We say goodbye to another funny woman today. Yvonne De Carlodied of natural causes Monday at the age of 84. If you're not sure who she is just remember the briefly-aired show The Munsters and you'll remember immediately her portrayal as the wife of the Frankenstein-type character Herman Munster. This role not only encapsulated her beauty (despite the large white streaks set across her coal black hair) but also showed the world that she was funny. This role expanded her future choices in films, diversifying her from former ingénue and film siren to more comedic roles.

Not that there is anything wrong with her dramatic roles: She had plenty, in films like The Ten Commandments, Criss Cross and Band of Angels. This means she played opposite some of the hunkiest men in Hollywood -- Charlton Heston, Clark Gable, and Burt Lancaster. I digress. I'm not at all demeaning any of the wonderful serious roles Yvonne De Carlo, played but find it more important to wave in the face of fans and cinefiles that she is considered a comedic ingénue with a strong career.

It's these types of women who paved the way for other funny women to thrive in lead comedic roles. Clara Bow was darling and funny dating us all the way to the silent film era. Imogene Coca -- my personal comedic icon -- was just as responsible for the success of Sid Caesar as he was. She continued to perform right up to her death, memorably as the wildly over the top and hysterically funny Grandmother in National Lampoon's Vacation. At about the same time as Carlo's comedic appearances Mary Tyler Moore was doing her part on the Dick Van Dyke Show, later getting her own show and paving the way for an even more impressive film career.

Yvonne De Carlo started out as another Hollywood starlet but developed her career into a powerful mix of drama and comedy. We not only pay tribute to this woman's life work but also her contribution to making it a little easier for funny women to make the world laugh through film.
categories Cinematical