Yvonne De Carlo (born Margaret Yvonne Middleton; September 1, 1922 – January 8, 2007) was a Canadian-American actress, dancer, and singer. A brunette with blue-gray eyes, she became an internationally famous Hollywood film star in the 1940s and 1950s, made several recordings, and later acted on television and stage.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, De Carlo was raised in the home of her Presbyterian maternal grandparents. Her mother enrolled her in a local dance school when she was three. By the early 1940s, she and her mother had moved to Hollywood, where De Carlo participated in beauty contests and worked as a dancer in nightclubs. In 1942, she signed a three-year contract with Paramount Pictures, where she was given uncredited bit parts in important films and was intended to replace Dorothy Lamour. Paramount loaned her out to Republic Pictures for her first credited role in a feature film, Wah-Tah in the independent production Deerslayer (1943).
She obtained her breakthrough role in Salome, Where She Danced (1945), a Universal-International release produced by Walter Wanger, who described her as "the most beautiful girl in the world." The film's publicity and success turned her into a star, and she signed a five-year contract with Universal. From then on, Universal starred her in B movies, usually westerns, adventures, or musicals in Technicolor. Cameramen voted her "Queen of Technicolor" three years in a row. Tired of being typecast as exotic women, her first efforts to become a serious dramatic actress came with her performances in two film noirs, Brute Force (1947) and Criss Cross (1949).
She received further recognition as an actress when she starred in the British comedies Hotel Sahara (1951) and The Captain's Paradise (1953). Her film career reached its peak when eminent producer-director Cecil B. DeMille cast her as Moses' Midianite wife, Sephora, her most prominent role, in his biblical epic The Ten Commandments (1956), which was immensely successful at the box office.
Her last notable leading roles were Rosalind Dee in Flame of the Islands (1956), Bridget Kelly in Death of a Scoundrel (1956), Amantha Starr in Band of Angels (1957), and Mary Magdalene in the Italian biblical epic The Sword and the Cross (1958). As her film career went into decline, she accepted supporting roles in McLintock! (1963), with John Wayne, and A Global Affair (1964), with Bob Hope. She played Lily Munster, the wife of Herman Munster, in the CBS sitcom The Munsters (1964–1966) and reprised the role in a Technicolor feature film, Munster, Go Home!, and a television film, The Munsters' Revenge (1981).
De Carlo died of heart failure in 2007. For her contributions to motion pictures and television, she was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
De Carlo suffered a minor stroke in 1998. She later became a resident of the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, in Woodland Hills, where she spent her last years. She would die from heart failure on January 8, 2007, and was cremated.