Yvonne De Carlo

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Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo in The Ten Commandments film trailer.jpg
Yvonne De Carlo in
The Ten Commandments (1956)
Born Margaret Yvonne Middleton
(1922-09-01)September 1, 1922
West Point Grey (present-day Vancouver), British Columbia, Canada
Died January 8, 2007(2007-01-08) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart failure[1]
Education Lord Roberts School
King Edward High School
Occupation Actress, dancer, singer
Years active 1941–1995
Notable work Sephora from Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Robert Drew Morgan
(m. 1955; div. 1973)
Children Bruce Morgan (b. 1956)
Michael Morgan (1957–1997)
Parent(s) William Middleton (father)
Marie De Carlo (mother)
Musical career
Instruments Vocals

Yvonne De Carlo (born Margaret Yvonne Middleton; September 1, 1922 – January 8, 2007) was a Canadian-American actress, dancer, and singer. A brunette with blue-gray eyes, she became an internationally famous Hollywood film star in the 1940s and 1950s, made several recordings, and later acted on television and stage.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, De Carlo was raised in the home of her Presbyterian maternal grandparents. Her mother enrolled her in a local dance school when she was three. By the early 1940s, she and her mother had moved to Hollywood, where De Carlo participated in beauty contests and worked as a dancer in nightclubs. In 1942, she signed a three-year contract with Paramount Pictures, where she was given uncredited bit parts in important films and was intended to replace Dorothy Lamour. Paramount loaned her out to Republic Pictures for her first credited role in a feature film, Wah-Tah in the independent production Deerslayer (1943).

She obtained her breakthrough role in Salome, Where She Danced (1945), a Universal-International release produced by Walter Wanger, who described her as "the most beautiful girl in the world."[2][3][4] The film's publicity and success turned her into a star, and she signed a five-year contract with Universal. From then on, Universal starred her in B movies, usually westerns, adventures, or musicals in Technicolor. Cameramen voted her "Queen of Technicolor" three years in a row.[5] Tired of being typecast as exotic women, her first efforts to become a serious dramatic actress came with her performances in two film noirs, Brute Force (1947) and Criss Cross (1949).

She received further recognition as an actress when she starred in the British comedies Hotel Sahara (1951) and The Captain's Paradise (1953). Her film career reached its peak when eminent producer-director Cecil B. DeMille cast her as Moses' Midianite wife, Sephora, her most prominent role, in his biblical epic The Ten Commandments (1956), which was immensely successful at the box office.[6]

Her last notable leading roles were Rosalind Dee in Flame of the Islands (1956), Bridget Kelly in Death of a Scoundrel (1956), Amantha Starr in Band of Angels (1957), and Mary Magdalene in the Italian biblical epic The Sword and the Cross (1958). As her film career went into decline, she accepted supporting roles in McLintock! (1963), with John Wayne, and A Global Affair (1964), with Bob Hope. She played Lily Munster, the wife of Herman Munster, in the CBS sitcom The Munsters (1964–1966)[7] and reprised the role in a Technicolor feature film, Munster, Go Home!, and a television film, The Munsters' Revenge (1981).

De Carlo died of heart failure in 2007. For her contributions to motion pictures and television, she was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Early life

"I moved heaven and earth to make sure my daughter would have the opportunities that had been denied to me."
Marie DeCarlo Middleton, 1943 interview[8]

De Carlo was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton on September 1, 1922, in West Point Grey (also known as Point Grey[9] and now a part of Vancouver), British Columbia, Canada. She was the only child of William Middleton, a New Zealand[10] salesman of English descent, and Marie De Carlo (August 28, 1903 – December 19, 1993),[11] a French-born "frustrated performer and dancer"[12] of Italian and Scottish parentage.[13]

She was generally known as "Peggy" because her mother named her after the silent film star Baby Peggy.[14] Peggy was three years old when her father abandoned the family.[12] According to De Carlo's firstborn son, she "only remembered crawling towards his [William's] feet and she never saw him again after he left."[12] Peggy and Marie then lived with Marie's Presbyterian parents, Michele "Michael" de Carlo (born c. 1873 in Messina, Sicily,[15] – July 1, 1954),[16] and Margaret Purvis (born in Scotland, December 30, 1874 – October 26, 1949),[17] at 1728 Comox Street in Vancouver's West End.[18]

When De Carlo was ten (or three, according to a 1982 interview[18]) her mother enrolled her in the June Roper School of the Dance in Vancouver.[19] De Carlo attended Lord Roberts Elementary School,[20] located a block away from her grandparents' home.


