Francine York, the prolific actress best known from the “Batman” TV series, died Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Van Nuys, California, after a battle with cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 78.
Known for her stunning beauty, York appeared on dozens of TV series and in movies over the course of her multidecade career. One of her memorable roles was as the moll of The Bookworm, played by Roddy McDowall, on the “Batman” TV series. She recalled one of the perks of the role was riding in the famous Batmobile.
“Everybody wanted to work on 'Batman' and ride in that car,” she told Tom Lisanti for his book “Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema.”
She cited “The Doll Squad” (1973), as one of her most popular films. She starred as Sabrina Kincaid, the leader of a team of attractive female agents who must stop a mad man’s plans for world domination. The low-budget film has been cited as a favorite of director Quentin Tarantino’s and may have inspired the creators of “Charlie’s Angels.”
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York was born Aug. 26, 1938, in the small town of Aurora, Minnesota. She was a runner-up in the Miss Minnesota pageant and became a successful model and, later, a showgirl. While working as a showgirl at the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Hollywood, she decided to pursue acting seriously.
In 1962, she was cast in the Jerry Lewis film “It’s Only Money.” Credited as Sexy Girl, she went on to appear in several more of his comedies, including “The Nutty Professor,” “The Patsy,” “The Disorderly Orderly,” “The Family Jewels,” and “Cracking Up.”
She appeared alongside Marlon Brando and David Niven in “Bedtime Story,” Elvis Presley in “Tickle Me,” and George Peppard in “Cannon for Cordoba.”
Her list of TV credits included appearances on dozens of series including “Route 66,” “My Favorite Martian,” and “Perry Mason.” She continued to find work after aging out of typical sex-appeal roles, and was seen in recent years on sitcoms like “The King of Queens,” “Hot in Cleveland,” and “The Mindy Project.”
York was the companion of director Vincent Sherman for nine years until his death in 2006.
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