Yvonne De Carlo
|Yvonne De Carlo|
de Carlo in 1951
|Born||Margaret Yvonne Middleton
September 1, 1922
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||January 8, 2007
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
|Spouse(s)||Robert Drew Morgan (1955-1968)|
|Children||Bari Lee (1947- ) (stepdaughter)
Bruce Ross (1956- )
Yvonne De Carlo (born Margaret Yvonne Middleton; September 1, 1922 – January 8, 2007) was a Canadian-American actress, dancer, and singer of film, television, and musical theatre, best known for starring as Sephora in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), after having appeared in many B movie westerns. Her best remembered role in television is as Lily Munster in the CBS television series The Munsters (1964-1966).
Daughter of a salesman, William Middleton, and an aspiring actress, Marie De Carlo, she was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton in Point Grey, now part of Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1922. Her mother ran away from home when she was 16 to become a ballerina; after several years working as a shop girl, she married in 1924. De Carlo was three years old when her father abandoned the family. She then lived with her grandparents. By the time she entered grade school she found her strong singing voice brought her the attention she longed for. De Carlo was taken to Hollywood, where her mother enrolled her in dancing school. Mother and daughter were uprooted when their visas expired and ultimately returned to Vancouver.
De Carlo pair made several trips to Los Angeles until 1940, when she was first runner-up to "Miss Venice Beach" and was hired by showman Nils Granlund as a dancer at the Florentine Gardens. She had been dancing for Granlund only a short time when she was arrested by immigration officials and deported to Canada, but in January 1941, Granlund sent a telegram to US immigration officials pledging his sponsorship of De Carlo in the U.S., and affirmed his offer of steady employment, both requirements to reenter the country. Seeking contract work in the movies, she abruptly quit the Florentine Gardens after less than a year, landing a role as a bathing beauty in the 1941 Harvard, Here I Come. Other roles were slow to follow, and De Carlo took a job in the chorus line of Earl Carroll. During World War II she performed for U.S. servicemen and received many letters from GIs.
De Carlo was a Paramount starlet, but the studio signed her due to her resemblance to Dorothy Lamour. When she moved to Universal Studios, she was used as a B-movie version of Maria Montez, one of the studio's reigning divas. De Carlo's 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. In 1946 exhibitors voted her the ninth-most promising "star of tomorrow". In 1947 she played her first leading role in Slave Girl. In 1949 she was cast opposite Burt Lancaster in Criss Cross and her career began its ascension. She starred in the 1953 film The Captain's Paradise, as one of two wives a ship captain (Alec Guinness) keeps in separate ports.
In 1954, during the casting for The Ten Commandments (1956), actress Audrey Hepburn was originally considered for the role of Nefretiri. However, Hepburn was later dropped because of her slim body, and the role of Nefretiri was given to Anne Baxter. In his autobiography, DeMille describes why he decided to cast De Carlo as Moses' wife: "I cast Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, the wife of Moses, after our casting director, Bert McKay called my attention to one scene she played in Sombrero, which was a picture far removed in theme from The Ten Commandments, I sensed in her a depth, an emotional power, a womanly strength which the part of Sephora needed and which she gave it." De Carlo later appeared in Band of Angels and McLintock!.
De Carlo was also a successful character actress on television. and made her debut on a 1952 episode of Lights Out. The part led to other roles in The Ford Television Theatre, Shower of Stars, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Bonanza, Screen Directors Playhouse, Burke's Law, Follow the Sun (2 episodes), Adventures in Paradise, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Name of the Game and The Virginian among others.
De Carlo was in debt by 1964 when she signed a contract with Universal Studios to perform the female lead role in The Munsters opposite Fred Gwynne. She was also the producers' choice to play Lily Munster when Joan Marshall, who played Phoebe, was dropped from consideration for the role. When De Carlo was asked how a glamorous actress could succeed as a ghoulish matriarch of a haunted house, she replied simply, "I follow the directions I received on the first day of shooting: 'Play her just like Donna Reed.' The sitcom also starred Al Lewis, Beverley Owen (later Pat Priest) and Butch Patrick. Season 1 ratings were high, but began to dip by Season 2, due in part to the debut of Batman, which dominated the ratings. After the show's cancellation, De Carlo reprised the role as Lily Munster in the tecnicolor Munster movie, Munster, Go Home!, partially in hopes of renewing interest in the TV series. Despite the attempt, The Munsters was cancelled after 72 episodes.
Opera and musical theatre
Trained in opera and a former chorister at St Paul's Anglican Church, Vancouver, when she was a child, De Carlo possessed a powerful contralto voice. In 1951 she was cast in the role of Prince Orlovsky in a production of the opera Die Fledermaus at the Hollywood Bowl. De Carlo 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.
After 1967 De Carlo became increasingly active in musicals, appearing in off-Broadway productions of Pal Joey and Catch Me If You Can. In early 1968 she joined Donald O'Connor in a 15-week run of Little Me, staged between Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas. Her defining stage role was as "Carlotta Campion" in Stephen Sondheim's musical, Follies in 1971-1972.