Beginnings in show business (1940–1942)

De Carlo and her mother made several trips to Los Angeles until 1940, when she was first runner-up to "Miss Venice Beach." She also came in fifth in a 1940s Miss California competition.[21]

She was hired by showman Nils Granlund as a dancer at the Florentine Gardens.[22] She had been dancing for Granlund only a short time when she was arrested by immigration officials and deported to Canada.[23] In January 1941, Granlund sent a telegram to 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.[24]

In May 1941, she appeared in a revue, Hollywood Revels. A critic from the Los Angeles Times reviewed it saying that the "dancing of Yvonne de Carlo is especially notable."[25] She made her radio debut with Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen who were performing extracts from a series based on their Flagg-Quint performances.[26]

De Carlo wanted to act. At the encouragement of Artie Shaw, who offered to pay her wage for a month, she quit the Florentine Gardens, landing a role as a bathing beauty in Harvard, Here I Come (1941) for $25 a day.[27] Other roles were slow to follow, and De Carlo took a job in the chorus line of Earl Carroll.

While working for Carroll De Carlo got a one-line part in This Gun for Hire (1942) at Paramount. Carroll found out and fired her. De Carlo managed to get her job back at the Florentine Gardens.[28]

Other early screen appearances at Columbia Pictures included the two-reeler comedy Kink of the Campus (1942).[citation needed] She was also in the short I Look at You (1941).

In December 1941, she was dancing in the revue Glamour Over Hollywood at Florentine Gardens.[29] America's entry into World War Two saw De Carlo and other Florentine dancers busy entertaining troops at USO shows.[30]

A skilled horserider, she appeared in a number of West Coast rodeos.[19]

De Carlo sang and danced in a three-minute Soundies musical, The Lamp of Memory (1942), shown in coin-operated movie jukeboxes, and later released for 16mm home movie showings and television by Official Films.[citation needed]

Paramount Pictures (1942–1944)

De Carlo as Wah-Tah in Deerslayer (1943)

De Carlo was cast as an island girl in The Road to Morocco (1942) at Paramount. Paramount liked her work and called her back to test for the role of Gaugin's Tahitian wife in The Moon and Sixpence. She lost the part to Elena Verdugo. Paramount called her back for a small part in Lucky Jordan (1942) and she went to Republic for Youth on Parade which she called a "dreadful... bomb."[31]

Paramount then offered De Carlo a six month contract, possibly going up to seven years, starting at $60 a week. The studio promptly loaned her out to Monogram for Rhythm Parade, playing (ironically) a Florentine Garden dancer. She served as an extra in Paramount's The Crystal Ball ("only my left shoulder survived after editing," she wrote.[32])

Her scenes in Lucky Jordan (1942) were deleted but she had a small role in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). She could also be seen in Let's Face It (1943), So Proudly We Hail! (1943) and Salute for Three (1943), She was also kept busy in small roles and helping other actors shoot tests. "I was the test queen at Paramount," she said later.[19] But De Carlo was ambitious and wanted more. "I'm not going to be just one of the girls," she said.[33]

Cecil B. DeMille saw De Carlo in So Proudly We Hail!, and arranged for her to be screen-tested and interviewed for the role of Tremartini in his film The Story of Dr. Wassell (1943); it was announced she would play a key role.[34][35] He ended up choosing Carol Thurston for the role and casting De Carlo in an uncredited part as a native girl, but promised to "make it up" to De Carlo on another film "in the future."[36]

Paramount loaned her out to Republic Pictures for the part of Wah-Tah, the young Native American maiden, in the 1943 film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's 1841 novel The Deerslayer. An important supporting role, it was her first credited appearance in a feature film.

She returned to Paramount for an unbilled bit in True to Life (1943) and Standing Room Only (1944).

De Carlo was billed in a short, Fun Time (1944) and went to MGM to play another "native" part (unbilled) in Kismet (1944).

New York Times later dubbed De Carlo "threat girl" for Dorothy Lamour "when Dotty wanted to break away from saronging."[36][37] This had its origin when De Carlo was set to replace Dorothy Lamour in the lead of Rainbow Island (1944); however Lamour changed her mind about playing the role.[33] De Carlo was given a bit part in the final movie.

She played further unbilled roles in Here Come the Waves (1944), Practically Yours (1944), and Bring on the Girls (1945). Paramount then elected not to renew their option for De Carlo's services.[38]

Salome, Where She Danced (1944–1945)

De Carlo as Anna Maria, an Austrian dancer, in Salome, Where She Danced (1945)

De Carlo was screen tested by Universal, who were looking at a back up star for Acquanetta, who was their back up star to Maria Montez. [39] The test was seen by Walter Wanger who was making an adventure film in technicolor, Salome, Where She Danced (1945). Wanger would later claim he discovered De Carlo when looking at footage for another actor in which De Carlo also happened to appear (Milburn Stone).[40]

Wanger tested De Carlo several times and Universal signed her to a long term contract at $150 a week. In September 1944 it was announced De Carlo was cast in the lead of Salome over a reported 20,000 other girls.[4][41]

Another source says 21 Royal Canadian Air Force bombardier students who loved her as a pinup star campaigned to get her the role.[42] De Carlo later said this was done at her behest; she took several pictures of herself in a revealing costume and got two childhood friends from Vancouver, Reginald Reid and Kenneth Ross McKenzie, who had become pilots, to arrange their friends to lobby on her behalf.[19] (De Carlo wrote in his memoirs that the whole thing was Wagner's idea.[43])

