Who was Yvonne De Carlo?
The late Canadian-American actress Margaret Yvonne Middleton, best remembered by her professional name Yvonne de Carlo, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on September 1, 1922, meaning Virgo was her zodiac sign. She had previously appeared in 124 TV series and movies stop acting in 1995, while she is perhaps still best remembered for her role as Sephora in the 1956 family adventure film “The Ten Commandments” directed by Cecil B. DeMille and also starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. It follows Moses as he learns about his true parentage, and the film won 12 of 24 award nominations, including an Oscar win for Best Effects, Special Effects.
Education and early life
Yvonne was raised in Vancouver by her father William Shelton Middleton, a New Zealand salesman, and mother Marie de Carlo, who was born in France to a Scottish mother and a Sicilian father, and was a milliner. William left the family when Yvonne was three, and it is believed he married two more times and had several children.
Yvonne attended Lord Roberts Elementary School, close to her grandparents’ home, and grew up wanting to be an author. At the age of seven, she wrote the poem “A Little Boy” won a competition organized by “Vancouver Sun” magazine, and often wrote short plays, including her own version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
Seeing her daughter’s potential, Marie worked hard to pay for her dancing and singing lessons; she studied at the June Roper School of the Dance and in May 1939 performed at the Hy Singer’s Palomar Ballroom.
Yvonne enrolled in 1941 and then began pursuing an acting career rather than a college degree.
Roles in movies
Yvonne made her screen debut in the musical adventure comedy “Harvard, Here I Come!” from 1941, while some of her next roles were in the 1942 musical comedy “Youth on Parade”, the 1943 romantic comedy “No Time for Love”. and the 1944 romantic war comedy ‘Standing Room Only’.
Perhaps what marked the 1940s for her and made her popular in the US was playing Gina Ferrara the 1947 crime drama “Brute Force,” directed by Jules Dassin, starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, and Charles Bickford; it follows the feud between Captain Munsey and prisoner Joe Collins.
In 1952 Yvonne starred as Adelaide McCall in the western “The San Francisco Story”, directed by Robert Parrish, and also starring Joel McCrea and Sidney Blackmer; Set in San Francisco in 1956, the film follows a group of honest citizens who try to fight corrupt politicians. Some of her notable appearances in the rest of the 1950s were in the 1953 romantic musical “Sombrero”, the 1954 adventure western “Passion”, and the 1958 drama “La Spada e la Croce”.
In 1966, Yvonne played the role of Lily Munster in the popular family fantasy comedy “Munster, Go Home!”, directed by Earl Bellamy, which also starred Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis. It follows the Munsters who have just learned that Herman is the new Lord of Munster Hall and have therefore traveled to England.
Yvonne had only a few movie roles in the 1970s, including in the 1971 drama “The Seven Minutes,” the 1974 thriller “The Girl on the Late, Late Show,” and the 1979 adventure “Black Fire.”
She was already semi-retired in the 1980s, while her most notable performance in the decade was perhaps playing Ma in the 1987 horror film “American Gothic,” directed by John Hough, and starring Sarah Torgov, Terence Kelly and Mark Erickson. The film follows a group of people whose seaplane malfunctions and crash-land on an island inhabited by a psychopathic family; the film won Yvonne a Fantafestival Award for Best Actress.
Her three last film roles were in the 1993 family drama ‘Seasons of the Heart’, the horror science fiction comedy ‘Here Come the Munsters’ and the comedy ‘The Barefoot Executive’, both in 1995.
Roles in TV series
Yvonne spent her career appearing in films and had only a few roles in TV series – her debut was in the 1952 episode “Another Country” of the horror sci-fi mystery “Lights Out”, while she went on to play Madame 44 in the episode “Madam 44” of the musical comedy “The Ford Television Theater” and Pearl Krauss in the 1956 episode “Hot Cargo” of the romantic comedy “Screen Directors Playhouse”. The rest of the decade saw her appear in an episode or two of the comedy “Schlitz Playhouse”, the crime comedy “Playhouse 90” and the western “Bonanza”.
From 1964 to 1966, Yvonne starred as Lily Munster in the critically acclaimed family fantasy comedy “The Munsters”, which Norm Liebmann and Ed Haas created, and which also starred Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne. It follows the adventures of a family of friendly monsters and the series was nominated for five awards. Yvonne was then cast to appear in an episode of the action-adventure comedy “The Girl from UNCLE”, the western “Custer” and another western “The Virginian”.
