Oscar O'Shea, and Mabel Paige (1944); Kismet co-starring Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Edward Arnold, Hugh Herbert, James Craig, and Joy Page (1944); Rainbow Island co-starring Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Bracken, Barry Sullivan, Anne Revere, and Gil Lamb (1944); Here Come the Waves co-starring Bing Crosby, Betty Hutton, Gwen Crawford, Sonny Tufts, and Ann Doran (1944); Practically Yours co-starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray and Gil Lamb (1944); and Bring on the Girls co-starring Veronica Lake, Sonny Tufts, Eddie Bracken, and Marjorie Reynolds (1945).

In 1945 she landed the starring role in Salome Where She Danced co-starring with Rod Cameron, Walter Slezak, Marjorie Rambeau, and David Bruce.  She would no longer be in the rut of a minor film actress and became one of the popular sex symbols of the 1940s. 

Yyvonne De Carlo as Salome featured in the 1945 film Salome Where She Danced

De Carlo continued her success playing roles in films such as Frontier Gal co-starring Rod Cameron, Andy Devine, Clara Blandick, Fuzzy Knight, Jan Wiley, Andrew Tombes, Sheldon Leonard, and Beverly Simmons (1945); Song of Scheherazade co-starring Brian Donlevy, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Phillip Reed, and Eve Arden (1947); Brute Force co-starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Ella Raines, and Ann Blyth (1947); Slave Girl co-starring George Brent, Broderick Crawford, Andy Devine, Albert Dekker, Lois Collier, and Arthur Treacher (1947); Black Bart co-starring Dan Duryea, Jeffrey Lynn, John McIntire, Percy Kilbride, and Frank Lovejoy (1948); Casbah co-starring Tony Martin, Peter Lorre, Hugo Haas, Märta Torén, and Thomas Gomez (1948); River Lady co-starring Dan Duryea, Helena Carter, Rod Cameron, John McIntire, Florence Bates, and Lloyd Gough (1948); Criss Cross co-starring Burt Lancaster, Dan Duryea, and Stephen McNally (1949); Calamity Jane and Sam Bass co-starring Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Lloyd Bridges, Norman Lloyd, and Willard Parker (1949); and The Gal Who Took the West co-starring Charles Coburn, John Russell, Scott Brady, and Myrna Dell (1949);

Yvonne De Carlo in Slave Girl 1947

Yvonne began the 1950s starring in films such as Buccaneer's Girl co-starring Philip Friend, Elsa Lanchester, Robert Douglas, Andrea King, and Norman Lloyd (1950); and The Desert Hawk co-starring Richard Greene, Rock Hudson, Jackie Gleason, George Macready, Joe Besser, and Anne Kramer (1950);

De Carlo went on to star in Tomahawk co-starring Van Heflin, Preston Foster, Alex Nicol, John War Eagle, Rock Hudson, Jack Oakie, and Ann Doran (1951); Hotel Sahara co-starring Peter Ustinov and David Tomlinson (1951); and Silver City co-starring Edmond O'Brien, Richard Arlen, Gladys George, Barry Fitzgerald, and Kasey Rogers (1951).

Yvonne De Carlo in Criss Cross 1949

In 1951, De Carlo made her first TV show appearance in Lights Out starring Frank Gallop.  Her film credits that year also include The San Francisco Story co-starring Joel McCrea, Sidney Blackmer, Florence Bates, Richard Erdman, and Onslow Stevens; Scarlet Angel co-starring Rock Hudson, Richard Denning, Amanda Blake, Bodil Miller, Whitfield Connor, and Henry O'Neill; and Hurricane Smith co-starring John Ireland, Forrest Tucker, James Craig, Lyle Bettger, and Richard Arlen.

Yvonne would appear on The Ford Television Theatre starring with Philip Carey, Kathryn Givney, Harry Shannon, Arthur Space, and Donald Randolph in 1953.  She would also that year star in films such as Sombrero co-starring Ricardo Montalban, Pier Angeli, Cyd Charisse, Vittorio Gassman, Nina Foch, and Rich Jason; Sea Devils co-starring Rock Hudson, Denis O'Dea, Maxwell Reed, and Michael Goodliffe; The Captain's Paradise co-starring Alec Guinness, Celia Johnson, Charles Goldner, and Miles Malleson; Fort Algiers co-starring Carlos Thompson, Raymond Burr, Anthony Caruso, and Leif Erickson; and The Backbone of America co-starring Wendell Corey, Gene Lockhart, Thomas Mitchell, and Lee Patrick.

