Yvonne De Carlo was a Canadian born American actress, musician, and dancer. Her career spanned more than seven decades. Yvonne De Carlo was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton on 1st September 1922, in West Point Grey, British Columbia, Canada, to parents William Middleton and Marie De Carlo.
A brunette with blue-grey eyes, voluptuous figure, and a deep sultry voice, she was one of the most recognizable stars in the golden age of Hollywood and an early multi-hyphenate. She began taking dancing lessons at the age of three and spent her late teens performing in various night clubs and on stage.
Yvonne De Carlo’s mother played a pivotal role in preparing her for the glamorous life. Marie sent her daughter to Los Angeles so that she could partake in numerous beauty pageants. This was when she met American showman Nils Granlund who employed her at the Florentine Gardens and in January 1941, offered her sponsorship after she was arrested by the US immigration officials.
She made her screen debut in 1941 in an uncredited role in the comedy film ‘Harvard, Here I Come’. After appearing in several other movies in the same capacity, she played the titular character in the 1945 western drama ‘Salome, Where She Danced’.
Her next important role was in ‘Song of Scheherazade’ in 1947, which though gave traction to her career, ended up typecasting her as an Arabian Nights-type temptress dressed in harem attire.
She was reportedly chosen over 20,000 aspirants to portray the protagonist in ‘Salome, Where She Danced’, a Technicolor production. Though critically panned, the film was a box-office success. The movie heralded her long-term contract with Universal Pictures.
She was later cast in ‘Frontier Gal’, ‘Black Bart’, ‘Casbah’, ‘Criss Cross’, ‘Calamity Jane and Sam Bass’, ‘The Gal Who Took the West’, and the British film ‘Hotel Sahara’. Despite this stereotyping, she did significant work in comedy and western genres, and was part of the main cast of the 1960s sitcom ‘The Munsters’.
In the year 1957, she disclosed her initial and only album ‘Yvonne De Carlo Sings’. As she aged, she made a relatively easy transformation to being a character actor, active and compelling well into her 70s. De Carlo received two separate stars in 1960 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to films and television.