Her only TV series role in the 1970s was playing Fifi Aprea and Madame Jeannot in two episodes (1978-1979) of the family adventure “Fantasy Island”, starring Herve Villechaize and Ricardo Montalban, and created by Gene Levitt. It follows Mr. Roarke as he runs his unique resort island, the series aired from 1977 to 1984 and was nominated for 10 awards.
You may know her best in the role of Lily Munster. In this episode of Murder She Wrote, Yvonne De Carlo makes a cameo appearance as Miss Springer or as her inmates like to call her “Cookie”. Don’t miss the episode “Jessica Behind Bars” FRIDAY at 8AM/7C on COZI TV!
Posted by Cozi TV on Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Yvonne also appeared in only one TV series in the ’80s playing Miss Springer in the 1985 episode ‘Jessica Behind Bars’ of the crime mystery ‘Murder, She Wrote’, and her last three TV series roles were in the episode “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: Part 1 & 2” of the comedy “Dream On”, a 1992 episode of the drama “2000 Malibu Road”, and the 1993 episode “Death of Some Salesmen” of the crime fantasy comedy “Tales from the Crypt”.
Yvonne sang songs in 16 TV series and movies, including “Take It or Leave It” and “Bahama Mama” in the 1955 crime thriller film “Flame of the Islands”, “He’s Gone Away” in the episode “Far Out Munsters” from 1965. of the series “The Munsters”, and the song “How Are Things in Transylvania?” in the 1981 crime comedy film “The Munsters’ Revenge”.
Yvonne received special thanks for two episodes, released in 2000 and 2003, of the biographical historical documentary series “Biography”.
Some of her last talk show appearances were on “Hour Magazine,” “The Jane Wallace Show,” and “Vicki!”
Awards and nominations
Yvonne won two awards, including her aforementioned award for “American Gothic”; she also won a 1949 Photoplay Award for Best Performance of the Month (November) for “The Gal Who Took the West”.
She received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960, one for motion pictures and one for television.
Love life and relationships
Yvonne was 20 when she met the American filmmaker Billy Wilder in 1943, and she considered him her first great love; they broke up after about a year, when he fell in love with American actress Doris Dowling.
She started in 1945 with American billionaire Howard Hughes Jr. to date, after flying from Los Angeles to Vancouver to meet her; they went on a date a day later, and although Yvonne wanted to marry him, Howard was not ready for a serious relationship.
She then dated American actors Burton Stephen Lancaster and Robert Stack, and was engaged to American actor Howard Duff, but they separated in 1948.
In 1949, Yvonne began dating famous American actor and stuntman Jacques Joseph ‘Jock’ O’Mahoney; she became pregnant by Jock and then learned she had a large ovarian cyst, which she underwent surgery to remove, but lost the baby in the process; her and Jock’s relationship ended when she learned that he was also dating American actress Margaret Field, whom he eventually married.
In the first half of the 1950s Yvonne was engaged to both British photographer Cornel Lucas and British actor Robert Urquhart.
— Hollywood Remembered (@ridethepastlane) April 21, 2019
She met American stuntman Robert Drew ‘Bob’ Morgan in the first half of 1955, but he was married by then with a daughter. Robert’s wife died the same year, and he and Yvonne subsequently exchanged vows on November 21, 1955, as she subsequently gave birth to their two sons Bruce Ross and Michael. Robert was seriously injured while performing stunts in the 1962 movie “How the West Was Won,” and it took him five years to walk unassisted.
Yvonne and Robert’s divorce was finalized in July 1973, for unknown reasons.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Yvonne was an active Republican, supporting Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.
She was Anglican and a member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
Yvonne also tried to launch her career in the music industry; her only album “Yvonne De Carlo Sings” was released in 1957, while some of her most popular singles were “Rockin’ In The Orbit”, “I Would Give My Heart” and “That’s Love”.
She published her autobiography “Yvonne: An Autobiography” on January 1, 1987.
Yvonne bought an 11-room farmhouse in 1950 and described it as her “dream house”; she added a large swimming pool and stables for her horses, then sold the property in 1975.
Death, appearance and wealth
Yvonne suffered a stroke in 1998 and then spent the last years of her life at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital; she died of heart failure on January 8, 2007 at the age of 84 and her remains were cremated.
She had brown eyes and black hair, was 1.63 m tall and weighed about 53 kg.
Yvonne’s net worth at the time of her death was estimated at more than $2 million.