Yvonne De Carlo played Lily Munster in all seventy episodes and in two Munster movies, with a a cameo appearance in the 1995 Fox made-for-tv movie, Here Come the Munsters. Born Margaret Yvonne Middleton (nicknamed Peggy) in Vancouver, BC on September 1, 1922, she lived in a household that was quite variable. Her mother was somewhat of a wild party-goer, while her grandparents were conservative. Her father had abandoned the family soon after she was born. After numerous trips to California, she began to get involved in movies and was a dancer for a time at the Florentine Gardens. At this time she adopted her stage name, which was derived from her middle name, Yvonne, and her mother's maiden name, De Carlo. In the 1940s and 1950s, she hit it big, starring in such movies as Salome, Where She Danced, and The Ten Commandments. Eventually though, she was typecasted as a harem or slave girl. In her autobiography, Yvonne, she tells about her many flings with many people she met, including Howard Hughes and "a couple of truck drivers." After much deliberating, she married stuntman Robert Morgan. They had two kids, Robert and Michael.
As for doing "The Munsters," Yvonne needed the money. Her husband, had suffered a horrible accident and times were desperate. One thing she hated was the gray streak in her Lily Munster wig. She attempted at blacking it out, but was never fully successful. She had feared the role would make her ugly, but of course it never did. The rest of Lily Munster is history.
One of her greatest post-Munsters achievements was her role in Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical Follies, as Carlotta Campion in 1971. In 1974, she divorced her husband and continued to appear on TV guest roles and in movies during the '70s, '80s and the early '90s, including many campy horror flicks. Her last major movie appearance was probably American Gothic in 1988. Her last TV show guest shot was in 1993 on "Tales from the Crypt."
In 1997, her son Michael tragically died of a disease. She has also had a stroke since then. Her other son thinks she might make her comeback to the "industry." She was most recently interviewed for A&E's TVography of "The Munsters." Her autograph is fairly common and in recent years she has started to sign through the mail again, but for a fee.
Cox, Stephen. The Munsters Television's First Family of Fright. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.
De Carlo, Yvonne and Doug Warren. Yvonne. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.
Yvonne DeCarlo: Gilded Lily. Dir. Lawrence Williams. Foxstar Productions, 2000.