Yvonne De Carlo was an American actress, singer, and dancer of Canadian descent whose career spanned over seven decades. She was one of the most known actresses of the golden age of Hollywood and the first multihyphenate. She was a brunette with blue-grey eyes, a voluptuous body, and a deep, seductive voice. She began taking dance classes at age three and spent her late teens performing in nightclubs and on stages. She made her screen debut in 1941 in the comedy picture “Harvard, Here I Come” in an uncredited role. She portrayed the title heroine in the 1945 western drama “Salome, Where She Danced” after having been in several other films in a similar role. Her next significant appearance was in the 1947 film Song of Scheherazade, which, despite advancing her career, typecast her as an Arabian Nights-type temptress dressed in harem costume. She contributed significantly to the comedy and western genres, and was a member of the primary cast of the 1960s sitcom “The Munsters.” She released her one and only album, Yvonne De Carlo Sings, in 1957. She became a character performer with relative ease as she aged, remaining lively and captivating well into her seventies. In 1960, De Carlo was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to film and television.
Youth and Early Life
Margaret Yvonne Middleton was born in West Point Grey, British Columbia, Canada, on September 1, 1922, to parents William Middleton and Marie De Carlo. Her English background came from her father, while her Italian and Scottish ancestry came from her mother.
After her father abandoned the family when she was three years old, she was reared in the West End neighborhood of Vancouver by her mother and her Presbyterian maternal grandparents.
She attended Lord Roberts Elementary School and King Edward High School afterward. Her mother enrolled her in Vancouver’s June Roper School of the Dance, which ultimately led to her enrolment at the esteemed B.C. School of Dancing.
Yvonne Carlo’s Career
The mother of Yvonne De Carlo was instrumental in grooming her for the glamorous life. Marie brought her daughter to Los Angeles so she could compete in multiple beauty contests. This is when she met American showman Nils Granlund, who employed her at the Florentine Gardens and granted her sponsorship in January 1941, after she was arrested by US immigration authorities.
Within a year, she departed Florentine Gardens to pursue a career in acting. After her debut part in “Harvard, Here I Come,” she starred in a number of uncredited films. Due to her lack of initial success on the stage, she remained active in the Los Angeles nightclub scene.
In 1941, she appeared in the revues Hollywood Revels and ‘Glamour over Hollywood, as well as the three-minute Soundies musical ‘The Lamp of Memory. In addition, she sang for American servicemen during World War II.
She signed with Paramount Pictures as Dorothy Lamour’s backup in 1942 and proceeded to play uncredited roles in films such as ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ (1943), ‘Let’s Face It’ (1943), and ‘So Proudly We Hail!’ (1943). (1943). De Carlo was lent to Republic Pictures for the 1943 picture “The Deerslayer,” in which she portrayed a young Native American lady named Wah-Tah.
She was apparently picked by over 20,000 hopefuls to portray the protagonist in the Technicolor production of “Salome, Where She Danced.” Despite negative reviews, the picture was a box office triumph. This film marked the beginning of her long-term partnership with Universal Pictures.
She was then cast in ‘Frontier Gal’ (1946), ‘Black Bart’ (1948), ‘Casbah’ (1948), ‘Criss Cross’ (1949), ‘Calamity Jane and Sam Bass’ (1949), ‘The Gal Who Took the West’ (1950), and ‘Hotel Sahara’ (1950) among others (1951).
She obtained a new deal with Universal in 1951 and also made films for other production firms. She appeared alongside Edmund O’Brien in ‘Silver City’ (1951), Rock Hudson in ‘Scarlet Angel’ (1952) and ‘Sea Devils’ (1953), Alec Guinness in ‘The Captain’s Paradise (1953), and Sterling Hayden in ‘Shotgun’ (1954). (1955).
She worked with Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier in ‘Band of Angels’ (1957), starred in the French film ‘Timbuktu’ (1958), and as Mary Magdalene in ‘The Sword and the Cross’ (1960). John Wayne handed her the role of Louise Warren in ‘McLintock!’ when her stuntman husband was injured on the production of ‘How the West Was Won in 1963. (1963).
She was in considerable debt when she was offered a role in the 1964-66 television series The Munster. She was cast as the vampire matriarch of the Munster family, Lily Munster. Despite its brief existence, the show is now considered a classic. In the 1966 horror-comedy “Munster, Go Home,” De Carlo repeated her role.
She maintained a successful parallel career as a singer. She released the singles ‘I Love a Man’ / ‘Say Goodbye’ in 1950, ‘Take It Or Leave It’ / ‘Three Little Stars’ (1955), and ‘That’s Love’ / ‘The Secret of Love’ in 1958, in addition to her 1957 album ‘Yvonne De Carlo Sings’.
Her vocal and dance experience culminated in a successful theater career. She appeared in Off-Broadway performances of “Pal Joey” and “Catch Me If You Can.” Harold Prince’s production of “Follies” was her most renowned theater achievement (1971-72).
In the twilight of her career, she appeared in the films Black Fire’ (1975), ‘The Munsters’ Revenge’ (1981), ‘American Gothic’ (1988), ‘The Naked Truth’ (1992), and ‘Here Come the Munsters’ (1993). (1995). 1995’s “The Barefoot Executive” by Disney was the final picture in which she appeared.
Carlo’s Major Opera
Yvonne De Carlo was cast as Sephora opposite Charlton Heston’s Moses in ‘The Ten Commandments,’ an American biblical epic film. The picture first grossed $122.7 million at the box office upon its October 1956 release and received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Bosley Crowther of ‘The New York Times’ described De Carlo’s performance as “exceptionally good.”
Awards & Achievements
In 1957 and 1964, Yvonne De Carlo won two BoxOffice Blue Ribbon Awards for her roles in ‘The Ten Commandments and ‘McLintock!’
She was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. Her television star resides at 6715 Hollywood Boulevard, while her film star resides at 6124 Hollywood Boulevard.
In 1987, she was given the Fantafestival Award for Best Actress for her performance in “American Gothic.”
Personal History and Legacy
During the early years of her career, Yvonne De Carlo was linked to a number of famous men, such as industrialist Howard Hughes and actor Robert Stack. Before meeting stuntman Robert Drew “Bob” Morgan in 1955 on the set of “Shotgun,” she was briefly engaged to actor Howard Duff. Morgan was married at the time, and De Carlo had no intention of sabotaging that union.
After the death of Morgan’s wife, they got close and were married at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Reno, Nevada, on November 21, 1955. Together, they produced two boys, Bruce (born in 1956) and Michael Morgan (1957). In 1973, the marriage terminated in divorce.
She became a naturalized US citizen and campaigned for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford as a conservative Republican.
She was brought to the hospital in 1998 after experiencing a stroke. She spent her final years in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, where she died on January 8, 2007, of heart failure. Per her instructions, she was cremated. Her son Bruce survived her, while her other son Michael died in 1997.
Estimated Net Worth
Yvonne is one of the wealthiest and most popular actresses in the film industry. According to our investigation, Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Yvonne DeCarlo has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million.
De Carlo’s mother referred to her as Peggy.