Though not a critical success, Salome was a box office favorite, and the heavily promoted De Carlo was hailed as an up-and-coming star. In his review for the film, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote:

"Miss De Carlo has an agreeable mezzo-soprano singing voice, all the 'looks' one girl could ask for, and, moreover, she dances with a sensuousness which must have caused the Hays office some anguish. The script, however, does not give her much chance to prove her acting talents."[44]

Universal-International (1945–1950)

De Carlo in the trailer for Song of Scheherazade (1947)

Salome, Where She Danced was released by Universal who signed de Carlo to a long-term contract. She was used by the studio as a backup star to Maria Montez, and her second movie for the studio saw her step into a role rejected by Montez: the Western Frontier Gal (1946) alongside Rod Cameron.[33] In 1946, exhibitors voted De Carlo the ninth-most promising "star of tomorrow."[45] Like Salome it was shot in colour.

De Carlo followed this up with Song of Scheherazade (1947) with Brian Donlevy and Jean-Pierre Aumont; it was a hit, making over $2 million.

De Carlo wanted to act in different types of movies. She applied to play the part of a waitress in A Double Life (1947) but lost out to Shelley Winters.[46] Instead, Universal put her back in Technicolor for Slave Girl (1947), made with the producers of Frontier Gal. It was another solid commercial success.

De Carlo was given a small role in Brute Force (1947), a prison movie starring Burt Lancaster and produced by Mark Hellinger. It was her first movie in black and white since becoming a star and her first to get good reviews.

She played Lola Montez in Black Bart (1948), a Technicolor Western with Dan Duryea for director George Sherman. Duryea and Sherman worked with her again on River Lady (1948). De Carlo called these films "physically taxing but not creatively inspiring."[47]

She romanced Tony Martin in Casbah (1948), a musical remake of Algiers (1938) made for Martin's own production company but released through Universal. De Carlo was reluctant to be in it because it was not the female lead - that part went to Marta Toren - but the studio insisted.[48] It flopped at the box office, de Carlo's first flop since becoming a star.

De Carlo in the trailer for Criss Cross (1949)

De Carlo then received an offer from Mark Hellinger to make another film with Burt Lancaster: the film noir Criss Cross (1949). This time De Carlo had a larger role, as a femme fetale, Anna. Bosley Crowther noted that De Carlo was "trying something different as Anna. The change is welcome, even though Miss de Carlo's performance is uneven. In that respect, she is right in step with most everything else about Criss Cross."[49] The film has become regarded as a classic and De Carlo considered the role the highlight of her career to date.[50] Tony Curtis made his debut in the movie, in a scene dancing with De Carlo.

De Carlo was keen to make more movies along this line but Universal put her back in Technicolor Westerns with Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949), playing Calamity Jane, directed by Sherman, alongside Howard Duff.

She played a role intended for Deanna Durbin in The Gal Who Took the West (1950), for director Fred de Cordova. The movie gave her a chance to show off her singing voice. Trained in opera and a former child chorister at St Paul's Anglican Church, Vancouver, De Carlo possessed a large vocal range.[51]

She was meant to be in Bagdad (1949) but suffered a miscarriage and was ill; the studio cast Maureen O'Hara.[52]

De Cordova directed de Carlo in Buccaneer's Girl (1950), a pirate movie set in 1810s New Orlean opposite Philip Friend. The director later called De Carlo "a doll...underrated as an actress. She was most professional, worked hard, was very good at her craft, possibly was not a first class star but came in on schedule. She knew her lines, she danced and sang rather well, and she wanted very much to be a bigger star than she ever became."[53]

She toured US army bases singing, then was in The Desert Hawk (1950), an "Eastern" with Richard Greene. She made a Western with Sherman, Tomahawk (1951), opposite Van Heflin, which was popular.

De Carlo toured extensively to promote her films and entertained US troops in Europe. She also began singing on television.[54]

She received an offer from England to make a comedy, Hotel Sahara (1951) with Peter Ustinov. While in England, she asked Universal to be released from her contract although it still had three months to go; the studio agreed.[55] Two months later she signed a new contract with Universal to make one film a year for three years[56]

Post-Universal (1951–1954)

De Carlo went to Paramount to make a Western, Silver City (1951) with Edmond O'Brien for a fee of $50,000.[57]

In 1951, De Carlo was cast in the role of Prince Orlovsky in Franz Waxman's production of the opera Die Fledermaus at the Hollywood Bowl.[58][5][59]

In August 1951, De Carlo became the first American film star to visit the State of Israel, giving concerts in Haifa, Ramat Gan, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Jaffa.[60][61] She drew capacity audiences and was "royally received" by the Israeli government and the public.[62] Her performances consisted of singing and dancing routines from her films.[63] Furthermore, she found that her films were extremely popular there, saying, "Every time I played a concert, someone would yell, 'Sing something from Casbah.'"[63]

De Carlo returned early from Tel Aviv to make The San Francisco Story (1952) with Joel McCrea. It was the first of a two picture deal with Fidelity Pictures; the second was to be The Scarlet Flame about Brazil's battle for independence, which was never made.[64]

She made her live TV debut in "Another Country" for Lights Out (1952). De Carlo wanted to make a film for Sydney Box called Queen of Sheba with Peter Ustinov as Solomon but it was never made.[65]

She went back to Universal for the first movie under her new contract, Scarlet Angel (1952) with Rock Hudson. At Paramount she did Hurricane Smith (1952) then she appeared in "Madame 44" for The Ford Television Theatre (1952). She announced plans to form her own production company with her agent, Vancouver Productions.[66] However, as she later wrote "absolutely nothing" came of this.[67]

De Carlo went to MGM to make Sombrero (1953). She was reunited with Hudson for Sea Devils (1953), a Napoleonic adventure tale shot in Britain and France released through RKO.