Yvonne would continue on in this busy time of her film career, averaging 3 to 4 films per year during the 1950s. She starred in films such as Border River with Joel McCrea, Pedro Armendáriz, Alfonso Bedoya, George J. Lewis, Erika Nordin, and Howard Petrie (1954); Tonight's the Night co-starring David Niven, Barry Fitzgerald, and George Cole (1954); The Contessa's Secret aka La contessa di Castiglione co-starring Georges Marchal, Rossano Brazzi, Paul Meurisse, and Lucienne Legrand (1954); and Passion co-starring Cornel Wilde, Raymond Burr, Lon Chaney Jr., Anthony Caruso, and Rodolfo Acosta (1954).

Yvonne De Carlo was quite the sex symbol in the late 1940s and into the 1950s

De Carlo would star in Shotgun with Sterling Hayden, Zarchary Scott, Robert J. Wilke, Angela Green, and Guy Prescott (1955); Magic Fire co-starring Carlos Thompson, Rita Gam, Peter Cushing, Valentina Cortese, and Alan Badel (1955); Screen Directors Playhouse: Hot Cargo co-starring Rory Calhoun and Alan Reed (1956); Flame of the Islands co-starring Howard Duff, Zachary Scott, James Arness, Barbara O'Neil, and Kurt Kasznar (1956); Raw Edge co-starring Rory Calhoun, Neville Brand, Mara Corday, Robert J. Wilke, Emile Meyer, and Rex Reason (1956); and Star Stage co-starring Jeffrey Lynn, Luther Adler, and Lawrence Dobkin (1956).

In 1956 De Carlo made one of her more memorable film appearances when she played the role of Sephora, Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments.  She co-starred with Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Edward G. Robinson, Anne Baxter, Nina Foch, John Derek, Debra Paget, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, John Carradine, and many others.

Yvonne De Carlo played the role of Sephora in The Ten Commandments 1956
Charleton Heston (Moses) and Yvonne De Carlo (Sephora) in The Ten Commandments 1956

She followed up starring in Death of a Scoundrel with George Sanders, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Victor Jory, Tom Conway, Coleen Gray, Nancy Gates, Werner Klemperer, and John Hoyt (1956); Shower of Stars: Skits & Sketches co-starring Jack Benny, Van Johnson, and Georgia Gibbs (1957); Schlitz Playhouse: Storm Over Rapallo co-starring George Humbert, Peg La Centra, Ricardo Montalban, Paul Lambert, Len Lesser, George Mathews, and Robin Morse (1957); and Band of Angels co-starring Clark Gable, Sidney Poitier, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Andrea King, Patric Knowles, Rex Reason, Torin Thatcher (1957).

Yvonne De Carlo in Band of Angels 1957

In 1958 Yvonne starred in the show Playhouse 90: Verdict of Three co-starring Gladys Cooper, Angela Lansbury, Celcil kellaway, Rod Taylor, and Carmen Mathews (1958).  She would also star in La spada e la croce with Jorge Mistral, Terence Hill, and Rossana Podestà.  De Carlo went on to star in Timbuktu with Victor Mature, George Dolenz, John Dehner, and Marcia Henderson (1959); followed by a string of TV shows such as Bonanza starring Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker (1959); Adventures in Paradise starring Gardner McKay, James Holden and Hugo Haas (1960); Follow the Sun starring Barry Coe, Brett Halsey, Jay Lanin, with John Alderson, Gary Lockwood, and Walter Burke (2 episodes, 1961-62); and Death Valley Days starring John Vivyan (1962).

In 1963, De Carlo starred with John Wayne in McLintock! also starring Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Jerry Van Dyke, Chill Wills, Jack Kruschen, Edgar Buchanan, Strother Martin, and Bruce Cabot; Burke's Law starring Gene Barry, Gary Conway, Regis Toomey, Jack Haley, June Allyson, Agnes Moorehead, Leon Lontoc, and Rosmarie Stack (1963); The Virginian starring James Drury, Lee J. Cobb and Doug McClure (1963); A Global Affair starring Bob Hope, Michèle Mercier, Elga Andersen, Nehemiah Persoff, Miiko Taka, John McGiver, Robert Sterling, Mickey Shaughnessy, and Liselotte Pulver (1964); Law of the Lawless starring Dale Robertson, Lon Chaney Jr., William Bendix, and Bruce Cabot (1964); and The Greatest Show on Earth starring Barbara Bain, Suzi Carnell, Martin Landau, Buck Taylor, Jack Palance, Dudley Henriques, and Paul Picerni (1964).