De Carlo appeared on the talk show, Vicki, hosted by her lifelong fan, Vicki Lawrence, on a special episode Sitcom Legends, along with Dawn Wells, Jamie Farr, Dick Sargent, Donna Douglas and former co-star Butch Patrick in 1994.
She had a small cameo role on the Munsters television movie remake Here Come the Munsters in 1995. Her final movie appearance was as Norma, in the 1995 Disney remake of The Barefoot Executive. Her last television interview appearance was on January 20, 2002, in a segment of Larry King Live which also featured Richard Hack, author of Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters.
De Carlo suffered a minor stroke in 1998. She later became a resident of the Motion Picture & Television Hospital, in Woodland Hills, where she spent her last years. De Carlo died of natural causes on January 8, 2007. Her remains were cremated.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, De Carlo was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
De Carlo married stuntman Robert Drew Morgan, whom she met on the set of Shotgun, on November 21, 1955. They had two sons, Bruce Ross (b. 1956) and Michael (1957-1997). Morgan also had a daughter, Bari Lee (b. 1947), from a previous marriage. Morgan lost his left leg after being run over by a train while filming How the West Was Won (1962). However, his contract with MGM assumed no responsibility for the accident. De Carlo and Morgan filed a $1.4 million lawsuit against the studio, claiming her husband was permanently disabled. They divorced in June 1974.
Her mother died in 1993 from a fall. Her son Michael died in 1997; causes were unknown, although a Santa Barbara Police report contains concerns about possible foul play.
De Carlo was a naturalized citizen of the United States.
De Carlo was an active Republican and campaigned for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon during their presidential elections. She educated herself in conservative grassroot politics and was later elected the Honorary Mayor of North Hollywood in 1969.
- I Look at You (1941)
- The Kink of the Campus (1941)
- The Lamp of Memory (1942)
- Fun Time (1944)
- Bonanza: A Rose For Lotta (1959) - Miss Lotta Crabtree
- The Virginian (Episode:44 year: 1963)
- The Greatest Show on Earth: The Night the Monkey Died (1964)
- The Munsters (1964–1966) - Lily Munster
- Custer (1 episode, 1967)
- The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974)
- The Mark of Zorro (1974)
- Roots (1977) (miniseries)
- The Munsters' Revenge (1981)
- Murder, She Wrote: Jessica Behind Bars (1985) (guest star)
- A Masterpiece of Murder (1986)
- Tales From the Crypt (1995)
- Here Come the Munsters (1995) (cameo)
- The Barefoot Executive (1995)
|1957||BoxOffice Blue Ribbon Awards||Actress for The Ten Commandments||Won|
|1964||BoxOffice Blue Ribbon Awards||Actress for McLintock!||Won|
|1987||Fantafestival Awards||Best Actress for American Gothic||Won|
- Jacob Sparks, Karen (2008). Encyclopedia Britannica. p. 123. ISBN 9781593394257.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (January 11, 2007). "Yvonne De Carlo, Who Played Lily on 'The Munsters,' Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- De Carlo, Yvonne; Warren, Doug (1987). Yvonne: An Autobiography. St Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-00217-3.
- Nils Thor Granlund: The Swedish Showman Who Invented American Entertainment; Hoefling, Larry J.; Inlandia Press, OK, 2008, p. 259
- De Carlo, Yvonne; Warren, Doug (1987). Yvonne: An Autobiography. USA: St Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-00217-3. p. 12
- Nils Thor Granlund: The Swedish Showman Who Invented American Entertainment; Hoefling, Larry J.; Inlandia Press, OK, 2008, p. 262
- Yvonne: An Autobiography; De Carlo, Yvonne & Warren, Doug; St. Martins Press (1987), p. 60
- "The Stars of To-morrow.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 10 September 1946. p. 11 Supplement: The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) - Audio Commentary with Katherine Orrison".
- DeMille, Cecil Blount (1959). The autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille. Prentice-Hall. p. 416.
- "The Day - Google News Archive". News.google.com. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "Yvonne De Carlo (1922 - 2007) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- Time Magazine
- "Boxoffice Magazine (February 28, 1966) - Blue Ribbon Honor Roll Call, pg. 154.". BoxOffice.
- Thomas, Nick (2011). Raised by the Stars: Interviews with 29 Children of Hollywood Actors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6403-6. (Includes an interview with De Carlo's son, Bruce Morgan)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yvonne De Carlo.|
- Official website
- Yvonne De Carlo at the Internet Movie Database
- Yvonne De Carlo at the Internet Broadway Database
- NY Times obituary
- Media Newswire press release: 'Munsters' Television Star Yvonne De Carlo Dies at 84
- Yvonne De Carlo in 'Lamp Of Memory' (1944, Soundie) at The Prelinger Archive
- "Yvonne de Carlo". Obituary (London: Daily Telegraph). 12 January 2007.
- Yvonne De Carlo at Find a Grave
- Photographs and literature