Back in the US she an adventure film set in the desert, Fort Algiers (1953), for United Artists, starring Carlos Thompson, whom de Carlo had recommended.

De Carlo with Alec Guinness in The Captain's Paradise (1953)

She made her third film in Britain with the comedy The Captain's Paradise (1953), as one of two wives a ship captain (played by Alec Guinness) keeps in separate ports. De Carlo played Nita, the sensual wife who lives in Morocco, while Celia Johnson played Maud, the demure wife who lives in Gibraltar. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story, and The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther commended her performance by writing, "And Miss De Carlo, as the siren, 'the mate of the tiger' in Mr. G. [Guinness], is wonderfully candid and suggestive of the hausfrau in every dame."[68]

De Carlo made a fourth film in England, Happy Ever After (1954) with David Niven, then was called back to the US do to a contemporary comedy on TV, The Backbone of America (1953) with Wendell Corey. In 1954, after the success of The Captain's Paradise, she expressed a desire to do more comedy:

"I've had my share of sirens and am happy to get away from them, no matter what the part. Just to look pretty on the screen as a romantic lead is probably all right, but – so what? I'd much rather do something in a good Western provided there's plenty of action. Action is what I like."[69]

De Carlo went back to Universal to make a Western with McCrea, Border River (1954), directed by Sherman. She went to Italy for The Contessa's Secret (1954) and returned to Hollywood for the independently produced Passion (1954). She wrote a 42 page treatment for a science-fiction film Operation Sram, which was not made.[70]

In 1955 De Carlo made the Western Shotgunwith Sterling Hayden for Allied Artists. She did "Hot Cargo" for Screen Director's Playhouse (1956) with Rory Calhoun directed by Tay Garnett.[71]

De Carlo made her third film for Universal under her new contract in Raw Edge (1956). Republic starred her as Minna Wagner in a biopic of Richard Wagner, Magic Fire (1956). On TV she was in "The Sainted General" for Star Stage (1956). Republic Pictures reunited her with Duff in Flame of the Islands (1956), shot in the Bahamas.

The Ten Commandments and last notable film roles (1954–1963)

De Carlo as Sephora in The Ten Commandments (1956)

In September 1954,[72] producer-director Cecil B. DeMille cast her as Sephora, the wife of Moses (played by Charlton Heston), in his biblical epic The Ten Commandments, a Paramount Pictures production which premiered in November 1956. In his autobiography, DeMille explained he decided to cast De Carlo as Moses' wife after his casting director, Bert McKay, called his attention to one scene she played in Sombrero. Even though the film "was a picture far removed in theme from The Ten Commandments," wrote de Mille, "I sensed in her a depth, an emotional power, a womanly strength which the part of Sephora needed and which she gave it."[73]

She prepared extensively for the role, taking weaving lessons at the University of California, Los Angeles, and shepherding lessons in the San Fernando Valley.[74] Months before filming began, she had worked on the part with a drama coach.[75] Her scenes were shot on Paramount's sound stages in 1955. Her performance received praise from critics. Crowther, the New York Times critic, was impressed: "Yvonne DeCarlo as the Midianite shepherdess to whom Moses is wed is notably good in a severe role."[76] The Hollywood Reporter wrote that she "is very fine as the simple Sephora,"[77] and New York Daily News noticed that she "plays the wife of Moses with conviction."[78]

It was announced she would team with Vittorio De Sica in an adaptation of The Baker's Wife to be shot in English and Italian[79] but the film was never made. Instead De Carlo supported George Sanders in Death of a Scoundrel (1956). On the small screen she was in "Skits & Sketches" for Shower of Stars (1957). She was also in Schlitz Playhouse (1957)

De Carlo released an LP record of standards called Yvonne De Carlo Sings on Masterseal Records, a subsidiary label of Remington Records, in 1957. Orchestrated by future film composer John Williams under the pseudonym "John Towner," the album contains ten tracks, "End of a Love Affair", "In the Blue of Evening", "I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)", "Am I Blue?", "Little Girl Blue", "Blue Moon", "But Not for Me", "My Blue Heaven", "Mood Indigo", "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)".

With Clark Gable in Band of Angels (1957)

De Carlo was offered the lead in two films which were being shot at the same time: The Helen Morgan Story and Band of Angels, based on Robert Penn Warren's novel. De Carlo chose the latter because her co star would be Clark Gable.[80] She played Amantha "Manty" Starr, a mixed-race Southern belle who is sold as a slave after her father's death.

