Although she was one of Hollywood's most devastatingly beautiful B-movie sexpots in the '40s and '50s, De Carlo will forever be remembered as the morbid matriarch on the goofy sitcom The Munsters
. Of course, when this Canada native took the part, she had no idea Lily Munster would become her signature role. But while the series died after just two seasons, it lived forever via reruns and earned her generations of fans. Yet De Carlo had a career both before and after her years at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Raised by a single mother who enrolled her in dance lessons as a child, De Carlo was still a teen when she began landing bit movie parts, finally winning her first lead in the unremarkable 1945 Western Salome, Where She Danced
, in which she played an exotic seductress. In the '40s and '50s, she continued to tempt and allure in a variety of big-screen roles in westerns, comedies and film noir. While she occasionally appeared in more prestigious projects — she was Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments
and a fabulous femme fatale in the film noir Criss Cross
— she was usually called upon to do little more than look gorgeous and act campy. In the '60s, she became a pop culture icon when she was cast in her iconic role as Lily Munster on the CBS sitcom The Munsters
. The highlight of her post-Munsters work came in 1971 when she portrayed an aging bombshell in Stephen Sondheim's Follies
, in which she defiantly belted out the anthem "I'm Still Here." The title nicely summed up her career which spanned an impressive half a century. She had been retired from showbiz for over a decade when she died of heart failure in 2007.Yvonne De Carlo Fast Facts:
- When she was 15 her mother took her to Hollywood to break into show business. Unsuccessful, they returned to Canada where she began dancing at night clubs.
- Was named Miss Venice Beach in a 1941 beauty pageant.
- Took the role of Lily Munster to help pay for medical bills after her husband, stuntman Bob Morgan, was injured.
- In 1971, she starred in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Follies; he wrote the classic song "I'm Still Here" just for her.
- Reprised the role of Lily Munster for the 1981 made-for-TV movie The Munsters' Revenge.
- Published Yvonne: An Autobiography in 1987, in which she listed 22 of her lovers including Howard Hughes, Burt Lancaster, Robert Stack, Robert Taylor, Billy Wilder and Aly Khan.
- Made a cameo in the 1995 made-for-TV movie Here Come the Munsters, one of her last on-screen appearances before her death in 2007.
- Yvonne De Carlo Relationships:
- Bob Morgan - Ex-husband
- Marie Middleton - Mother
- Bruce Morgan - Son
- Michael Morgan - Son