Maureen O'Hara, John Wayne and Yvonne De Carlo stars of the film McLintock!

It was in 1964 that the beautiful Yvonne De Carlo was offered the not-so-beautiful role of Lily on the television comedy The Munsters.  Fortunately for all long time Munster fans, she accepted what would be her first ever regular television series role and it would be difficult now to imagine anyone else playing the character.  She co-starred with
Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster), Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster),  Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Beverly Owen (Marilyn Munster, 1964), and Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster, 1964-1966).  She played the role for the entire two year run of the show and then some.  The year the show ended, a film featuring the Munster family was released called Munster, Go Home!.  The film co-starred Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Debbie Watson, Hermione Gingold, Robert Pine, Terry-Thomas, Bernard Fox, Richard Dawson, Maria Lennard, John Carradine, and Jeanne Arnold.

The cast of The Munsters: Yvonne De Carlo (Lily), Al Lewis (Grandpa), Butch Patrick (Eddie), Fred Gwynne (Herman), and Beverly Owen (Marilyn)
After The Munsters, Yvonne went back to her mix of guest television series appearances and film roles such as The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. starring Stefanie Powers, Noel Harrison and Leo G. Carroll (1967); Hostile Guns co-starring George Montgomery, Tab Hunter, Brian Donlevy, Leo Gordon, John Russell, and Richard Arlen (1967); Custer co-starring Wayne Maunder, Slim Pickens and Michael Dante (1967); The Power co-starring George Hamilton, Suzanne Pleshette, Earl Holliman, Richard Carlson, Nehemiah Persoff, Barbara Nichols, Gary Merrill, and Ken Murray (1968); Arizona Bushwhackers co-starring Howard Keel, Marilyn Maxwell, John Ireland, Brian Donlevy, and Scott Brady (1968); and The Virginian starring James Drury, Lee J. Cobb and Doug McClure (1969).

Yvonne De Carlo played Lily in the TV Show The Munsters

De Carlo began the 1970s starring in The Name of the Game starring Gene Barry, Robert Stack, Susan Saint James, and Anthony Franciosa (1970); The Delta Factor co-starring Yvette Mimieux, Christopher George, Diane McBain, Ted de Corsia, Ralph Taeger, Rhodes Reason, and Joseph Sirola (1970);  The Seven Minutes co-starring Wayne Maunder, Marianne McAndrew, Edy Williams, Philip Carey, Jay C. Flippen, John Carradine, Harold J. Stone, and Tom Selleck (1971); The Girl on the Late, Late Show co-starring Don Murray, Bert Convy, Van Johnson, Mary Ann Mobley, Gloria Grahame, Van Johnson, John Ireland, Walter Pidgeon, and Laraine Stephens (1974); The Mark of Zorro co-starring Frank Langella, Ricardo Montalban, Anne Archer, Gilbert Roland, Robert Middleton, and Louise Sorel (1974); Black Fire co-starring Roland Ferlini (1975); Blazing Stewardesses co-starring Robert Livingston, Don 'Red' Barry, Connie Hoffman, and Geoffrey Land (1975); It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time co-starring Anthony Newley, Stefanie Powers, Isaac Hayes, John Candy, and Lloyd Bochner (1975); La casa de las sombras co-starring John Gavin and Leonor Manso (1976); and Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood co-starring Dennis Morgan, Shecky Greene, Teri Garr, Phil Leeds, Madeline Kahn, Art Carney, Bruce Dern, Cliff Norton, and Virginia Mayo (1976). 

Yvonne De Carlo made several film appearances together with Gene Barry

In 1977 De Carlo starred in the mini-series Roots which also starred many big name actors such as LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Ralph Waite, Ben Vereen, Edward Asner, Robert Reed, John Amos, Lynda Day George, Vic Morrow, Louis Gossett Jr., Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Uggams, Tracey Gold, Moses Gunn, Sandy Duncan, Chuck Connors, George Hamilton, Scatman Crothers, Renn Woods, Richard Roundtree, Cicely Tyson, and Richard Farnsworth just to name a few.