She married stunt man Bob Morgan in 1955 and they had two children; her second pregnancy meant she had to turn down the role of the female pirate in The Buccaneer (1958).

De Carlo was in "Verdict of Three" for Playhouse 90 (1958). She made a French Foreign Legion movie with Victor Mature, Timbuktu (1958). She unsuccessfully auditioned for the Broadway musical Destry Rides Again losing out to Dolores Gray.[81]

In May 1958,[82] De Carlo was signed to play Mary Magdalene in the Italian biblical epic The Sword and the Cross (tentatively titled The Great Sinner and released in the United States as Mary Magdalene), with Jorge Mistral as her love interest, the Roman Gaius Marcellus, and Rossana Podestà as her sister, Martha. The film's director, Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, later remembered that "producer, Ottavio Poggi, had sent the provisional script to America, so Yvonne De Carlo could read it and decide on her participation in the film. She read it and got very excited, agreeing to play the role of Magdalene."[83] The film was shot in English and later dubbed in Italian.[75]

De Carlo put together a nightclub act and toured with in South America. She guest starred on Bonanza ("A Rose for Lotta", 1959), Adventures in Paradise ("Isle of Eden", 1960), Death Valley Days ("The Lady Was an M.D", 1961), Follow the Sun ("The Longest Crap Game in History" [1961] and "Annie Beeler's Place" [1962]) and Burke's Law ("Who Killed Beau Sparrow?", 1963). She also played Destry Rides Again in summer stock.

With John Wayne in McLintock! (1963)

De Carlo's husband had been permanently crippled while working as a stunt man on How the West Was Won (1963), eventually losing his leg. De Carlo took any job going, appearing in night club acts across the country as well as a play in stock, Third Best Sport.

To help out, John Wayne offered her the supporting role of Louise Warren, the title character's cook in McLintock! (1963), with Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. She was second billed in a Western Law of the Lawless (1964) and played the Spanish dancer Dolores in the Bob Hope comedy A Global Affair (1964).

De Carlo was in "The Night the Monkey Died" for The Greatest Show on Earth (1964). She took over a role on Enter Laughing on Broadway for a week, and played in it when the production went on tour.

The Munsters (1964–1966)

Publicity photo of De Carlo as Lily Munster

She 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 the character (originally called "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.'"[84] She sang and played the harp in at least one episode ("Far Out Munsters") of The Munsters.

After the show's cancellation, she reprised the role as Lily Munster in the Technicolor film Munster, Go Home! (1966), partially in hopes of renewing interest in the sitcom. Despite the attempt, The Munsters was cancelled after 70 episodes. Of the sitcom and its cast and crew, she said: "It was a happy show with audience appeal for both children and adults. It was a happy show behind the scenes, too; we all enjoy working with each other."[85] Years later, in 1987, she said: "I think Yvonne De Carlo was more famous than Lily, but I gained the younger audience through The Munsters. And it was a steady job."[86]

Butch Patrick, who played Herman and Lily Munster's son, Eddie. The on- and off-screen chemistry of De Carlo and Patrick was a success story of 1960s television. After the show's cancelation, like everybody else (in the cast), he also distanced himself from her, to form his own rock band Eddie and The Munsters, years before he either kept in touch or have visited her, during De Carlo's final years, who also said in a 2013 interview with Rockcellar magazine: "Yvonne would be a maternal influence. She'd be a mom because my mom wasn't around so she'd be a matriarch, not only on the show but when I'd see her outside of the makeup on Mondays and Tuesdays. Once in a while she'd bring her kids down to the set."[87] Then, in a 2017 interview with ComingSoon.net, he also said about the director, who had ever recalled if his TV mother was hiding tiny portions of dialogue, around the set, attaching to props to help jog her memory, where it was added to her performance: "No, not in The Munsters she wasn’t doing that. Maybe later in life. Because sometimes your memory starts slipping on you. But that’s a great idea, actually! I’ll have to remember that!" He also had said if he had ever kept in touch with his on-screen family, after The Munsters was canceled, esp. DeCarlo herself, was: "No, after the show ended, everyone went their own ways. But in the early ’80s, I contacted Al Lewis and we became friends and I started attaching myself to the Munster name and brand. And then 10 years after that I started talking to Yvonne. I was actually a guest on The Vicki Lawrence Show where I was this surprise guest brought out for Yvonne and after that we became friends. I started going up and visiting her and she was somewhat of a recluse, living in North Los Angeles and I introduced her to this guy in Hollywood who would send her care packages, movies to watch and sort of get her back in the loop of Hollywood."[88]

After The Munsters, she guest starred in "The Moulin Ruse Affair" in The Girl from UNCLE (1967) and "The Raiders" for Custer (1967) and episodes of The Virginian.

She starred in Hostile Guns (1967) and Arizona Bushwhackers (1968), a pair of low-budget westerns produced by A. C. Lyles and released by Paramount Pictures. During this time, she also had a supporting role in the 1968 thriller The Power.

