Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo was a Canadian-born American film and television actress, dancer and singer. She began her film career by starring in small film roles for Columbia Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal International.
During her six-decade career, her most prolific appearances in film came in the 1940s and 1950s and included her best-known film roles, such as of Anna Marie in Salome Where She Danced, Anna in Criss Cross, Sephora the wife of Moses in The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, and Amantha Starr in Band of Angels with Clark Gable. As her film career faded, De Carlo accepted an offer to play Lily Munster for CBS television series The Munsters, alongside with Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis.
The daughter of an aspiring actress, Marie De Carlo, and a salesman, William Middleton, De Carlo was born as Margaret Yvonne Middleton in Vancouver, British Columbia, and nicknamed ‘Peggy’. “I was named Margaret Yvonne – Margaret because my mother was very fond of one of the derivatives of the name. She was fascinated at the time by the movie star Baby Peggy, and I suppose she wanted a Baby Peggy of her own.” Her maternal grandfather, Michael de Carlo, was Sicilian-born, and her maternal grandmother, Margaret Purvis, was Scottish-born. Margaret’s mother ran away from home, when she was 16 to become a ballerina, after a couple of years working as a shop girl, she was finally married in 1924. Little Peggy was three years old when her father abandoned the family. She lived with her grandparents. By the time she entered grade school, she found that her strong singing voice brought her the attention she longed for. Although her mother recognized Peggy’s singing talent, she had already decided that her daughter would be a dancer. As a teenager Peggy was taken by her mother to Hollywood where she enrolled her in dancing school, also attending Le Conte Middle School in Hollywood. Margaret also lived in a downtown apartment, with her mother, where Marie took on odd jobs such as a waitress. Mother and daughter were uprooted when their visas expired, she would have to make three trips, the first from Los Angeles to Vancouver, within a few years, where they returned, unable to find work.
She attended and dropped out of Vancouver’s now-defunct King Edward High School, to focus more on her dance studies. She then attended the B.C. School of Dancing. It was there that Canadian dance instructor, June Roper, started her in a new direction, for which she was grateful and relieved. The following year at the Orpheum Theatre, Peggy appeared as a hula dancer in the famous revue Waikiki. A new nightclub, the Palomar, opened in Vancouver, and she acquired a week-long booking. Hoping to present more sophisticated image, she combined her middle name with her mother’s maiden name, which turned out to be “Yvonne De Carlo”.