Yvonne De Carlo
Real name: Margaret Yvonne Middleton
Birthdate: September 1, 1922
Yvonne De Carlo (born Margaret Yvonne Middleton) (September 1, 1922 – January 8, 2007) was a Canadian-born American film and television actress, best known for her role as "Lily Munster" on the 1964-1966 CBS television series The Munsters.
The daughter of an aspiring actress, Marie De Carlo, and a salesman, William Middleton, De Carlo was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton in Vancouver, British Columbia. "I was named Margaret Yvonne - Margaret because my mother was very fond of one of the derivatives of the name. She was fascinated at the time by the movie star Baby Peggy, and I suppose she wanted a Baby Peggy of her own." Her father abandoned her family when she was 3. As a teenager, “Peggy” was taken by her mother to Hollywood where she enrolled her in dancing school. Unable to find work, they returned to Canada. The pair made several such trips until 1940, when De Carlo was first runner up to "Miss Venice Beach" and was hired as a showgirl at Florentine Gardens. She made her first film appearance in 1941, but could only find bit parts for the next few years.
She was a Paramount starlet, but the studio apparently signed her mainly for her slight resemblance to Dorothy Lamour, as it was common then for studios to sign lookalikes in order to remind the stars in question that they easily could be replaced should their behavior become difficult or their box-office appeal begin to wane. When she moved to Universal Studios, she was utilized as a B-movie version of Maria Montez, one of the studio's reigning divas.
Her break came in 1945 playing the title role in Salome, Where She Danced. Though not a critical success, it was a box office favorite, and De Carlo was hailed as an up-and-coming star. Of the role, she was less sure, saying of her entrance, "I came through these beaded curtains, wearing a Japanese kimono and a Japanese headpiece, and then performed a Siamese dance. Nobody seemed to know quite why."
In 1947 she played her first leading role in Slave Girl and then in 1949 had her biggest success. As the female lead opposite Burt Lancaster in Criss Cross, she played a femme fatale, and her career began to ascend. The 1957 film Band of Angels featured her opposite Clark Gable in an American Civil War story, along with Sidney Poitier and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
For the next several years, she was constantly working although many of the films failed to advance her career.
Cast in The Ten Commandments (1956) in a leading role (as Zipporah, also spelled Sephora, Moses' wife), De Carlo was part of a major hit. The film was a huge success and De Carlo was among those to be praised for her restrained work.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Yvonne De Carlo was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6124 Hollywood Blvd. and a second star at 6715 Hollywood Blvd. for her contribution to television.
Trained in opera and a former chorister when she was a child in Vancouver, De Carlo possessed a powerful contralto voice and released an LP of standards called Yvonne De Carlo Sings in 1957.This album was orchestrated by the movie composer John Williams. She sang and played the harp on at least one episode of The Munsters.
Her last TV movie appearance was as Norma, in the 1995 Disney remake of The Barefoot Executive, opposite Eddie Albert.