Stage work

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 and she did a five month tour in Hello Dolly. Later she toured in Cactus Flower.[14]

De Carlo continued to appear in films such as The Delta Factor (1970) and had a notable part in Russ Meyer's The Seven Minutes (1971). The Los Angeles Times said about the latter that De Carlo featured in "an improbable sequence pulled off with verve by the still glamorous star."[89]

Her defining stage role was as "Carlotta Campion" in Harold Prince's production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies in 1971-72.[14] Playing a washed-up star at a reunion of old theater colleagues, she introduced the song "I'm Still Here".[90] De Carlo says she was told the part was written especially for her.[91]

De Carlo toured Australia and New Zealand in No, No Nanette. She was in a stage production of All About Eve and did a Cole Porter musical.

Later career

De Carlo appeared in The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974), The Mark of Zorro (1974), Arizona Slim (1974), The Intruder (1975), Blazing Stewardesses (1975), It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (1975), Black Fire (1975), and La casa de las sombras (1976).

She continued to appear on stage, notably in Dames at Sea, Barefoot in the Park and The Sound of Music.

She had a role in the mini series Roots (1977) and was also seen on Satan's Cheerleaders (1977), Nocturna (1979), Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1979), Fuego negro (1979), The Silent Scream (1979) and The Man with Bogart's Face (1980). She guest starred on shows like Fantasy Island.

De Carlo was in The Munsters' Revenge (1981), then Liar's Moon (1982), Play Dead (1982), Vultures (1984), Flesh and Bullets (1985), and A Masterpiece of Murder (1986) (with Bob Hope). She was in a revival of The Munsters.

De Carlo's later roles included American Gothic (1988), Cellar Dweller (1988), and Mirror Mirror (1990), She had a supporting role as the title character's Aunt Rosa in the Sylvester Stallone comedy Oscar (1991). Of her role, she said, "Mine is a small part—but funny."[92]

She was in The Naked Truth (1992), Seasons of the Heart (1993), and "Death of Some Salesmen" in Tales from the Crypt (1993). She had a small cameo role in a television film remake of The Munsters, Here Come the Munsters in 1995. Her final film appearance was in the 1995 television film The Barefoot Executive, a Disney Channel remake of the 1971 film of the same name.

Personal life

De Carlo with her husband, Robert Morgan, at the New York premiere of The Ten Commandments (1956)
De Carlo at the National Film Society convention, May 1979

De Carlo's name was linked with a number of famous men through her career, including Howard Hughes[1] and Robert Stack. In 1947, she announced her engagement to Howard Duff,[93] but it did not last. In 1954, she told a journalist:

"I think it is wonderful to work. I dedicate more time now than ever to study. I really like to delve deeply into the characters and the stories in order to make the most of each part I play. It seems best to remain free of any serious romantic attachments under these circumstances. I will have to meet an exceptional and understanding person, indeed, before I think of marriage. I haven't met such a person yet."[69]

De Carlo met stuntman Robert Drew "Bob" Morgan (1915–1999) on the set of Shotgun in 1955, but he was married and had a child, daughter Bari Lee (b. 1947),[94] and De Carlo had "no intention of causing that marriage to break up."[95] However, they met again, after the death of Morgan's wife, on the set of The Ten Commandments in Egypt,[96] where they "seemed immediately attracted to each other."[97] They were married on November 21, 1955, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Reno, Nevada.[98][99] De Carlo raised Bari as her own and had two sons with Morgan, Bruce Ross (b. 1956), whose godfather was Cecil B. DeMille,[74][100] and Michael (1957–1997).

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 July 1973.[101]

De Carlo, a naturalized citizen of the United States, was an active Republican who campaigned for Richard Nixon,[102] Ronald Reagan,[103] and Gerald Ford.[104] A conservative, she stated in a 1976 television interview: "I'm all for men and I think they ought to stay up there and be the bosses and have women wait on them hand and foot and put their slippers on and hand them the pipe and serve seven course meals, as long as they open the door, support the woman, and do their duty in the bedroom, etcetera."[105]


De Carlo suffered a minor stroke in 1998. She later became a resident of the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, in Woodland Hills, where she spent her last years.[106] She died from heart failure on January 8, 2007, and was cremated.[1]

Awards and honors




  • "I Love a Man" / "Say Goodbye" (Columbia, 1950)[110]
  • "Take It Or Leave It" / "Three Little Stars" (Capitol, 1955)[111]
  • "That's Love" / "The Secret of Love" (Imperial, 1957)[112]
  • "I Would Give My Heart" / "Rockin' In The Orbit" (Imperial, 1958)[112]


  • Yvonne De Carlo Sings (Masterseal, 1957)