Yvonne would go on to star in Satan's Cheerleaders with John Ireland, John Carradine, Jacqueline Cole, Jack Kruschen, Hillary Horan, Alisa Powell, and Kerry Sherman (1977); Nocturna co-starring Nai Bonet, John Carradine, Sy Richardson, and Brother Theodore (1979); Guyana: Cult of the Damned starring Stuart Whitman, Gene Barry, Jennifer Ashley, John Ireland, and Joseph Cotten (1979); Fuego negro co-starring Rolando Fernández, Cesar Imbert, and Susana Kamini (1979); and Fantasy Island  starring
Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize (2 episodes, 1978-79). 

Yvonne De Carlo in Nocturna 1979

De Carlo started off the 1980s starring in The Silent Scream co-starring Rebecca Balding, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Steele, and Avery Schreiber (1980); Sam Marlow, Private Eye co-starring Robert Sacchi, Franco Nero, Michelle Phillips, Victor Buono, Sybil Danning, Olivia Hussey, Misty Rowe, and Jay Robinson (1980); she would revive her role as Lily Munster in a television movie The Munsters' Revenge co-starring Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, K.C. Martel, Jo McDonnell, Peter Fox, Bob Hastings, Herb Voland, and Sid Caesar (1981); and Liar's Moon co-starring Matt Dillon, Cindy Fisher, Hoyt Axton, Broderick Crawford, Margaret Blye, Christopher Connelly, Richard Moll, and Tonja Walker (1982).

Yvonne De Carlo and the cast of The Munsters' Revenge 1981

After a three year hiatus, Yvonne returned to the screen in Flesh and Bullets co-starring Colleen Brennan, Glenn McKay, Cydney Hill, Cydney Hill, and Cesar Romero (1985); Murder, She Wrote starring Angela Lansbury, William Windom and Ron Masak (1985); Play Dead co-starring Stephanie Dunnam, Ron Jackson, David Cullinane, and Glenn Kezer (1986); A Masterpiece of Murder co-starring Bob Hope, Don Ameche, Anne Francis, Jayne Meadows, Claudia Christian, Frank Gorshin, Anita Morris, Jamie Farr, and Stella Stevens (1986); Vultures co-starring Stuart Whitman, Meredith MacRae, Aldo Ray, Greg Mullavey, Carmen Zapata, Jimmy Stathis, and Maria Perschy (1987); American Gothic co-starring Sarah Torgov, Terence Kelly, Rod Steiger, Mark Ericksen, Caroline Barclay, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Fiona Hutchison, Stephen Shellen, and Janet Wright (1988);  and Cellar Dweller co-starring Debrah Farentino, Pamela Bellwood, Vince Edwards, Brian Robbins, Miranda Wilson, Michael Deak, Floyd Levine, and Jeffrey Combs (1988).

In the early 1990s, De Carlo starred in shows and films such as Mirror Mirror co-starring Karen Black, William Sanderson, Kristin Dattilo, Ricky Paull Goldin, and Rainbow Harvest (1990); The New Adventures of the Black Stallion co-starring Mickey Rooney and Richard Ian Cox (1990); Oscar co-starring Sylvester Stallone, Ornella Muti, Tim Curry, Don Ameche, Marisa Tomei, Peter Riegert, Vincent Spano, Linda Gray, Marisa Tomei, Ken Howard, and Kurtwood Smith (1991); Dream On starring Brian Benben, Denny Dillon and Wendie Malick (1991); Desert Kickboxer co-starring John Newton, Paul L. Smith, Judie Aronson, and David Correia (1992); Seasons of the Heart co-starring Leigh Lombardi, Sam Hennings, Claude Akins, and Logan Hall (1993); The Naked Truth co-starring Robert Caso, Kevin Schon, Herb Edelman, Courtney Gibbs, M. Emmet Walsh, David Birney, Brian Thompson, Lou Ferrigno, Alex Cord, Erik Estrada, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Billy Barty, Ted Lange, and Norman Fell (1993); Tales from the Crypt co-starring Tim Curry, Ed Begley Jr. (1993).

In 1995, De Carlo made a cameo appearance in the television movie Here Come the Munsters starring Edward Herrmann, Veronica Hamel, Robert Morse, Christine Taylor, Mathew Botuchis, and Joel Brooks.  This would be followed that same year by her last acting performance in The Barefoot Executive co-starring Eddie Albert, Monica Allison, Nathan Anderson, Alan Blumenfeld, Julie Benz,     Stanley DeSantis, and Chris Elliott.

Yvonne De Carlo in her later years

As Yvonne's health declined, she resided at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California where on January 8, 2007 she passed away.  However, she will never be forgotten with the film and television legacy she leaves behind.

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