See also


  1. ^ a b c Saxon, Wolfgang (January 11, 2007). "Yvonne De Carlo Dies at 84; Played Lily on 'Munsters'". The New York Times. p. B6. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ ""Most Beautiful Girl" Discovered". Spokane Daily Chronicle. September 18, 1944. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ Cohen, Harold V. (May 7, 1945). ""Salome, Where She Danced" Comes to Harris". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Yvonne De Carlo Chosen for Role Over '20,000 Beautiful Girls'". The Montreal Gazette. July 25, 1945. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Willett, Bob (November 13, 1954). "Slave Girl Wants Freedom: Tired of playing exotic sirens, Canada's lovely Yvonne De Carlo seeks more serious film roles". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ Jacob Sparks, Karen (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica. p. 123. ISBN 9781593394257. 
  7. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo Is The Mama In a Nice Monster Family". St. Petersburg Times. June 23, 1964. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ Foster 2003, p. 125.
  9. ^ Films in Review, Volume 28. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 1977. p. 217. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  10. ^ Bang, Maureen (November 15, 1972). "The first Aussie Yvonne met was a kangaroo". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Marie Decarlo Middleton, "California, Death Index, 1940-1997"". FamilySearch. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Thomas 2011, p. 82.
  13. ^ Yvonne De Carlo's death certificate states her mother's birthplace as France.
  14. ^ a b c De Carlo, Yvonne; Warren, Doug (1987). Yvonne: An Autobiography. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312002176. 
  15. ^ "Michele De Carlo mentioned in the record of Kenneth Ross McKenzie and Constance Marguerite Anna Decarlo". FamilySearch. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Michael Decarlo, "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986"". FamilySearch. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Margaret Decarlo - British Columbia Death Registrations". FamilySearch. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b Foster 2003, p. 126.
  19. ^ a b c d "The Unveiling of Yvonne (Salome) De Carlo: Herewith Some Early Film Entries in the Easter Week Sweepstakes" by Thomas M. Pryor. New York Times, March 25, 1945, p. X3.
  20. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo". History of Vancouver. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Schoolgirl, 17 and Blond, Chosen as Miss California: Crowd of 100,000 Sees Parade of 50 Beauties as Venice Brings Four-Day Mardi Gras to Close" Los Angeles Times 12 August 1940: A1.
  22. ^ Hoefling, Larry J. (2008). Nils Thor Granlund: Show Business Entrepreneur and America's First Radio Star. Oklahoma: Inlandia Press. pp. 178–181. ISBN 978-0-7864-4849-4. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  23. ^ De Carlo and Warren, p. 12.
  24. ^ Hoefling, p. 182.
  25. ^ Kingsley, Grace. "Bright Bill at Orpheum", Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1941, pg. 12.
  26. ^ De Carlo p 58
  27. ^ De Carlo and Warren, p. 60.
  28. ^ De Carlo p 62
  29. ^ "Travel: Taxco Basks in Grandeur and Beauty of Early Days" Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1941, pg. C4.
  30. ^ "Yvonne DeCarlo: Gilded Lily". Biography (July 18, 2000).
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  32. ^ De Carlo p 71
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  34. ^ "Drama: 'Cousin' Rewrite Set; Hubbard Joining Cast" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times, February 18, 1943, pg. A8.
  35. ^ "Drama and Film: Gladys George Named Bankhead Successor Edward Small Plans Picture Glorifying Famous Maternity Center in Chicago" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1943, pg. 8.
  36. ^ a b Orrison 1999, p. 110.
  37. ^ Graham, Sheilah (September 24, 1949). "Yvonne DeCarlo, Technicolor Queen". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
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  41. ^ Schallert, Edwin. "Guild Player Deemed Fit Valentino Double: David Bruce Wins Acting Opportunity in Wanger's Film Drama, Salome" Los Angeles Times, Spetemner 19, 1944, pg. A8.
  42. ^ "From Pinup to Star!", Chicago Daily Tribune, November 12, 1944, pg. D5.
  43. ^ De Carlo p 89
  44. ^ Crowther, Bosley (May 3, 1945). "Salome Where She Danced (1945) The Screen; 'Rose's Diamond Horseshoe,' With Betty Grable, at Roxy-- 'Salome, Where She Danced,' Is Newcomer of the Criterion At Loew's". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  45. ^ "The Stars of To-morrow". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. September 10, 1946. p. 11. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
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  51. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo [Obituary]". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2017. Impressed with her large vocal range... 
  52. ^ de Carlo p 145
  53. ^ Davis, Roland L. (2005). Just Making Movies: Company Directors on the Studio System. University of Press Mississippi. p. 132. 
  54. ^ Yvonne De Carlo Pins Hopes for Future on Switch to Dramatic and Singing Roles SCHUER, PHILIP K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]27 May 1951: D1.
  55. ^ Brady, Thomas F. "Paramount Buys Two New Stories: Giler Melodrama and Clark Adventure Acquired by Studio --Jean Arthur Gets Role", New York Times, January 30, 1951, pg. 21.
  56. ^ Hopper, Hedda. "New Contract to Let Yvonne Travel: Looking at Hollywood", Chicago Daily Tribune, March 7, 1951, pg. A-14.
  57. ^ De Carlo p 156
  58. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo Pins Hopes for Future on Switch to Dramatic and Singing Roles" Schuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 27 May 1951: D1.
  59. ^ Hopper, Hedda (June 2, 1951). "Yvonne de Carlo Gets Hollywood Opera Role". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  60. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo Admits Serious Loves, but Chooses to Keep Them Mysterious" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1952, p. D1.
  61. ^ Harrison, Scott. "Actress Yvonne De Carlo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  62. ^ "Jerusalem likes De Carlo". Variety. September 19, 1951. 
  63. ^ a b Thomas, Bob (September 27, 1951). "Sultry Yvonne Now Respects Exotic Roles; Natives Love Those Films, Miss DeCarlo Finds in Near East". Moberly Monitor-Index. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  64. ^ By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1951, Oct 13). FIDELITY TO FILM 'SCARLET FLAME'. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112132457?accountid=13902
  65. ^ Drama: Yvonne De Carlo Named for British 'Sheba;' Find From 'Guys and Dolls' Set Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]21 Sep 1951: B9.
  66. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Yvonne De Carlo and Agent Form Own Movie Company Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]05 Aug 1952: a2.
  67. ^ De Carlo p 167
  68. ^ Crowther, Bosley (September 29, 1953). "Captain's Paradise (1953) The Screen: New British Comedy Arrives; Alec Guinness Keeps Two Wives Happy in 'The Captain's Paradise' at Paris But Yvonne De Carlo and Celia Johnson Finally Cause the Downfall of Skipper". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  69. ^ a b "Yvonne's Persistence Making Believers of Her Critics" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 2 May 1954: E1.
  70. ^ Schallert, E. (1954, Jun 21). De mille gets vincent price as cruel builder; 'nightshade' on schedule. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/166630481?accountid=13902
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  72. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo yesterday was cast by Cecil B. DeMille in the role of Sephora, Jethro's daughter and the shepherd girl who married Moses, in The Ten Commandments". Variety. September 15, 1954. 
  73. ^ DeMille, Cecil Blount (1959). The Autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille. Prentice-Hall. p. 416. 
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  75. ^ a b "Hard Work Pays Off For Yvonne". The Deseret News. July 18, 1958. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  76. ^ Crowther, Bosley (November 9, 1956). "Movie Review: The Ten Commandments". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  77. ^ "'The Ten Commandments': Read THR's 1956 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
  78. ^ "Flashback: Original 1956 review of 'The Ten Commandments' in the Daily News". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 
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  97. ^ Foster 2003, p. 135.
  98. ^ "Most Glamorous Spinster Loses Title in Reno; Hollywood Actress Weds in Quiet Ceremony". Nevada State Journal. November 22, 1955. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
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  101. ^ "Peggy Y Middleton - California Divorce Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 5, 2017. 
  102. ^ Christy, Marian (July 12, 1972). "Yvonne DeCarlo A Star Reborn". Reading Eagle. United Feature Syndicate. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  103. ^ "Southland Observations: There's No Business Like Politics" Kerby, Phil. Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1976, pg. D1.
  104. ^ Schwartzenberg, Roger-Gérard (1980). The Superstar Show of Government. Barron's Educational Series. p. 128. ISBN 9780812052589. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  105. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo on feminism, equal rights & Hollywood, 1976". YouTube. Retrieved January 5, 2017. 
  106. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (2007-01-11). "Yvonne De Carlo - The Munsters - Obituary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-09. 
  107. ^ a b "Boxoffice Magazine". BoxOffice. 
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  109. ^ "America's Greatest Legends – A compendium of the 500 stars nominated for top 50 "Greatest Screen Legends" status" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  110. ^ "78 RPM - Yvonne De Carlo - Say Goodbye / I Love A Man - Columbia - UK - DB.2850". 45worlds. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  111. ^ "Yvonne De Carlo - Take It Or Leave It / Three Little Stars - Capitol - USA - F3206". 45cat. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  112. ^ a b "Recordings by 'Yvonne De Carlo'". The Honking Duck. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  113. ^ "That's Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology of M-G-M Musicals [Rhino Box Set]". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  114. ^ "The Frank Sinatra Duets". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 


External links

  • Official website at Archive.is (archived January 4, 2013[Date mismatch])
  • Yvonne De Carlo on IMDb
  • Yvonne De Carlo at the Internet Broadway Database
  • "Lamp Of Memory" (Video clip). Soundie. 1944. Retrieved Sep 16, 2016.  "Prelinger Archive". 


  • "Yvonne De Carlo, Who Played Lily on 'The Munsters,' Dies at 84". NY Times. Obituary. Jan 11, 2007. Retrieved Sep 16, 2016. 
  • "Munsters' Television Star Yvonne de Carlo Dies at 84". Press release. Media Newswire. Jan 11, 2007. Retrieved Sep 16, 2016. 
  • "Yvonne de Carlo". The Daily Telegraph. Obituary. London, UK. Jan 12, 2007. Archived from the original on Feb 13, 2009. 
  • "Yvonne De Carlo". Virtual History. Retrieved Sep 16, 2016. 
  • Yvonne De Carlo at Find a Grave
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